Venice: May 1649

Pages 97-102

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 28, 1647-1652. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1927.

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May 1649

May 4.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
264. Agreement made with Samuel Stanton, captain of the ship Elizabeth, carrying 40 men and 24 guns, for the hire of his ship to transport munitions and troops to the port of Standia.
Approved in the Senate on the 4th May, 1649.
Ayes, 103. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
May 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
265. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 4th May, 1649.
Enclosure. 266. Advices from London, of the 25th April, 1649.
The letters from London this week confirm the news of the capture of Pontefract and state that after the surrender of Clittaro and some other small places, all of them will be demolished by order of the Commons.
Major Gen. Langorn, Colonels Poier and Pouel and Capt. Ouen, brought before the Council of War on the charge of betraying parliament and joining the enemies of the republic, (fn. 1) have asked for time to prepare their defence, and this has been granted.
The Council of State having intimated to the House of Commons that everything necessary is ready to send to Ireland and it only remained to provide money, it was decided that 13 persons, members of parliament and Gen. Fairfax, with the Earl of Pembroke, should go through the city to raise a loan of 120,000l. to be repaid upon the revenues of the next two months.
May 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Munster. Venetian Archives.
267. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador to the Congress of Munster, to Michiel Morosini, his colleague in France.
The moves of the king of England remain entirely in suspense and it looks as if he is waiting for some enlightenment as to how to proceed from the counsel of those in France (costa) and from his mother, but without peace between the two crowns he can have neither security not facilities for any course he may take.
Munster, the 4th May, 1649.
May 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
268. Giulio Cesare Alberto, Venetian Secretary at Constantinople, (fn. 2) to the Doge and Senate.
The fleet sailed on the 1st and the Captain Pasha is determined to pass. News is momentarily expected. All the machinations of the English ambassador here are at length disclosed with the return from Smyrna of the French renegade Bairan. He brings word that 13 vessels of that nation have not only placed themselves at the service of the Turk, but they have also compelled the 3 French and 4 Flemish ships by force to do the like. Some of the English merchants protest to their fellow countrymen that they do not agree with such a rascally measure and they make protest to the ambassador and the merchants Fog, Ciapel, Perla and Erest, who together and secretly have negotiated and concluded this affair with the Vizier and Captain Pasha. Il Sot, (fn. 3) another English merchant, has informed me that his ambassador, alarmed by the serious disapprobation of these men, of his most improper handiwork, and fearing that the report of it may be generally circulated, has succeeded in getting the Vizier to issue a commination under severe penalties, that no one, whoever he may be, shall venture to write or to send letters without an express permission. They say that the ships are to serve through the whole of the summer, the larger ones for 2,000 and the lesser for 1,800 reals a month. It remains uncertain whether they are to come to the Castelli to give encouragement to the galleys inside, or if they are merely to be devoted to the transport of food, men and troops to the kingdom of Candia.
The Vigne di Pera, the 5th May, 1649.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
May 7.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni Corti. Venetian Archives.
269. To the Ambassador at Munster.
Approval of his letter of reply to the memorial sent by Salvetti. To the English Levant Company the Senate professes the most friendly disposition. They shall never receive any injury from the republic or incommodity of any kind, but every facility and favour whenever it is possible. The republic is certain that its good will towards the ships of that nation is punctually realised in action by its representatives and by the Bailo at Constantinople in particular who has suitable instructions on the subject. If any English ship has encountered difficulties at the Dardanelles, it is due to accident and never to lack of good will. The Senate hopes that the English will respond to this friendliness by not allowing their ships to serve the Turks, as they seem to have done by taking money to Barbary. With reference to the point raised by the English that their ships were prevented from going to Constantinople and obliged to discharge their cargoes at Smyrna with consequent loss, the fact is that the ships went to Smyrna of their own accord knowing that they were in danger of suffering violence at Constantinople.
Ayes, 93. Noes, 1. Neutral, 4.
May 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
270. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 11th May, 1649.
Enclosure. 271. Advices from London, the 3rd May, 1649.
The time for their defence having expired Gen. Langhorn and Colonels Pouell and Poier have been condemned to be shot, (fn. 4) but the sentence has not yet been carried out because of numerous petitions in their favour.
Deputies have been chosen to punish those who declaim in public against the late procedure of parliament. News has also arrived that the troops in Ulster have declared for the Prince of Wales and have taken possession of Carrickfergus, Coleraine and Belfast.
May 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
272. Giulio Cesare Alberti and Pietro Vianuol, Venetian Secretaries at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The renegade Bairan reports that the English ships at Smyrna are ready to serve the Turks and are trying to induce the French and Flemings to do the like. The English demand, however, to have 2,000 reals paid down for each ship ; that they shall not be required to take more than 150 men on each, and so disposed that the sailors shall always be the stronger ; that they shall not be required to go under any fortress but to embark the men in open places. The ambassador sends them a definite order to serve, in a written and stamped form. They demanded this to cover themselves in regard to their owners, and the ambassador will have to render account in England. These demands seem to have thrown cold water on the business and it is no longer discussed with the same freedom.
The Vigne di Pera, the 15th May, 1649.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
May 17.
Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Prov. Gen. da Mar. Venetian Archives.
273. Antonio Bernardo, Venetian Proveditore General at Sea, to the Doge and Senate.
A tartana brings word from Alexandria that 34 ships have sailed from that port, mostly Flemish, English and French. Another reports that the Barbary ships are going in that direction. These united with the 18 ships at Smyrna granted by the English ambassador, as reported from Scios, and the eight in this port will constitute the most powerful fleet that the Sultan has ever had.
The galeasse at Standia, the 17th May, 1649.
May 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Munster. Venetian Archives.
274. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at the Congress of Munster, to Michiel Morosini, his colleague in France.
Dr. Doreslaus who had come to the Hague to arrange with the States General, in the name of the parliament of England, for the despatch of ambassadors on both sides, has been assassinated in his own house. (fn. 5) It is the well merited punishment of his temerity, as he was one of the officials (fiscali) who demanded and contrived the death of the late king Charles and he had the audacity to betake himself to Holland where the king's son was ; but these are the judgments of God.
Munster, the 18th May, 1649.
[Italian ; copy.]
May 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
275. Giulio Cesare Alberti and Pietro Vianuol, Venetian Secretaries at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has made representations to the Grand Vizier on behalf of the Bailo. There is only too much reason for fearing that these ostensible offices are only used as a cloak for his more recondite and prejudicial intrigues about the ships of his nation at Smyrna, and that he is also aiming at arousing suspicion in the mind of the French ambassador.
It seems that the Turks ceased to care much about the English ships at Smyrna when their fleet was outside the Castelli, but since the Captain Pasha sent word of his difficulties they have resumed their negotiations with the ambassador, and Bairan has been sent back with all speed. The ambassador has sent to inform us that he has been summoned to audience by the Vizier, presumably in order to demand of him the ships at Smyrna. He asserts, however, that he knows quite well how to take care of himself and he will not lose the opportunity of doing something in the interests of your Serenity and in favour of the Bailo. He added that it was possible the Vizier had got scent of our having taken refuge in his house and wanted to get us into his hands. In that case he asked what he should do. We told him that we put ourselves in his hands. He said that he would find a more secret place to hide us.
Report the deposition of the Grand Vizier and his replacement by Murat, Aga of the Janissaries. This gives rise to hopes of a great improvement in the state of affairs.
The Vigne di Pera, the 19th May, 1649.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
May 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Zante. Venetian Archives.
276. Ambrogio Bembo, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Forwards account of action from the Captain of the ships.
Zante, the 20th May, 1649.
Enclosure. 277. Report of Giacomo di Riva, Captain of the ships.
Gives particulars of the action with the Turkish fleet on the 12th inst. Before the engagement the captains of the foreign ships demanded compensation in the event of injury to their ships and men in the fight. In the course of the fight the Scottish ship (fn. 6) was laid aboard by a galeasse and the enemy climbing up tried to carry her, but Riva came up to the rescue and drove them off. Repairing damages and proposes to proceed to Smyrna. Sent a letter to the captains of the ships there to learn their intentions. His appearance has caused great confusion in these parts. In the end all the English captains at Smyrna have signed a paper and taken an oath that they will not accept the proposal of the Turks to take troops to the places arranged. Proceeding to Scios.
The ship in the channel of Snaim, the 19th May, 1649.
May 20.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
278. To the Ambassador at Munster.
It is proposed by the Turks to use a good number of English ships against the republic. This would be most discreditable and a blow against all Christendom. The republic has always professed the most friendly feelings towards that nation and proved them by deeds. The ambassador is to write to Salvetti and get him to persuade the Levant Company to make sure that their ships are not used by the Turks against Christendom.
Ayes, 90. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
May 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
279. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Compiegne, the 24th May, 1649.
Enclosure. 280. Advices from London, the 13th May, 1649.
They are still busy establishing their republic with public and private acts. The House of Commons recently issued an order giving power to all parliamentary ships to chase and capture all those who have withdrawn from obedience to parliament and to do the same with those which claim to belong to Charles Stuart and his heirs, and which are found in the rivers and ports of England and Ireland and indeed with all others which are found armed against parliament, granting one half the booty to those who take it, the other half being assigned to the wounded, maimed and sick of the present war.
The Council of State has presented to parliament various designs for money coined under the authority of the republic. They chose one with the cross on one side, which is the arms of England, surrounded by laurel and palms and the words "the commonwealth of England," and on the other a cross with an harp, the arms of Ireland, and the inscription "God with Us." They have ordered the Attorney General to issue this money at once. (fn. 7)
May 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Munster. Venetian Archives.
281. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador to the Congress of Munster, to the Doge and Senate.
The king of England has not succeeded in obtaining either money or ships from the United Provinces for his assistance. They wish their dilatoriness in answering to serve for a refusal. Accordingly he is contemplating going to France and thence to Ireland, although he will find this a difficult thing to accomplish without assistance. The parliamentarians have sixty armed ships at sea and they have set apart funds for the maintenance of these and of the land army as well for the whole of the coming year. The king's partisans, on the other hand, are disheartened, disordered and divided, both in Scotland and in England. The party is certainly stronger in Ireland but that country is extremely poor and it is the weakest of all as well.
Munster, the 28th May, 1649.


