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Venice: December 1652

Pages 313-328

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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December 1652

Dec. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
698. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador to the Congress at Lubeck, to the Doge and Senate.
A report was in circulation that Dutch ambassadors were on the road to take part with the others at the opening of the congress, but it has since come to light that they are not ambassadors appointed for this, but to go instead to all the Hanse towns with the object of persuading them to join in a union against the English, who by completely breaking up the course of trade give just cause for resentment. I do not know what success they are likely to have in their mission. This much is certain, they will find this town with its three colleagues in a very favourable state of mind. Only this week news has arrived from London that eight ships have been stopped, all of Hamburg, laden with rich merchandise, belonging to the merchants here, and which, owing to the independence and neutrality of their condition ought in reason to be exempt from such procedure.
Hamburg, the 3rd December, 1652.
[Italian.]
Dec. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Rettori. Venetian Archives.
699. To the Captain General at Sea.
From the Secretary Pauluzzi in London we have good hope that in response to his repeated instances and pressure the parliament there is likely to declare that the few ships in our service are not included in the decree recalling all their ships. By circulating among the captains this excellent disposition towards the defence of the Christian religion you will have no difficulty in encouraging them to continue to render their assistance, assuring them that besides the merit which they will acquire with God Almighty in so righteous a cause the state will never fail to afford them the most efficacious protection.
Ayes, 102. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Dec. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
700. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
I am still waiting for some announcement about the reply to the ducal letter. I venture to repeat that many of the ministers consider my credentials derogatory to the dignity of parliament and my own statements have only served to confirm their opinion. I must wait for the matter to be settled at this change of the Council of State. This event now engrosses universal attention, especially that of the military. It depends upon the new councillors chosen whether they will remain quiet or express themselves more forcibly than hitherto. If the majority of the new members are chosen from among the officers or their dependants, matters may proceed tranquilly. If not the clamour of the military will become louder and cause some civil commotion, as even now their opinions are at variance with those of the government. This fact acquires greater significance from the union between the army and navy, as it becomes increasingly evident that the two services are on the ascendant and if any disturbance occurs it will be on this account. So address is being used to avert such mischances as this state of things might produce. Presents are made privily to the most daring and influential and the troops in general are all well paid. Although the monthly sum required for the army amounts to 80,000l. sterling and the navy estimates including the vessels, fall little short of 800l. a day, yet efforts are made to furnish these sums regularly, though to go on in this way will prove not merely difficult but impossible in the long run. As the necessity for these payments causes the war with Holland to be most sensibly felt, so it is believed that the government is really anxious for it to cease, although outwardly they show their intention to wage it vigorously. If the enemy should send over an envoy, as is wished and expected, he would certainly receive a hearty welcome. On the other hand the Dutch seem more determined to persevere in hostilities, encouraged by their alliance with other powers and irritated by the loss of many rich prizes, seized by the English. So it may be predicted that the reconciliation of these two nations is more remote than could be wished, unless fresh events change the aspect of affairs and render their adjustment more probable than it appears at present.
Nothing has yet been decided about the Spanish pieces of eight, despite the incessant demands of the ambassador, as it is understood that they belong in great part to Amsterdam merchants, and this delays the Council's decision. Meanwhile the Catholic minister is charged to furnish the necessary proofs that they belong directly to his king's subjects. He has undertaken to do so but until these are produced the affair will remain in suspense, and so will his negotiation for an offensive and defensive alliance with this state. If the money is restored, as expected, the discussion of the treaty will be resumed with two fold energy, and with a determination here though not before, to send an ambassador to Spain to ratify it. Missions will then be sent to other parts as well, especially to the Italian powers, among whom Venice is considered the chief.
The Portuguese ambassador's business with the parliamentarians is on the decline, owing to the Spanish successes and the intrigues of the embassy. So he has not concluded anything as yet. Their claims here are pushed rigorously the more Portugal's need of England's friendship is shown by her earnest suit for levies, though recruits are found with difficulty, whether among the English or Scots, owing to the ill treatment received by others who served that crown on former occasions.
