Venice: July 1652

Pages 254-263

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 1652

July 6.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
622. To the Capitano General da Mar.
We hear with satisfaction of the complete obedience rendered to you by the ten English and Flemish vessels in the waters of Negroponte. Yet it will be of essential service to the state to cultivate the most cordial relations with those same nations and to give them the best of treatment in order to keep them well disposed, indeed at this point we must tell you for information that some beginning has been made for instituting confidential relations with the parliament of England, and a minister of ours has been despatched to that country.
Ayes, 137. Noes, 2. Neutral, 0.
July 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
623. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Princes refused to listen to Montagu, who came from the Court with suggestions for an adjustment, claiming that the Cardinal's party must be the first to open any negotiations, and that without this they will not consent to entertain the idea of any proposals to treat or to open the way to negotiations.
Pontoise, the 6th July, 1652.
July 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
624. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
Owing to the Dutch business I did not press for audience which, as reported, had been half promised in a form much more complimentary than I was entitled to. As regards general news, negotiations have been broken off, both sides being incensed because of the claims and the recent incidents, the Dutch not being inclined to submit utterly to the lofty demands or to grant all the satisfaction demanded here. Probably owing to the receipt of the two expresses announced in my last the four ambassadors went all together to parliament yesterday morning and took leave. The barges of the Commonwealth were in readiness to take them from the Tower stairs, a distance of 12 miles down the river, where Flemish ships had already arrived to take them back to Holland, a clear proof that a rupture had already been anticipated at the Hague. Yet the ambassadors took leave with expressions of humility and respect for the present government. After expressing their esteem for the republic of England they said they hoped the Almighty would by other favourable combinations make amends for their ill fortune as peace makers and with such phrases they made their bow. That same afternoon they went in the state coaches accompanied by quite 30 others, to the river side. War may now be considered as declared and was more in view than an adjustment from the first, as shown by the preparations made and by the condition of the rival fleets, which are equally powerful. In London they say the Dutch one numbers 100 sail and over, including the convoy of the fishing vessels which has already begun. The English fleet does not fall far short of this and they have sent 60 of their large ships towards Scotland to put a stop to the fishing, which extends from Danish waters along the coasts of Scotland and England. I hear that resolute orders have been sent to General Brach to lose no time and neglect no favourable opportunity for repelling force by force, so that the supremacy of England may be maintained to the utmost. It is said that both fleets are provided with fire ships, an indication of preparation for a great war, and though it is not expected to last long, anticipations of this sort often prove fallacious. As many troops as possible have been put on board the men of war, including even cavalry, who were induced to embark lured by good pay in advance and by yet fairer promises.
The fitting out of ships as reinforcements goes on, notably of the great galleon of England, carrying 110 heavy guns. (fn. 2) The leading seamen on the river are doing their utmost to get men for the service of the fleet, which, according to letters from the general, is in want of hands. I understand that two regiments of cavalry are being raised, to be quartered along the coast. Recruiting parties are in search of infantry, but meet with small success.
Parliament has passed an act for the raising of 90,000l. a month for the next half year, renewable according to circumstances and requirements. Great excitement prevails as by this time the fleets are supposed to be near each other and consequently on the eve of an engagement. The experience of the commander inspires great confidence, and although the Dutch fleet has the greater numbers the English maintain that one of theirs will always be a match for four or five Dutchmen, owing to the quality of their timber, their build and their solidity. But a just cause finds favour with God, who sometimes gives victory to the weak, and fears are also entertained lest this emergency, if it continues in its present severity, may engender others elsewhere, especially as there is no general content and all is not settled in other quarters as could be wished.
An agent from the French Court, one Mons. Gentilot, has at last arrived here, after staying several days at Dover, as he would not move until sure about his reception. I have not yet learned his object, but imagine it chiefly concerns the indemnities claimed of France by the English for unjust reprisals.
I enclose another contract for troops from an Irish gentleman, who is anxious to serve the republic. I promised to forward his offer though I understand that his facilities are fewer than those of the other one.
London, the 12th July, 1652.
Enclosure. 625. Offer of Colonel John Foaland.
To raise a regiment of Irish infantry for the republic. He will give security to raise 1,000 men well suited for war for 100 livres Tournois or 10l. sterling per man, for which he will clothe and deliver them at the place where they are to land. If the republic takes them from the port of debarcation in Ireland, he will do it for 4l. sterling per man, and will clothe them at his own cost. The Colonel is of an old Irish family, with property in Ireland, is a Roman Catholic, and having made other levies is exceptionally competent to make the levy as the Irish will not march under any who are not of their race or religion. He will agree to take half payment here, or security for the same, and the rest on debarcation.
London, the 12th July, 1652.
