Venice: September 1652

Pages 275-289

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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September 1652

Sept. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
652. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
At length, after mutual reprisals, Holland has proceeded to an open declaration of war against England. Trusting to the justice of her cause and its popularity, she is determined to support it manfully, and it is practically certain that the powerful resources of the States are now employed in aid of the crown of England. Reports of this character received here, when hopes were entertained of an adjustment, have greatly disturbed the government here, which is now solely intent on making a valid defence, as the strength of the enemy fleet increases daily. A squadron of at least sixty Flushing vessels remained several days in sight of Dover harbour, meaning either to make a landing or again give battle to the English fleet. After convoying 20 merchantmen bound in different directions, they are now cruising off the coast of England, in order to join General Tromp and form a combined fleet capable of resisting any attack and even promising victory, in fact rendering navigation more free for the Dutch flag than for that of Great Britain. So trade and commerce are in effect stopped. Even the Flanders mail boats are not safe, for the Dutch ships seized one lately, a circumstance that will induce both sides to think out a remedy, so as to ensure the safe passage of letters, although the war is now openly declared.
The loss suffered by this country in the late engagements has been somewhat modified by the capture of six large men of war which formed part of the convoy of the herring fleet. Many of these last also were taken by the English fleet, so for this year the profit of the fishery, if not lost, will be so small as to cause much suffering to many Dutch families which subsist solely thereby.
The fleet here has been reinforced by the largest possible number of men of war, and is so well refitted and provisioned as to be able to keep the sea and cope with the enemy for a long while. News of an engagement is expected daily, and considering the inferiority of the English in point of numbers, although the quality of their ships is superior, some apprehension is felt there. Attention is already directed to the repair of possible losses, which it will become increasingly difficult to make good quickly, whereas the enemy can do this with ease, owing to his stores of seasoned timber. Accordingly the activity of the dockyards here is redoubled and the government has given orders for the completion of a number of English frigates which are being built for war service on a new model, which answers admirably. (fn. 2) So for the future a good part of the English ships, if not all, will be built in this form, which is exceedingly convenient for commerce, and in case of need for war as well.
The military commanders have repeated their demands for a reply to the petition presented by them. Parliament resents this pertinacity about its dissolution, though the fairness of the suit and the dread of offending the soldiers in the present state of affairs, make it use gentleness and conciliatory language, expressing an intention to grant their just demands, especially when more at leisure than is possible now, owing to the war. Under this plausible pretext it is probable they will put off any decision on the subject to the last possible moment.
In compliance with the act of parliament they have begun the sale of some of the principal churches of England. Canterbury cathedral, so famous as an architectural monument and for the former wealth and power of its primates, is doomed to demolition in consequence of an offer made for it of 15,000l. sterling. Thus the present scarcity of money exposes things most worthy of veneration to sale and destruction.
Garrisons have been doubled in some of the principal ports of England and Scotland, as they are more apprehensive than ever that the Dutch may attempt a landing. So the government is intent on keeping the troops well affected and on paying them well, and in fact they have now no reason to complain about their pay. But the Londoners and inhabitants of the other principal towns disapprove of this foreign war after all their past sufferings, although the punishment incurred by those who speak too freely makes the rest hold their peace, and thus obedience and silence are due to fear rather than to love.
Encloses account of all the money supplied to him and of his expenditure.
London, the 5th September, 1652.
Sept. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
653. To the Ambassador in France.
Approval of his reply to the agent of England about the dismissal of the king's minister and upon the mission of Pauluzzi to London, in turning the conversation. He must do the same upon any other occasion that anything is said upon this subject, no matter who the person may be.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.
654. To the Lords States of the Netherlands.
Acknowledge receipt of their letters of the 21st ult. containing their resolution to protect their merchant ships against pirates in the Mediterranean. The republic is always ready to serve their High Mightinesses, encouraged by the assurance that it is not the intention of the States, seeing the amplitude of their forces and the abundance of their ships, to take away the few vessels of their lordships that are now in the service of the most serene republic.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 0. Neutral, 5.
Sept. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
655. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
There has arrived here by land from Holland General Vangalen, who has been appointed commander of the squadron cruising in the Mediterranean, in place of il Catz. He paid his respects at once to his Highness and proceeded to Leghorn, to have himself conveyed to his ships and take up the charge laid upon him.