The convoy of 18 men of war destined for the merchantmen is considered a sufficient reinforcement for the English fleet in the Mediterranean. Hopes are entertained that when it joins the ships already there it may prove a match for the enemy and be able to protect the Levant trade, which is held in great account here, the merchants here who are concerned making constant application to parliament for the strongest possible support.
As it seems absolutely certain that the Dutch are about to come down Channel with a considerable force of ships of war, serving as convoy for a fleet of their merchantmen, they have decided to order General Blach to be on the look out, and to keep in readiness to put to sea with the main body of the fleet and do his utmost to prevent the passage of any hostile squadron that may show itself. To this end the construction of the new frigates ordered by parliament is being pushed on, though scarcity of materials must necessarily impede their completion.
Reconciliation with Denmark becomes more and more hopeless. It is now known that he has pushed his hostile action a step further by making the English ships he seized unload, with the intention, if necessary, of availing himself of their cargoes.
I have your Excellency's letters of the 27th and 30th ult. and will adhere strictly to my instructions about the levy. Hopes have just been held out to me that the affair of the letter will be settled to-morrow by a reply from the Council of State in every way satisfactory to the most serene republic, proving their esteem and desire for a mutual understanding ; but from past experience I place more confidence in deeds than in words.
London, the 6th December, 1652.
[Italian.]
Dec. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
701. To the Ambassador in France.
To direct Pauluzzi to repeat his representations to the Levant Company for preventing the recall of the ships in the republic's service, so that her forces may not be diminished, since it would do the Company but little good while it would be most hurtful to the republic.
Ayes, 103. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
Dec. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
702. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses a note from Pisa about an incident that occurred between the Dutch and English ships in the port of Leghorn.
Florence, the 7th December, 1652.
[Italian.]
Enclosure. 703. Advices from Pisa.
In full view under the guns of the fortress of Leghorn there were stationed 5 or 6 English ships, and at a short distance from them 14 Dutch. They all considered themselves equally safe under the protection of the Grand Duke. In the midst of the Dutch ships was the English one which they captured these last days on board of which they had retained some English prisoners. These were visited by some of their countrymen and were eating and drinking together when the English, being eager to recover their ship went on board of her, bringing a quantity of wine, it is supposed with design, because the Flemings drank freely of it and went to sleep. The English went away but returned almost at once to the ship in force and armed. Taking it by surprise they attacked and slew the few who were on board and roused from their slumbers, except the son of Tromp, who threw himself into the sea and escaped by swimming, and so they carried off the English on their own ship. (fn. 2) Meanwhile a sailor succeeded in getting away, and assisted by the waves he arrived at the quay where a sentinel is usually stationed, who received him as a friend. But when the commander of the English became aware of this, he took a felucca and pursued the sailor, recapturing him out of the sentinel's very hands and carrying him off in this same felucca. But other soldiers of the fortress being attracted by the disturbance hurried up and by threatening the felucca with their muskets they recovered the fugitive and the commander of the English returned to his ships. (fn. 3)
The Grand Duke was much incensed at the report of this incident and he ordered the governor of Leghorn to see that the walls facing the said ships are well furnished with guns and further to send word to the English commander that he must either go to see his Highness at Pisa or depart, which he cannot do because he would fall a prey to the Dutch, otherwise all his vessels will be sent to the bottom. The commander chose the first alternative and proceeded to Pisa accompanied by the consul of his nation. But when he arrived he was not allowed to see the Grand Duke, indeed he was put in prison and transferred to the fortress.
[Italian.]
Dec. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
704. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Council has decided to send M. de Bordeaux to England. The professed object of his mission is the release of certain ships, but it is really intended to mitigate the ill will entertained by the parliament against this kingdom and to avert attacks, which, if made in conjunction with the Spaniards would seriously injure his Majesty's interests. The action has greatly alarmed the king of England and the queen, his mother, who chanced to be away from Paris at a nunnery for her devotions. She returned at once to discuss the matter with Queen Anne, and to thwart a measure calculated to destroy all the hopes, however faint, of her son. The Queen of France comforted her, saying it was necessary to do everything possible to mitigate the enmity of the parliament of England against this country, and that the present troubles, internal discord and the understanding between the Spaniards and the English make it necessary to steer according to the weather, but when that changes their policy will change too.