  • 1. The persons to be tried by Court Martial were Poyer, Powell, Laugharne and Brown Bushell. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. VI, pages 164-7. Sir John Owen was tried by the High Court of Justice.
  • 2. The Bailo Soranzo was arrested and imprisoned on the 27th April. The Secretaries Alberti and Vianuol took refuge in the French embassy. Nani : Hist. Veneta, 1679, Vol. II, page 273.
  • 3. John South, probably ; mentioned in a letter of the 15/25 April, 1649. S.P. For. Arch., Vol. 112. Roger Fowke, Geoffrey Keble and William Perle, who are mentioned in the same Letter Book, may probably be identified with the merchants mentioned above.
  • 4. Poyer was drawn by lot and shot on 25 April, O.S.
  • 5. He arrived at the Hague with new credentials on the 9th May and was murdered on the 12th. Aitzema : Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. III, pages 376, 377.
  • 6. Valiero relates that a large Scottish ship, of 70 guns, led the way into the harbour at Fochies. Storia della Guerra di Candia, 1859, Vol. II, page 171. Probably James the Scot, hired by the republic in 1646 (Vol. XXVII, of this Calendar, page 274), though there it is given as carrying 45 guns only.
  • 7. The order in parliament for this new money was taken on the 25 April, O.S. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. VI, page 195. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1649-50, pages 107-8.