This present week three rich English ships and a Dutch one arrived in company at the above port from Alexandretta. They were not aware at the time of the outbreak of war between the two republics, but when they came into the neighbourhood of the aforementioned Dutch squadron, off la Gorgona, only two of them were able to escape into safety, the other falling a prey to the enemy.
The commander of the five English ships grows more and more distressed at not having forces powerful enough to allow him to go out and try to humble the enemy. He consoles himself with the promise, recently received from London, of assistance. The parliament there displays a determination to make the most strenuous efforts with a number of fleets in every quarter to force the Dutch to give way. The latter, on the other hand, seem increasingly exasperated by the great losses they are constantly suffering, and their industry leaves nothing undone for offering the most vigorous resistance.
Florence, the 7th September, 1652.
Sept. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
656. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 3)
After the long delay of the government here about my reception, I left this city on Thursday, the 24th ult., to attend to some private business in Picardy, and on returning I found the letters of the 24th and 30th ult. My absence will probably do more good than harm, for I have been waiting nearly two months for some proof of the excellent disposition which they assure me exists. They maintain that there is a reasonable cause for this delay, though I cannot discover it. I do not speak and shall not say anything more. If they send for me I shall go ; meanwhile I will obey my instructions.
London, the 9th September, 1652.
Sept. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
657. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 4)
Parliament has appointed 16 of its members to report upon the demands of the military. I think it my duty to inform your Excellency of these and they are as follows :
That parliament give orders for the propagation of the gospel according to the word of God.
That all tithes be abolished and that the preachers be paid according to their merits and ability.
That the laws be reformed speedily, especially in matters most burdensome to the people.
That all scandalous, suspect and disaffected persons be removed from places of authority, and superseded by just men of probity.
That wherever necessary upright persons be appointed to superintend the raising and control of the ordinary taxes.
That regard be had for those who lent the republic money freely, and testified their goodwill in the late wars, by seeking means to repay them.
That the arrears of the officers and men who served parliament faithfully and which are not included in the security given on the property of the late king, be paid with the proceeds of confiscated estates in England, Scotland and Ireland.
That all articles agreed to in war be maintained inviolably. (fn. 5)
That all public money be placed in a single repository, and that it be received, handled and distributed by worthy and honourable men, as parliament may think best.
That these men be empowered to call to account all who have handled public money, and that henceforth all taxes and the whole of the public expenditure be published twice every year for the information and satisfaction of the whole nation.
That worthy and disinterested men be appointed to investigate and retrench the excessive expenditure incurred by parliament, through unnecessary garrisons and exorbitant salaries.
That all vagrants and restless characters be expelled and punished and that the native paupers be made to work, and suitable provision made for the infirm and helpless.
That all the poor who served parliament faithfully in the late wars, from the 12th July, 1642, and may now wish to ply any manual trade, may be allowed to do so for their maintenance, notwithstanding existing impediments ; and finally that for the general satisfaction the House do attend immediately to a definition of the qualifications required for the members of the new parliament, so that none but worthy and suitable men be elected, and such as are well affected to the Commonwealth.
Your Excellency will perceive that the petitioners seek popularity, and the last article on the list is the first in their minds and the one which causes the greatest anxiety to the government, whose stability is much affected by this fresh crisis in addition to the present war. These public anxieties affect individuals also. The pressing need of money to carry on the war is already bringing this home to them, since the fear of troubles ahead makes it difficult to find purchasers for the property of the delinquents, which is to be sold by order of parliament. Meanwhile things are carried with a firm hand. Lest reports circulated by the disaffected should alarm the people parliament has issued a proclamation, posted up everywhere, forbidding meetings and discussions upon the events of this war under pain of exemplary punishment. A most solemn fast has been ordained for the 8th inst., English style, in the capital and will subsequently be celebrated throughout the country.
The public prints are constantly recording victories gained over the Dutch. They have converted into a signal national triumph a trifling engagement between Plymouth and Falmouth between the ships of General Arcus and those of Zeeland. (fn. 6) It is true that some of the enemy's ships were roughly handled and several of their men killed, but the English incurred similar loss and many of their dead and wounded have been landed at Plymouth, according to private accounts, although the fact is reported otherwise.