The Cardinal is the author of this step of acknowledging England in order the better to resist Spain and the Prince [of Condé] ; but the king of England feels the blow acutely and the ties of blood which unite him to France render her example destructive of all his plans. The Cardinal has given many promises to console him, but their fulfilment will depend on the course of future events.
Paris, the 10th December, 1652.
[Italian.]
Dec. 11.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
705. Agreement made on the 11th December with Captain Thomas Middleton, for the hire of his ship the Elizabeth Maria, carrying 60 sailors and 24 guns, for war service.
Approved in the Senate on the 13th December.
Ayes, 121. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Dec. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
706. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 4)
I have heard nothing from the Council of State about the letter, though I am assured that the reply is ready and will be delivered at once. I can only wait for what should have been done long ago.
Before nominating the twenty members to take the places of those retiring by rotation from the Council of State, they have taken the step of confirming the twenty old members, who retain their seats for another year. Their main object was to leave in those who are well affected to the Dutch, and consequently more disposed towards peace than to prosecuting the war. Similarly, in choosing the other twenty they followed the same policy in the hope of giving satisfaction to the military thereby. This is shown by the inclusion among them of ten colonels. These with the other officers, whose seats in the Council have been confirmed, will render that body and the direction of affairs largely dependent on the army. One remarkable feature of this business is that the parliamentarians have excluded General Blach and Lieutenant General Flitud, who until now were councillors of state, commanding respectively the naval and military forces of the state. This step is considered detrimental to the public service as they ought to have the rank as a mark of esteem if not for merit, in the present state of affairs. It is not known how they will take this decision, though it is probable they will resent it. The step certainly seems calculated to injure the public service which at this moment requires above all things that the commanders in chief on sea and land should be propitiated.
Owing to the desperate need of money for the war parliament has decreed the sale of all the royal parks and palaces as well as of the property of 1,000 persons accused of being delinquents and traitors to the state for having sided with the late king against this parliament. These sales are expected to yield a considerable sum, though it may prove difficult to carry them out as the great capitalists will scruple to make purchases of this sort, which are disapproved and will certainly increase the number of malcontents in the country.
Fears are entertained for the fleet, as it is understood that the Dutch have appeared in great force in sight of the Downs convoying 100 and more of their merchantmen, while another strong squadron approached the English with the intention of giving battle. Nothing more is known, and possibly the Dutch having done what they wanted, by convoying their merchantmen in safety, withdrew, as reported, to Ostend, seeing that the English fleet declined an engagement, as it was not all together, thinking possibly that if they stayed longer off this coast they might encounter stormy weather and fall a prey to the enemy. Nothing else of importance is understood to have taken place, unless the letters of General Blach, which have this day reached the Council of State and were speedily communicated to parliament, contain news, and in that case the tidings will soon become public.
The delay of the government in surrendering the silver claimed by Spain causes the demands of the ambassador to be more strongly urged than ever and as haughtily, according to his instructions, so it seems a decision cannot be long delayed, although the Council insists in the first place on the necessary explanations. At the same time the present war renders a good understanding with Spain very desirable, while that with Portugal is largely neglected. The other day two Portuguese gentlemen exchanged insulting language with one of the attendants of the Spanish embassy, leading to an affray. The Portuguese are considered in the wrong as they were the aggressors and as the affray occurred on a spot demanding respect the Council of State will pronounce in favour of the Spanish ambassador.
A widely circulated rumour prevails here of a special mission from the French Court to this parliament, to the satisfaction of some, though others doubt whether it will be quite to the public taste ; indeed I have heard that it may tend to favour the royal cause. In that case they will be in no hurry to receive the envoy, who is said to be staying at Calais possibly with the intention of sending on his credentials, to make sure of his reception. That will not be readily granted if he has no other business.
Encloses account of expenses for November, with thanks for the supply of 600 livres Tournois.
London, the 13th December, 1652.
[Italian.]
Dec. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
707. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador to the Congress at Lubeck, to the Doge and Senate.
The prolongation of the war with England may easily give rise to an open declaration from Denmark in favour of the Dutch. It is said that the former have furnished to the latter 20 ships of war and 2,000 infantry, in accordance with their obligations under the ancient alliance with the States and prompted quite as much by the disadvantages they would manifestly suffer from the success of the English.