July 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
626. The Sieur De La Haye, French Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
An English ship, (fn. 3) which, they say, was taking provisions to the fleet of the most serene republic, has been captured not far from the Castelli by the Captain Pasha. When the other Venetian galleons appeared he burned it and sent the captain here. He arrived ten days ago and was sent to the galleys. Sailors captured from the Venetian fleet report that it has among its numbers 5 French, 4 English and 3 Dutch ships.
Pera of Constantinople, the 12th July, 1652.
[Italian, from the French ; deciphered.]
July 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
627. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The fourteen Dutch ships of war which have been scouring these seas these last days, have arrived at Leghorn. In the port they found the five English ships which came recently from the Levant, two of war and three laden with rich merchandise, the greater part for London. (fn. 4) The Dutch set themselves in battle array, claiming the right to take them. The English although under the protection of the fortress, took alarm and started to unlade their goods furiously. But the Dutch claim that the governor of the fortress shall not permit this unlading or protect the English. The latter, as the first arrivals under the guns, call for the execution of the laws of the fortress which require it to defend the one who arrives first. The Dutch have repeated their extraordinary pretensions and if the governor means after all to permit the unlading they demand that he shall cause the goods to be deposited in the Lazaretto and the English ships shall then depart empty, because if they then capture the ships the deposited cargoes will subsequently fall into their hands in consequence. After holding a consultation on the matter the Grand Duke has sent orders to the commander of the fortress to reject all the Dutch demands and to protect the first arrivals.
Florence, the 13th July, 1652.
July 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
628. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The particulars which I was unable to put on paper in my letter of the 7th to your Excellencies, I will set forth here. The dragoman of England happened to be speaking to the First Vizier about peace. The Vizier said he desired it, adding that he would be pleased if the English ambassador took it in hand. The dragoman promised to inform the ambassador and to bring back an answer. The Vizier told him to do so, but secretly, without betraying that he had any such idea. The dragoman spoke to the ambassador who replied that he would undertake this honourable office more than willingly it he received instructions from the most serene republic. Having learned from the dragoman that I possessed a cipher he set me to write the words which follow, which I have in English, translated into Italian by the dragoman. They are to this effect : that the said ambassador having no cipher, does not write himself, but by my hand performs this office, desiring that what is written by me may be accepted by the republic as if it were written with his own hand. He goes on to offer his service to the republic to negotiate peace with absolute loyalty, and that he will procure all the advantages possible, hoping that he will be as fortunate as he has been most forcible (fortissimo) in all his other affairs. He declares in short that he is desirous of this employment for his honour and if the republic is pleased to entrust him with the charge he asks that they will be good enough to send him instructions with the particulars into which they desire him to enter, promising to do no more than what is laid upon him and to give a speedy decision (et di dare presta risolutione).
Galata, the 15th July, 1652.
By the confidant of Constantinople.
July 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Capitano Gen. de Mar. Venetian Archives.
629. Lunardo Foscolo, Venetian Captain General at Sea, to the Doge and Senate.
While this fleet was assailed by the angry fates in the waters of Imbros the squadron of galleons, then at the Dardanelles, also suffered a mishap being scattered through the breaking of their cables and the loss of their anchors, while some became separated from the main body. This was the case with the English ship named Soccorso. This vessel lost hope of being able to recover its post and had lost what it required to remain stationary. Neither did the wind give any help. After being steadily favourable for several days, when the violence of the storm began to abate and to drop to nothing, at that very moment it found succour, fortune favouring it by falling in with a vessel of its own countrymen, who had come there for trade, through whose assistance it was able to provide itself with cables and resume once more its voyage to join the other ships stationed at the Dardanelles. But it was then held up by contrary winds. That same turn of fortune which compelled our fleet to abandon its post afforded an opportunity to the squadron of the Bey, which was shut up inside, to unite with the others. That Pasha proceeded to join it by land, and then went cruising about between Mettelin and Tenedos, with the intention of laying siege to our fleet, setting ambushes for its supplies and waiting for the coming out of the rest of their fleet, in order to support it and then pursue their voyage for the kingdom of Candia with abundant supplies of troops which are all ready. As ill fortune would have it this English ship was cruising over these waters, and at the moment when it thought itself most safe, owing to the nearness of the fleet and the Dardanelles, it experienced the worst of its misfortunes, being sighted by the galleys of the Bey, some five miles off. Seeing that it was alone and becalmed they came out to attack it. When the captain of the ship saw this he prepared to defend himself. According to the account I have here he fought them for the space of four hours. He repulsed three attempts at boarding, when the ship was also set on fire. This was put out on two occasions, but the third time all their efforts to quench it proved vain. Yet the captain and sailors persisted in the defence until the first and second decks were both burned. It being no longer possible to cope with the fire and all hope of assistance having disappeared, though every effort was made to bring help to them, the crew threw themselves into the water, preferring a voluntary slavery to becoming a prey to the flames. So of fifty souls who were on board the ship nine were slain and forty made slaves, including the captain, who was sent by the Pasha to Constantinople as a trophy. Two alone escaped by miracle among the wreckage of the ship itself. Five are missing, and nothing is known of them.