Letters from General Blach inform the Council of State that he has captured six rich Dutchmen on their homeward voyage from Smyrna, freighted with silk, oil and other valuable produce. The enemy, on the other hand, has taken four colliers bound for this city with fuel and three other vessels with hemp and other material for building ships, so reprisals augment, to the detriment of both sides.
Within the last few days the Thames has been crowded with ships, both merchantmen and ships of war, amounting at the moment to 200 sail at least. Endeavours are being made to fit out as many of these as possible as a speedy reinforcement for the fleet, in the event of any considerable loss ; but the scarcity of all naval stores and the lack of hands cause great difficulty and delay.
Mons. de la Barrière, the Agent of the Prince of Condé, is urging parliament to allow of a free trade in provisions between England and Gascony. Possibly for its own sake and as a favour to the Prince that single province of France may obtain this privilege, indeed it is reported that a treaty to this effect has been concluded.
The ambassador extraordinary from Portugal, who is the king's Grand Chamberlain, (fn. 7) is expected in London any day, with a retinue of more than eighty persons. A residence has been prepared for him and parliament has issued suitable orders for his reception.
I have your Excellency's letters of the 4th and will merely say that I was assured again lately by a person of standing that the government here was excellently disposed to serve the most serene republic in the matter for which I was sent. I said this was the belief of my prince, but until I had testified my respect personally to parliament, as instructed, I could not attend to any negotiation for troops or levies. I shall not make any further move but if I am sent for I will make my appearance, unless instructed to the contrary.
London, the 12th September, 1652.
Sept. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
658. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Eight English ships, five merchantmen, carrying rich cargoes to the value of 1½ millions, and three warships acting as their escort, who were coming from the Levant, have been encountered off Montechristo by ten ships of the Dutch squadron cruising in these waters. The fight lasted until the evening of the first day and was renewed on the following morning. The English came off the worse since the three warships alone sustained the brunt of the fight. One of the eight is missing, but it is not yet known whether she has foundered or fallen into the hands of the Dutch. The others, in an exceedingly damaged condition have taken refuge in Porto Longone. (fn. 8) The Grand Duke told me that after this affair the Dutch consul at Leghorn sent a courier with all diligence to Venice and he is afraid it may be not only to ask for the sailing of the ships already hired at Malamocco, but also to recall those which are in the service of your Serenity. The General Vangalen had confided to him that he had authority to do this from the Lords States who were determined to use their utmost endeavour to prevent the English doing any trade in the Mediterranean.
The commander of the five English ships which unladed their silk at the Lazaretto, has also sent to London, to hasten the coming of the twelve ships of war which have been promised him as a reinforcement.
Parliament has written to the Grand Duke in justification of their procedure against the Dutch. They have also sent a manifesto to his Highness which he has caused to be translated and printed as a curiosity. His Highness is of opinion that this will be a most sanguinary war, which will involve divers princes of Christendom, and that an adjustment will be no easy matter owing to the haughtiness of the English. The commander of the five ships holds his head high and went so far as to tell his Highness that he might well take pride in being the first prince who had afforded a refuge and protection to English ships. Their vessels had not been in the habit of seeking help from fortresses, although he had consented to such a mortal humiliation because the disproportion between the two fleets was too great and in order not to risk such precious and valuable property (potra ben gloriarsi d'essere il primo Prencipe che habbia dato ricovero et patrocinio a legni Inglesi, non havendo quelli mai cercato il calore di fortezze, benche egli, per la troppo diseguaglianza del numero de vasseli et per non aventurare cosi pretiosi et ricchi effetti habbi acconsentito ad una tale mortale mortificatione.
Florence, the 14th September, 1652.
Sept. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
659. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Pauluzzi has returned to England after a short turn in Picardy. His letters show the position with regard to the ducal missive. I know this much for certain that the English thought that he had gone for good and were jealous about it. I have read letters about it confirming this, in which it is stated that if he had not gone away he would have overcome all difficulties ; so now that he has returned I am inclined to believe that he will have gained ground and have forwarded the interests of the state. At the same time I am forwarding to him the particulars about the English ships, admonishing him to do his utmost for having the public letter received. If he cannot achieve this for the time being I tell him to make representations through Fleming, a capable man and the right person, to induce the government there to allow the few ships in the service of your Excellencies to remain.
Compiegne, the 17th September, 1652.
Sept. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli. Venetian Archives.