Lubeck, the 13th December, 1652.
[Italian.]
Dec. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
708. To the Ambassador in France.
Pauluzzi must continue to press for a reply to the public letters, assuring Sir Oliver Fleming and the other ministers of the republic's steadfast disposition to prove its friendship for the powerful English nation by sincere acts of partiality, and of its desire to maintain and increase the most perfect correspondence. As the delay is due to causes already indicated Pauluzzi is to announce the willingness of the republic to take steps for the prompt despatch of ministers to bear witness by sincere proofs of their affectionate cordiality to the parliament there, provided it is certain that this will be appreciated and that a response will be made from that quarter, as is fitting. In the same terms suggested to him he is to direct Pauluzzi to go about insinuating the inclination of the republic to join in a close union with that parliament, and to make a precise report of what he gathers from the ministers there about these new declarations and the way in which they have taken them, so that the whole may serve for enlightenment, to assist the Senate to a decision.
Ayes, 96. Noes, 1. Neutral. 1.
[Italian.]
Dec. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
709. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Scarcely had I sent off my last despatch when I received a true account of the affair at Leghorn, which differs in some respect from the news received from Pisa. It was like a thorn in the eyes of the English to see their ship, not only in the hands of the Dutch, but used by them constantly to inflict fresh losses. Accordingly they caused over 100 men from their ships blockaded at Porto Longone to come from that port to Leghorn, in batches at different times. Manning a number of skiffs with these men, all armed with pistols and cutlasses, they attacked by night the ship recently captured by Tromp's son. Having mastered this with ease they spread sail and weighed, though followed by another Dutch ship of war.
At the news of such an event the whole mart of Leghorn was stirred and troubled and they demanded revenge and justice of the governor. That functionary knowing that the promises given by both nations in turn to respect the port had been broken, sent word to his Highness at Pisa. The Grand Duke demanded that the English commander should give himself up, and if he refused, that force should be employed. With this in view guns were promptly taken to the mouth of the port, to enforce obedience in case the English commander should wish to get the ship away. That officer, realising the danger, decided to go in person to Pisa, where the Grand Duke refused to see or hear him, indeed his Highness caused him to be immediately arrested and taken to the fortress, sending off a courier to London at once with an account.
Meanwhile it appears that Apilton, the prisoner, defends his action by asserting that he is subordinate to the Commander Bobolo, who commands the more powerful squadron of eight at present at Longone, by whom, he says, this action was desired, and that he is not responsible for the actions of his superior. Accordingly the Grand Duke has sent further messengers about the affair to Longone and to Naples. It is the general opinion that the English will not submit to humiliation on this or on any other occasion.
Such incidents together with the increasing animosity between the two nations and the inferiority of the English forces make me apprehensive that they may be wanting the ships in your Serenity's service. Accordingly I have written to Leghorn to learn from the consul or merchants if it is true that the commander of the squadrons has sent to Venice to take away all the ships in the port, as your Serenity informs me. General Vangalen has sailed for the West with two of his ships. His intention is not known but people believe that he will not stay far away.
Florence, the 14th December, 1652.
[Italian.]
Dec. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
710. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In a preceding despatch I informed your Serenity of the decision of the Council to recognise the parliament of England by sending M. de Bordeaux there. The king and queen of England have tried again, but without success, to prevent this mission, which is so damaging to their interests, so the minister is on the point of starting on his journey. Besides making an effort to mitigate the ill will of the English against this country, he is to offer resistance to the incitements of the Spaniards and Condé, who are trying to obtain assistance from that quarter by special missions.
Two chests which I had laded on the ship Grimani have been captured by the English at the same time as the ship itself, and from what Pauluzzi writes they have been either stolen or the contents scattered. These were the furnishings of a room and other articles required for household use, worth over 1,000 ducats.
Paris, the 17th December, 1652.
[Italian.]
Dec. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli. Venetian Archives.
711. Polo Vendramin, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
An English ship of war arrived recently in this port. It had been captured in Tuscan waters but had afterwards escaped from the hands of the Dutch by a stratagem. (fn. 5)
Naples, the 17th December, 1652.