It cannot be denied that the enemy conquered, but the victory was so costly that it must be considered a noteworthy action owing to the heavy losses of the Turks. From their own accounts many were killed, including several commanders. The galleys also suffered much damage from gun fire.
The galley off Lemnos, the 16th July, 1652.
July 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
630. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The five English ships at Leghorn finished unlading this week. Their cargo consisted of 500 bales of silk and other effects, worth a million. The Dutch remain off the port waiting for more flexible orders from the States, according to what the Grand Duke confided to me, as despite the clash of arms and the preparations on both sides, the Dutch have sent an embassy to London.
Florence, the 20th July, 1652.
July 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
631. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Ambassador in France. (fn. 5)
My presentation is still delayed owing to the important affairs under discussion and also, I believe, to some debate about the letter itself, at the suggestion of some spirits of the parliament who are more clear sighted and speculative than the rest. At the same time it must be admitted that the reception of other ministers who came solely for recognition was put off for several days, so I imagine that through me they mean to maintain the dignity of the commonwealth to the utmost. I also have proper care for repute. To-day Sir [Oliver] Fleming told me I should have audience soon. He asked me to excuse the delay which he attributed to press of business and his own convalescence. I urged a speedy reply to the republic's greeting.
Since the departure of the Dutch ambassadors more stringent orders have been given for strengthening the fleet and the troops for it. All the ships ready have been sent out of the Thames, while the government is chartering as many as it can procure from the merchants. 1,000 of the best troops, drafted from old regiments, have recently been embarked at Gravesend as a reinforcement for the fleet. Recruits have been raised and receive pay, as they intend to garrison the chief ports in Kent (Quinto) and Wales since if the Dutch or other enemies attempt a landing and to seize a port it would probably answer better in those provinces than elsewhere. Here in London they seem to hold the war with the Dutch in no account, indeed I may say they are firmly convinced that they will soon bring the States to reason, and compel them to peace, a notion based on the estimate of their forces and on the result of former great undertakings. I cannot pass judgment about this but I know this rupture deeply affects the interests of several leading members of the parliament. When the civil war in England was at the flood they made large profits and they remitted considerable sums of ready money to Holland for safety, and this war exposes their capital to manifest danger. They dare not say a word for fear of confessing to what is not well known to all members of the present government and what might prejudice them most seriously if it were divulged. This class, together with the older parliamentarians and consequently the most sensible, invariably advocated friendly relations with Holland, but were outvoted by the other side, consisting mainly of young men, who have succeeded in declaring war.
The ambassadors from Denmark had audience of parliament recently, on the plea of the departure of the Dutch. In confirmation of the friendly sentiments of their king for this commonwealth they said he would regret anything calculated to disturb its quiet, and they therefore offered their mediation for an adjustment, if possible. They were thanked, but here they do not altogether trust the king of Denmark because his interests are so closely united with Holland. To bear this out it is said that these ambassadors may also take their departure, but I cannot vouch for this, nor yet for the report of an offensive and defensive alliance between the Danes and the Dutch, which is construed by others into a simple obligation to supply 4,000 men in case of war. It is at least certain that a treaty of some sort has been signed between the States General and Denmark, and if the war continues, as it must, the discovery of the truth cannot be long delayed.
Efforts are being made to raise money by the speediest possible means. In addition to the sum I mentioned, available for the next six months, they even talk of revising the sales and purchases made in the fury of the late war, without due regard for the interests of the commonwealth. But this will prove a very delicate business, and may be the last resource, as it might lead to other greater catastrophes.
Intelligence has been received of eight other merchantmen taken from the Dutch, so that with this addition to the others the prizes made by the English are reckoned at more than fifty. Before the departure of the Dutch ambassadors orders were sent express in every direction to warn English vessels, should they fall in with Dutch ones, to avoid them if possible or in any case to defend themselves and fight, as the Dutch would certainly try to capture them.
London, the 23rd July, 1652.
632. Michiel Morosini and Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On Thursday the king and queen of England left Paris with all their following and proceeded to Rouen. They propose to establish their abode there until the sky here appears more serene for them. For this reason we have been unable to carry out the instructions about speaking to the king on the subject of the dismissal of his minister.
Pauluzzi's letter is enclosed.
Paris, the 23rd July, 1652.