660. Polo Vendramin, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
A felucca from Portolongone arrived on Friday at night with despatches from the governor there. He gives an account of a fierce combat which took place in those waters between some English and Dutch ships. Some of these, being already short of munitions withdrew to that port and asked permission to be supplied from the fortress, promising payment. It seems that they have forbidden the governor to make this sale although the English nation here has been much in evidence to obtain the permission.
Naples, the 17th September, 1652.
Sept. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
661. Giacomo Querini and Pietro Basadonna, Venetian Ambassadors in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Permission had been given to Cardenas, ambassador in London, to return home, as with the war against Holland have vanished the hopes they continued to cherish here to guide and interest in their affairs the new republic of England (di regolare et d'interessare a questo partito la nuova republica d'Inghilterra).
Madrid, the 18th September, 1652.
Sept. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
662. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 9)
To add to the extreme animosity between the United Provinces and England the Dutch manifesto has lately appeared here. The enemy show the weakness of the arguments employed by this side and assert their own for a vigorous prosecution of hostilities. The paper contains a number of strong points about the present rupture. It accuses the English government of injustice and violence and asserts that after having suffered and done much for a mutual good understanding, Holland had been obliged to take up arms in defence of her own rights and those of her subjects, which had been unjustly attacked by the forces of this Commonwealth. The manifesto goes to show that before having recourse to hostilities the United Provinces used all possible means to arrive at an adjustment ; but the English, drunk with their past successes, made a bad return to these good intentions and met the proposals of their ambassadors with harsh replies and arrogant pretensions. The Dutch also accuse the English of making reprisals while negotiations were in progress, thus proving the evil intentions which compelled the States to repel force by force. They rely on the Almighty and all secular powers admitting the justice of their cause, especially as their object is to check the pernicious designs of the English government, which after wounding Holland in their most vital interests, namely commerce, will treat all other powers in the same way. So the United Provinces have taken this serious step for the general good as well as for their own liberty, because they will not suffer any longer the wrongs inflicted by their evil neighbours, and relying upon the justice of their cause they anticipate the help of God and man towards ensuring a glorious result. Such is the manifesto, which is approved, although in silence, rather than criticised here. By showing the determination of the enemy it makes the government more intent than ever on the means of defence especially as it is understood that 25,000 Swedes are on the march, and it is not known whether the queen means them to act in aid of the Protestant Princes of Germany at the diet, or to favour the Dutch, or to assist the king of France. It is at least certain that the suspicions of the English are increased by their ignorance of the motives for this movement.
The fleets are near each other off the coast of Scotland. The Dutch is more numerous than the English. Blach has 80 sail, almost all men of war, whilst Arcus, the second general of the parliament, who is a little distance from him, has 40. The Dutch force amounts to 200 sail, at least, and although the quality of their ships is inferior to that of the English, the latter will hesitate considerably before engaging such odds, which increase steadily. Yet both sides continue to make prizes, thus increasing the mutual ill will, and both parliament and the States have given orders to their respective fleets to unite. As each seeks to outmanœuvre the other, the fulfilment of these orders is awaited with anxiety and apprehension.
General Arcus complains that in the last engagement the merchantmen of his squadron did not do their duty, saying that as parliament had not insured them their owners did not mean to expose them to destruction. So they are devising schemes to guarantee them in order to avoid such mischance as might otherwise occur in action.
This same Arcus has forwarded to parliament a letter addressed to him by the principal preacher of London (fn. 10) wherein by many crafty and specious arguments, under the mask of Christian zeal, he exhorts him not to fight the Dutch, as they profess the same religion as that of this country. But it is considered certain that this holy fervour is kindled by interest because this man has invested in Holland considerable sums gained by his shrewdness during the late wars, when, for the sake of making this property and under the cloak of divine inspiration he coldly preached the death of the late king. He is now reported to have said publicly that the kingdom of England cannot subsist in quiet without the royal sway. The great credit enjoyed by the preacher causes anxiety, but these opinions and this letter being taken amiss as contrary to the public service, he has absented himself for a while and withdrawn under the safeguard of Cromwell, through whose protection he no doubt hopes for the remission of his sins and pardon for the freedom of his sermons.