[Italian.]
Dec. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
712. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The king of Denmark, according to what the French fear, is kept by secret offices in a state of indecision as to whether he shall declare in favour of the Dutch or of the English, as he is equally apprehensive of both because of the passage of the Sound. The French are trying to keep Denmark from committing himself so that they may use him for some machinations in Germany.
Prague, the 18th December, 1652.
[Italian.]
Dec. 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
713. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 6)
The letters from General Blach which I reported have, owing to their bad news, stopped all other business entirely, causing parliament to sit constantly, even on vacation days. They state that the Dutch made their appearance in great force as usual, divided into three squadrons, commanded by three generals, who, having convoyed 200 of their merchantmen down Channel and shown themselves off Ostend, returned with 100 men of war and off Dover fell in with the main body of the English fleet, consisting of only 50 sail, all men of war and good ships. A great part of the others with a considerable number of merchantmen in the service of the state, were in other harbours at no great distance and were prevented from joining solely by the presence of the Dutch fleet. Being in such a safe position the Dutch were encouraged to offer and practically compel the English to give battle. Thereupon General Blach immediately called a council of war and his officers being unanimous in favour of accepting the challenge, the action was boldly begun and continued. But both wind and fortune declared themselves throughout for the enemy, who more than once made a furious attack on the Admiral, so that he was on the point of destruction, had not help arrived. The broadsides were countless and the damage consequently mutual, though I understand on good authority that the English have been the greatest sufferers, as besides the damage they have lost six large men of war and many of their men are wounded, whereas the loss of the enemy is slight. (fn. 7)
While the main fleets were thus engaged some of the other ships of the enemy visited the ports of Kent, where they landed some troops and made a considerable booty of cattle, but at the cost, it is said, of a great many prisoners, the inhabitants having risen upon the invaders.
These events caused great alarm to the government, so on the following morning, the 14th, the Council of State despatched six commissioners to the Downs that they might obtain better information about the battle and report on the real state of the fleet, with authority to inflict death on all such captains as should have failed in their duty ; General Blach having complained of some of them, especially of some who owed their appointment to the Council itself, without his being consulted. If they are found guilty no mercy will be shown them, to render the others more obedient and perhaps as a sop to the general.
A number of vessels bound from Scotland with coal and other commodities for this city took advantage of the action and got safe into the Thames, even capturing two vessels from Cadiz laden with oil, olives, etc., for Amsterdam, a very slight salve for the losses sustained in this unfortunate encounter.
The night after the receipt of the news a force of horse and foot was marched into Kent to guard the country and principal towns from fresh landings and pillage which the Dutch might attempt. Since the battle they remain in force, in sight of the Downs, masters, it may be said, of the sea, and with the intention, it is supposed, of fighting another battle again, preventing the uniting of the other English ships, which are at a distance, and possibly attempting a landing, unless the fear of foul weather makes them depart on the sudden. Meanwhile, as they are strong and said to be well supplied with troops, great anxiety is felt here, the more so as the burden of the war increases and the hopes of an adjustment diminish.
The war tax imposed at the beginning of the struggle expires in the present month, and as a successful defence depends mainly on funds, this impost has not only been confirmed for 6 months longer but is now raised to 120,000l. sterling monthly, of which 80,000l. are destined for the ordinary pay of the army of England, Scotland and Ireland and 40,000l. exclusively for the fleet, for whose maintenance in force every effort will be made, even to the point of postponing the sending of the squadron for the Mediterranean. The press gangs have been busy on the Thames during the present week, getting hands for the fleet, which has great need of them, though if the Dutch succeed in their intention to blockade the mouth of this river these exertions may prove vain. The overflowing resources of the Dutch in ships give them the power to watch all the passes and grievously embarrass the rulers here, and they may easily carry into effect one of these days. Everything is considered but it is admittedly difficulty if not impossible to provide for everything. So this kingdom appears to be threatened with very great and immediate danger.
Nothing has yet been settled about the Spanish pieces of eight, the government here declaring that sufficient proof has not been offered that they belong to subjects of his Catholic Majesty. An important merchant of this city named Stanier wrote to Holland reporting that the affair was about to be settled favourably through the favour of certain members of the Council of State. His letters were opened and he was sent on the sudden to the Tower. (fn. 8) Since it may be inferred from his correspondence that the Dutch are interested in the business, the surrender of the money will prove the more difficult and consequently the misunderstanding between Spain and this country may be expected to grow.