July 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
633. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Ambassador in France. (fn. 6)
I thought this would announce the presentation of the letter, but I am assured it will be this week or the beginning of next. Things move very slowly here especially when there is something of unusual importance on the carpet, such as the war now begun with Holland. Many regret it including some leading parliamentarians, who put their capital to those parts and cannot remonstrate for fear of even greater detriment at home. It is said that some of the leading members of the government have come to know about this, and it is proposed to hold an enquiry to find out who the correspondents of Holland are. Owing to possible results the affair is one of extreme delicacy, as in the first place it would be necessary to intercept all the letters to and from those parts, and to stop intercourse altogether and this would prove a difficult matter owing to the connection with the correspondence of Flanders and Italy.
Since General Blach sailed north in quest of the fishing fleet which is now fortified with 80 ships of war, nothing has been heard of him. Much impatience is felt as he left with the determination to fight, as ordered. Hearing that a strong fleet of Dutchmen was hovering about this coast parliament has commissioned its other General George Ascu, who is now off Dover with 24 good ships, to advance, encouraging him by frequent reinforcements. To this end 20 merchantmen in the Thames have been pressed and when they are equipped they also will be sent after him together with the great galleon. This formerly bore the name of the king of England, (fn. 7) but it is now called Commonwealth, and has recently been supplied with 100 guns of unusual calibre. But these precautions cannot ensure success for the strength and foresight of the enemy equal their determination while their facilities for procuring constant reinforcements and making good losses are greater than those of the English.
It is considered certain that the king of England, who is here called "the pretender king of Scotland," will embark on board the Dutch fleet, which will be joined by that of Prince Rupert, who is supposed at this moment to be in Portugal. An Agent from the prince is said to have already reached his Majesty in Holland. In England, in spite of the strength of the States and the assistance they may obtain, great determination is shown or I should rather say a certainty of a speedy victory. But the Almighty often grants success according to the merits of a cause, whereof man is frequently ignorant. God grant that the late terrific thunder and tremendous hailstorm and lightning that accompanied it, which are very unusual in this climate, do not prove the language and direct menace of Heaven.
To aid the incessant exertions for equipping the fleet, General Cromwell went recently to Bruue and is now returned to speed all necessary proceedings here, especially levies of troops, which are already being compulsorily raised in London.
Yesterday parliament issued a printed manifest upon the negotiations of all four of the Dutch ambassadors, chiefly with a view to justify this war by asserting that the ambassadors came here without sufficient powers to conclude any arrangement and only aimed at gaining time by talking submissively until their fleet from the Indies got safely home, as it did. So this paper puts Holland entirely in the wrong and contends that England acted sincerely for peace all through. It will probably provoke a rejoinder and the war of words is likely to increase acts of hostility on both sides. Meanwhile both make reprisals of great value, but so far with extraordinary advantage to this side.
The last letters from Scotland report the distressing news of a fire at Glasgow, the largest and handsomest town in the kingdom. The cause is unknown. It raged for 48 hours and consumed a quarter of the city, with a loss exceeding 100,000l. sterling. The fact that the flames passed from one street to another over the roofs of the houses, which remained unhurt, without a breath of wind stirring, has made the people confess that the scourge was a judgment of the Almighty upon them. The preachers have tried with all their might to inculcate the belief that the Lord has thus chosen to punish the followers of sects at variance with the Anglican religion.
News from Ireland is satisfactory. Sligo has surrendered to Gen. Cut, who marched against it with a considerable force. He is now erecting a number of forts in and about the place, to curb the natives. Those whom they call rebels here frequently engage the parliament troops, with loss on both sides, though not considerable.
Mons. Gentilot, whose arrival I reported, has been ordered to depart unless his credentials warrant his being admitted to discuss the principal cause of his coming. So far as I gather it is about the act passed by parliament authorising reprisals against the French as well as the indemnities which France claims on her side.
The news here of the admonition given by the Senate to the English minister at Venice to substitute the arms of the Commonwealth for those of the king, has given complete satisfaction to the whole of the government here. They will probably be even more gratified by the subsequent steps taken by the Senate. I shall use this to facilitate the public service to the utmost. These decisions will be doubly acceptable and will help any arrangement for levies, if required, as well as such assistance as may be in the power of parliament during this war with Holland which, it is generally believed, cannot last long.
London, the 26th July, 1652.


  • 1. Forwarded by Morosini on the 16th July.
  • 2. The Sovereign of the Seas. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1651-2, page 314. She is given as of 1,522 tons and 100 guns. Oppenheim : Administration of the Royal Navy, page 255.
  • 3. The Relief or Soccorso, see below.
  • 4. Captain Appleton had the Leopard and Bonadventure with him at Leghorn. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1651-2, page 316.
  • 5. Forwarded from Paris on the 30th July.
  • 6. Forwarded from Paris on the 6th August.
  • 7. Actually Sovereign of the Seas.