The Spanish ambassador had audience of parliament lately and strongly urged them to do their utmost to secure a favourable issue at Dunkirk, which is already on the point of surrender. They expressed the most friendly disposition towards the king of Spain, and as a report prevails that the Duke de Vendôme, Lord High Admiral of France, is sending succour to the besieged under the command of M. de Neusesses, the fleets of parliament may perhaps intercept this French squadron and if able, rout it. It is stated indeed that a few of the men of war under General Blach have fallen in with it, worsting it completely, capturing eight ships of war and six fire ships. The truth of this must be known in a few hours. I may add that whatever this side can seize of the French at sea will be taken without scruple, to make good the losses sustained from the French corsairs, and indeed it is generally reported that open war will be waged with France as well unless she prefers friendly relations on such terms as this commonwealth may dictate.
General Flemue has lately left for Ireland with 50,000l. sterling to pay the troops there, and to defray other expenses in that kingdom, which becomes daily more submissive to the parliament. To avoid being intercepted by the Dutch fleet he was to embark at the extremity of Scotland, and is supposed to have arrived safe at his destination by this time. He has been long expected there and as additional relief for the people parliament has permitted the exportation thither from England of every sort of grain, of horses, meat and all other provisions, free of duty, but binding the importers to give good security for the sale of these commodities to none but the garrisons, troops and inhabitants of such places as acknowledge parliament, and they are to bring back the necessary certificates to this effect.
The Portuguese ambassador has arrived at a distance of 6 miles from this city and is lodged in a mansion prepared for him by parliament. He is to make his public entry in four days time and means to display great state, as he is of the highest rank and fortune. Moreover, to meet all possible contingencies, the king has supplied him with credits on the merchants here for 50,000l. sterling though possibly in the present state of affairs he will be somewhat cautious about concluding any negotiations.
I am told that the new ambassador in ordinary to the Porte from here will leave next month under convoy of a squadron of men of war, which will take this opportunity to pass into the Mediterranean. (fn. 11) I will send further particulars so soon as I receive them.
The Council of State has just intimated to me at third hand, that in spite of the reserve shown by the republic they will receive me forthwith to present the ducal missive ; so my little journey and the reserve I have shown since my return may have induced them to come to a decision.
Acknowledges receipt of letters of the 10th inst.
London, the 19th September, 1652.
Sept. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
663. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch ships are keeping the English blockaded in Porto Longone, and do not allow any vessel, however small, to enter with provisions which may be of use to the English. The governor of that fortress has even been compelled to send upon several occasions to the Viceroy of Naples because the Admiral Vangalen shows such a fierce spirit that he even threatens to attack the English inside the port itself. He is the same man who destroyed two Salee pirates and he has been the scourge of the Dunkirkers. The ship missing in the fight is an English frigate carrying 40 pieces and she was captured by the Dutch. (fn. 12)
Another English ship which left Smyrna on the 19th for Leghorn and London, has arrived at Naples. They write that she will stay there and unload in order not to expose her precious cargo to manifest peril.
Florence, the 21st September, 1652.
Sept. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
664. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 13)
Your Excellency's letter of the 18th has just reached me. My journey was a very flying one and my departure most sudden. My position here is unchanged. Although I was again assured this very morning that they had arranged to give me audience, I shall not believe it until on the threshold of the chamber. I will act upon the state's instructions forthwith, and if I obtain audience this week I will do so in the best and most fitting manner, otherwise I shall make representations to Fleming and some others of the Council of State as will deter the government here from a step so prejudicial to Venice as the recalling of the few English ships in his Serenity's service.
London, the 23rd September, 1652.
Sept. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
665. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Paulucci's letters not only announce no progress, but show that he has not even begun any negotiation. He says it has been intimated that he will find every facility for obtaining ships and men, an indication that they mean to do no more ; so he is waiting patiently for them to decide. It seems to me that this business is worse stranded than ever. I believe that if your Serenity does not give your representative a higher title there will be no result. It is this that blocks everything. I know, by letters from England, that when Paulucci left England for Picardy the English were afraid he would not return. I cannot reconcile this with their subsequent persistent refusal to admit him to present the ducal letter, after such a long time. If they had determined not to receive him as secretary they would by this time have made some definite resolve, but they neither receive nor reject him. I cannot unravel the mystery, but many a ship is kept out of harbour, not by a contrary wind but because it does not suit the pilot to bring her into port too soon. My anxiety at seeing the business fail must be my excuse for possible excess of zeal.