The arrival of the ambassador extraordinary from France is no longer expected. The appointment is considered a mere artifice and they say he will not leave Calais, that he has no intention of acknowledging the Commonwealth and only meant to discuss the surrender of the French ships or to hinder the negotiations in favour of the Prince of Condé, which will never make any progress, or to favour the rights of the English crown, or else to ask for the queen's dowry, owing to her need of funds to support her. He would find it difficult to get such demands granted and so it is considered practically certain that his visit will be postponed until some more opportune moment. I send this to your Excellency because such are the reports in London ; you will have learned the truth already in Paris.
Acknowledges letters of the 7th and 11th inst. Has received reprimand from Venice for excessive expenditure of 100 doubles a month. This is unjust as in 9 months he expended rather less than 3,600 livres Tournois, including the journey and all the ordinary expenses of three persons. Hopes to be relieved soon.
London, the 20th December, 1652.
[Italian.]
Dec. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
714. To the Ambassador in France.
To inform Pauluzzi clearly that he must not leave London without precise orders from the Senate. To inform him also, for his enlightenment only, that an Englishman has arrived at Venice from Leghorn. (fn. 9) Without having himself publicly introduced by anyone soever, he has addressed himself to an ordinary notary and caused commands and intimations to be drawn up for the captains of the ships of his nation to turn them away from the service of the most serene republic and to engage them against the Dutch. The Senate, from considerations of prudence, has dissimulated so far, though it is contemplating taking proceedings against the notary.
Ayes, 136. Noes, 2. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Dec. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian. Archives.
715. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The general of the English ships has sent to the Grand Duke requesting that Commander Apilton may be delivered to him. He asserts that it belongs to him, as commander in chief of the English vessels in these waters, to sit in judgment upon and to correct the transgressions of the captains subject to him. The Grand Duke, being anxious not to offend either nation, decided to send Apilton promptly to the general. He despatched him by night under a strong guard on board a felucca to Porto Ferraio, with orders to the governor there to forward him by land to Longone. But his Highness recognises that the Dutch may be as dissatisfied with this as the English have been with his other decisions, and he foresees that in a war of this kind, between two such proud and sinister nations it will prove all but impossible for more than one prince to avoid departing from neutrality and declaring for one side or the other.
General Vangalen has yet not returned. His people think that he may be in the waters of Alicant, held up by contrary winds. In the mean time the commander whom he left in his place is dead. Tromp's son, who has taken his place, announces his determination to be revenged for the outrage suffered from the English by carrying off the ship in the port of Leghorn, but at the same time he does not relax his blockade of the squadron of eight ships at Longone.
Owing to the absence of the English commander at that place I am unable to perform the office about the recall of the English ships serving in the Levant. The consul has no powers and I have not even been to him to learn whether it is true that a person has been sent to Venice as reported.
Florence, the 21st December, 1652.
[Italian.]
Dec. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia, Venetian Archives.
716. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 10)
All I have to add about the reply to the ducal letter is that today Sir [Oliver] Fleming assured me that it was ready and would be delivered at once. I complained mildly about the delay. He said it was due to the very important affairs now in hand. Once a good understanding was established with Venice it would last for ever. In reply to my strictures he admitted that they were to blame here, but the Signory was even more so, adding that the matter would soon be settled and the republic would have no reason to complain.
After his defeat General Blach was compelled to retreat with the main body of the fleet into this river, where he now is. The reverse is attributed to his own fault. People say that he did not hold the Dutch in sufficient account, and neglecting the hint to keep his forces together, scattered the ships about in various parts of England and Scotland, and so found himself obliged to give battle to the entire fleet of the enemy with an inferior force, subjecting himself to a loss which, considering how unequal the contest was, may in truth be considered trifling.
The six commissioners continue their efforts for the repairs of the fleet, and both parliament and the Council of State are taking the necessary steps for reinforcing it with the greatest possible number of ships now in the Thames, as those outside are prevented from joining by the enemy. So in a few days it is thought that the fleet will be able to go out in strength and if necessary force a passage, although the Dutch are outside and said to be determined to prevent it. Thus an important action may be expected to take place soon, as both honour and necessity oblige the English fleet to go out in order not to leave the Dutch masters at sea. It is said that the Dutch mean to attack the isle of Waith, and make a landing there. Although it is in a good state of defence they have considered it advisable to order the removal thence of the Duke of Gloucester, third son of the late king, a boy of thirteen, who has been kept prisoner there a long while. It is not known what they mean to do with him now. Some say that he will be allowed, if he likes, to go to his cousin, the Count Palatine in Germany, parliament paying him an annual pension. Others assert that they mean to give him 1,000l. sterling and desire him to leave England and go where he pleases, but the fact is that the present place of his confinement remains a secret. (fn. 11)
In order to supply the fleet with sailors, of which it has great need, the crews have been taken out of a good part of the merchantment now in the river. For their satisfaction and in the hope of attracting others the monthly pay of each sailor has been raised from 18 to 24 shillings. In addition to this one third of all prizes which may be made henceforth at sea, is to be divided among them, as they have made great complaints about the treatment they have received in the past and of the scanty pay given to them.
Last Saturday, the 23rd inst., M. de Bordeaux arrived here from the Court of France ; but as he came incognito, without previous notification to the government here, he was not met by any public official. Two days afterwards he made enquiries about the forms to be observed in connection with his presentation and negotiations. Learning that he must go to the Speaker with his credentials, he did so immediately, but with small success, for the letters from his sovereign were considered unsatisfactory their address lacking the word "Reipublicae" the direction running merely "Parlamento Populi Angliae." So his mission is far from being approved and the business he proposes to transact is nipped in the bud. He maintains, artfully it is thought, that if parliament grants the satisfaction that is asked, he might very soon obtain fresh credentials and the title of ambassador, whereas he now bears that of envoy only. From these pretensions, which were expected here, it is conjectured that he has come to observe and report the state of affairs rather than to negotiate formally, and if he does not make some concession to satisfy the government, his stay here is likely to be brief.
The ambassador appointed to Constantinople is still here owing to this recent defeat, which happened on the eve of his intended departure, and caused the postponement of everything connected with this business. A number of English ships, which have been laded a long time and were waiting for this opportunity for proceeding with greater safety to the Levant, have been in part detained for service in the fleet, and part have unloaded, as it is universally admitted that home defence is the first need.
The Catholic Ambassador recently had an extraordinary audience of parliament, which usually only receives the foreign ambassadors on their arrival and departure. On other occasions, unless there be some exceptional reason, it refers them to the Council of State. This important business of the silver induced the Spaniard to present himself before the House. He made a strong remonstrance and practically entered a protest. But it availed him little, as the case has been referred to the Admiralty Court. When he expressed his objection to this course he was told that he must abide by the award of that tribunal. It is not possible to say what attitude it may take, since it becomes more and more evident that Dutch subjects are concerned, if not in the whole of the adventure at least in great part of it. This belief is strengthened by the copy of an extract obtained furtively from the Dutch Admiralty registers, from which it appears that the admirals and captains of their ships are charged to give every possible assistance and convoy to any Hamburg ships they may fall in with, laden with merchandise, money, etc. As this fresh information renders the affair still more cloudy, we may soon expect to see the parliament embroiled with Spain likewise.
London, the 27th December, 1652.
[Italian.]
Dec. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
717. To the Ambassador in France.
The English gentleman (fn. 12) who came with orders from the commander of the parliamentary fleet to draw away the English ships from our service, has left this city, but before going he repeated his comminations and had them posted up in English on the masts of the ships, to be carried into effect. Nevertheless they have not chosen to act upon them, and one has even proceeded immediately to the Levant, where a cargo of numerous stores was awaiting it.
This is merely for information and Pauluzzi is not to speak on the subject unless provoked. In that case he will have ample opportunity to take exception to the behaviour of the individual who came without any credentials and who never at any time produced his instructions or powers, and yet in spite of these most powerful inducements the Signory prudently decided to ignore the affair.
Ayes, 106. Noes, 2. Neutral, 4.