I see from Paulucci's letters that parliament has been acknowledged by the most eminent monarchs in the world, and they are preparing to receive the ambassador from Portugal. The result at Dunkirk shows that England can do good to her friends as well as harm to her enemies. The state admitted the necessity of being on terms with her, and sent this mission. The Resident of Parma moreover tells me that even the Grand Duke of Tuscany has sent to acknowledge the parliament.
San Lis, the 24th September, 1652.
666. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
When the Archduke had pushed his approaches at Dunkirk to the edge of the fosse, the defenders, to the surprise of their enemy, offered on the 6th to surrender if they did not receive appreciable succour within ten days, by land or sea, and so on the 16th the Archduke took possession of the place. Two causes, the one internal, the other external, have led in a moment, one may say, to the surrender of one of the strongest and most considerable of the fortresses of Flanders. The internal was the shortage of munitions and the disabling of the commander by a musket shot, which discouraged the garrison, already dissatisfied and greatly distressed by the lack of money and of essential supplies. The external and more potent cause was the English fleet which remained in the Channel and by its careful watch stopped the relief which the French had all ready. Two motives lie at the bottom of this hostility of the English. The first is their association and friendliness with the Spaniards contrasted with their strained relations with the French because of the protection they afford to the king of England. The second is the fear lest the fortress should fall into the hands of the Dutch owing to a treaty made a long time ago to sell it to these same Dutch for a stipulated amount.
This news has caused general surprise here because they imagined that a more prolonged and determined resistance would be offered. The loss is considerable and important because of the consequences.
San Lis, the 24th September, 1652.
Sept. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
667. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 14)
Your Excellency's letter of the 18th reached me last Monday. The English ships are probably leaving his Serenity's service because of an act of parliament forbidding any vessels belonging to British subjects from taking foreign service without its permission. This probably is what gave the alarm to the English vessels at Venice and in the Levant. I will do my best to remedy matters, although the ducal missive is still in my possession, not from any neglect of mine, but because of the punctilio they observe here. So I have drawn up a memorial, of which I enclose a copy, and given it to one in the confidence of the Council of State, to be read there. I shall also make an application to the Levant Company and speak to its members individually, as it is difficult to get at them all together. I have also spoken on the subject to Sir [Oliver] Fleming, who assures me he will do his utmost to help the state.
Nothing more has been heard about the fleets beyond a bare report of their having engaged. It is said that in consequence of orders sent by parliament the two English squadrons had effected a junction and numbered 120 sail, almost all men of war. The enemy also had got together the utmost possible force, according to private advices received here at third hand. These accuse this side of having held in small account a power and determination acknowledged to their cost during many years by the chief monarchs of the world, whereby the Dutch have achieved that high position in Europe which is now conceded them by universal consent. Such is the tenor of certain private letters, possibly written with design though little or no attention is paid to them here. Yet their activity redoubles and they are constantly building new ships, which will always prove an easier task than that of manning them, especially on account of the prizes made on the first suspicion of an outbreak. These, great and small, already amount to nearly 200, the last of all being the five vessels lately in the service of his Serenity and homeward bound with full cargoes for Flanders or Holland.
The Spanish ambassador had audience yesterday of the Council of State to return thanks for the success at Dunkirk, which the Spaniards acknowledge as largely due to the parliamentarians, who would much rather see the place in their hands than in those of the French. The ambassador was profuse in his professions of the friendship of his sovereign and it may be justly said that the reverses of the Spanish monarchy have been checked by the gratitude of this Commonwealth for an act of recognition, due to pure self interest without an excessive concern for the justice of the cause which has prevented the most serene republic from taking a similar step, as more than one person has remarked to me. I wish it had been done long ago, as many of the present government regret the Dutch war because it prevents them from helping Venice.
An act of parliament has released all the officers and men found on the French ships taking succour to Dunkirk, and they may go or remain as they please. But the ships themselves with the effects and money on board are all confiscated as an indemnity for the losses inflicted by the French corsairs. It is not yet known what effect such an act of hostility towards the royal flag of France may produce towards an adjustment with the princes but here they seem very indifferent about the matter, considering themselves a match for all enemies. It cannot be denied that England now shows her strength, though it is equally true that without Divine aid and sagacity the greatest resources prove feeble.