[Italian.]
Dec. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli. Venetian Archives.
718. Giovanni Ambrosio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Bobler, general of the English ships now at Porto Longone, has written again to the Grand Duke that he has tried Apilton and found him deserving of correction. To satisfy his Highness he has deprived him of the command of the ships at Leghorn, but asks permission for him to return in safety to that place for a few days in order to issue the necessary orders for the safety of the ships. In the mean time, the governor of Porto Longone, by order of the Viceroy of Naples, has intimated to the Dutch that they must leave the port free as they do not intend it to be besieged. As the Dutch were thus constrained to draw further off two brave English frigates succeeded in getting out, to go and join the others which had previously arrived at Naples. (fn. 13) This has caused great alarm among the Flemish traders at Leghorn, which is not yet allayed, as they are afraid that the ships with merchandise which they are expecting from Amsterdam may suffer serious losses, because among the ships of Vangalen's squadron there are not any which are good enough sailers to arrive in time to prevent it.
The Bali Gondi, who has been in Florence these last days, told me that the Dutch are expecting shortly 18 more ships of war. If the 20 English ones which parliament keeps promising to their captains here, also arrive, the main effort (lo sforzo) of the war between these two nations will be concentrated in these neighbouring waters, since it is the most suitable centre for each of them to interrupt the Levant trade of the other, and it is not the policy of the English to stand on the defensive in their own waters, subject to capture, without fighting.
Prince Leopold confided to me that parliament has selected for its minister at Leghorn accredited to his Highness, Charles Grandier, a leading merchant on that mart, who presented his credentials at Pisa quite recently. He has authority to dispose at will of all the English ships in the Mediterranean, and he is already exercising this so despotically that without a word he has his orders posted on the ships so that they are obeyed by everyone without question. His Highness thinks that he may have sent the individual of whom your Serenity wrote to me. But it has come to light that owing to the persuasion of the person in whose house he stayed at Venice, he has already gone away leaving his commissions unexecuted. His Highness told me further that if the squadron indicated arrives for the relief of the English it will be easy for the Grand Duke to perform a useful office with this Charles Grandier, pointing out that it will take months for the ships in the Levant to arrive, although if they are short of ships he did not think that we could expect much good from it, especially as the English are not too careful in keeping their promises, and Grandier is a very obstinate man, exceedingly disobliging, really a preacher, who professes to have no love or enthusiasm for anything but what he considers may tend to the advantage of his new republic. However, I am writing to him to-day.
Florence, the 28th December, 1652.
[Italian.]
Dec 31.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli. Venetian Archives.
719. Polo Vendramin, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
On the English ship which was first captured by the Dutch and afterwards escaped, as I wrote the other week, there were found 70 of that nation, who had remained as prisoners. By order of his Excellency these have been divided out among various other ships, which have been made to stop so that they may not escape.
Naples, the 31st December, 1652.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

  • 1. Forwarded by Sagredo on the 17th December.
  • 2. The Phoenix was recaptured on the 20/30 November.
  • 3. Bergh was a Dutch sailor suspected of being a spy, found on board the Leopard on the day following the capture of the Phoenix. Spalding : Life of Badiley, page 147.
  • 4. Forwarded by Sagredo on the 24th December.
  • 5. The Phoenix, commanded by Capt. Owen Cox.
  • 6. Forwarded by Sagredo on the 31st December.
  • 7. The action off Dungeness on the 30 Nov., O.S. Blake lost the Garland and Bonaventure.
  • 8. Jacomo Staneir. He was examined in the House on the 1st December, O.S., and committed to the sergeant at arms ; but admitted to bail on the 15th. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. VII, pages 223-4, 230.
  • 9. Jonas Poole, captain of the merchantman Mary Rose, was sent to Venice by Longland. Spalding : Life of Badiley, page 163.
  • 10. Forwarded by Sagredo on the 7th January, 1653.
  • 11. It was decided on the 6/16 December that he should be removed from Carisbrooke, but he was still there at the end of the month. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1652-3, pages 12, 27, 65.
  • 12. Jonas Poole.
  • 13. The Elizabeth and Constant Warwick. Spalding : Life of Richard Badiley, page 165.