Owing to the death of the governor of the Tower and the appointment of his successor three important prisoners managed to escape, whose lives and fortunes had been at the disposal of the late king. (fn. 15) Parliament has issued the most imperative orders for their recapture and is exerting itself to the utmost, but it is probable that the prisoners had made their arrangements beforehand and proceeded straight to Holland, which will prove a receptacle for all the peccant humours of this body politic and draw over all those disaffected to the present government who may have it in their power to make a speedy escape.
Asks for money, his supplies being exhausted some days since. Has laboured for six months without the smallest salary or recognition, or even payment of what is due to him.
London, the 26th September, 1652.
Enclosure. 668. Memorial about the recall of English ships from the Venetian service.
I am still waiting to report the reception by this Commonwealth of the credentials entrusted to me. The Senate is only waiting for a reply in order to take steps to institute a good understanding between the two republics. I vouch for this in the assurance that the excellent intentions of Venice will be reciprocated. Therefore as it is understood that English ships serving the republic are to be recalled, it is hoped that the Commonwealth will aim rather at aiding than of diminishing the forces now employed against the Turk, as four or six ships would prove an insignificant addition to the navies of Great Britain, whereas a single sail lost to the Venetian fleet in its present weak state would greatly prejudice the republic and elate the Turks. It is therefore hoped that if such a recall takes place a distinction will be made in favour of Venice, thus proving to the world the Christian pity shown by this republic towards another which has been long abandoned by all the princes and monarchs of Christendom.
From my dwelling, the 25th September, 1652.
Sept. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
669. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch General Vangalen is still keeping up the blockade of the seven English ships in the port of Leghorn, and he allows no provisions to enter. Indeed, on finding out that provisions were being sent to them by way of Porto Ferraio, he stationed two ships of war at the mouth of that port to prevent any succour reaching them from that direction. He claims that the example of Don Antonio d'Oquendo shows that the Spaniards would do the same in similar circumstances. (fn. 16)
The Grand Duke has confirmed to me that Vangalen confided to him that he has authority from the Lords States to recall the Dutch ships in the service of your Serenity in the Levant. His Highness does not know whether the courier who was sent to the consul was for this, or merely to ask that the ships at Malamocco may be allowed to depart.
Florence, the 28th September, 1652.


  • 1. Forwarded by Sagredo on the 17th September.
  • 2. Probably from the designs of Messrs. Pett. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1651, page 459. Oppenheim : Administration of the Royal Navy, page 338.
  • 3. Forwarded by Sagredo on the 17th September.
  • 4. Forwarded by Sagredo on the 24th September.
  • 5. Che siano inviolabilmente mantenuti gl' articoli accordati in guerra. Whitelock, who records the terms of this petition, gives the English of this article as, "That all articles of war given to the enemy may be made good." Memorials, Vol. III, page 446.
  • 6. On the 16/26th August.
  • 7. Joao Rodriguez de Sa e Menezes, count of Peneguiao.
  • 8. The fight took place on the 7th and 8th September. Badiley had the Paragon, Elizabeth, Constant Warwick and Phoenix, warships, and the Mary Rose, Thomas Bonadventure, Richard and William, and William and Thomas, merchantmen. The Phoenix was captured. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1651-2, pages 402-3.
  • 9. Forwarded by Sagredo on the 1st October.
  • 10. Hugh Peters, regular preacher at Whitehall.
  • 11. Major Richard Salway was chosen to be ambassador at a Court held on the 1/11 September. Owing to Salway's representations the effectuation of the resolution was postponed. Levant Co. Court Book, fols. 163, 166. S.P. For, Archives, Vol. 151.
  • 12. The Phœnix, built in 1647, 414 tons, 38 guns. Oppenheim : Administration of the Royal Navy, page 255.
  • 13. Forwarded by Sagredo on the 8th October.
  • 14. Forwarded by Sagredo on the 15th October.
  • 15. Col. Francis West, lieutenant of the Tower died on the 11/21 August. Col. Edward Massey and other prisoners escaped on the 9/19 September. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1651-2, pages 364, 387. The new lieutenant was Colonel John Berkstead.
  • 16. Apparently alluding to the Spanish fleet in the Downs in 1639. But Oquendo was then the party blockaded. See Vol. XXIV of this Calendar.