Venice
April 1655

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1930

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38-52

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'Venice: April 1655', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 30: 1655-1656 (1930), pp. 38-52. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89806 Date accessed: 23 July 2014.


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April 1655

April 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archieves.
52. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
The news of risings of armed men in various places has been confirmed notably at Salisbury, where they have declared for the banished king and planned to take possession of the castle. Accordingly the Protector redoubled his energies and sent reinforcements to support the troops of horse already mentioned. These not only succeeded in frustrating the projects of the insurgent cavaliers, but pursued them with such determination that they were scattered, some being taken and others slain. This first success seems to have restored the Protector's equanimity in great measure. The talk of a great rising has died away while the ardour of the malcontents in other parts is damped. They find themselves impotent to resist the forces and authority of his Highness, and without leaders of experience they see that they are unlikely to go far with their designs. They are further restrained by the armed forces of the government which are promptly moved against them and which are always too strong for them, while the Protector loses no time in taking the necessary measures to reduce uprisings wherever they occur. In addition to forbidding anyone to leave the country without a passport he has recently added the death penalty for those who disobey. By such watchfulness and the application of such potent and prompt remedies it is believed here that his Highness may succeed in dissipating the present tempest, which is so dangerous to him, and so remain more solidly established than ever in his autocracy. Others maintain that the cause of these numerous evil humours is not eradicated although they are suppressed. For myself I can only report what happens.
I have heard in confidence that to gain credit here the agent of the Prince of Condé, as arranged with the Catholic ambassador, has been to offer the Protector the personal services of his master with the 10,000 men whom he commands. Although Cromwell perceived that the offer was far beyond the need and not very serious (luntana dal bisogno e dall' effetto,), yet he expressed his great appreciation of it. None the less it is not believed that the naval projects in the West Indies will be changed on this account. The latest news relates that while some of the ships have put in at Barbados because of a storm or to revictual, the main body is near Cuba and they have already landed troops there or in some other island. The news is welcome and more is awaited, but owing to the great distance it is bound to be long in coming.
General Blach is said to have drawn near to Tunis. On the way he fell in with a number of French ships, which he engaged, capturing some and sinking others. There is also a report of the capture of some English ship by the pirates of Algiers or Tunis. If this is verified Blach may wish to compel its restitution by force before he leaves there to return home.
It looks as if the negotiations with France have fallen through entirely and the rumour becomes more insistent that M. de Bordeaux is preparing to go. It is true that the whole aspect of affairs may change in the course of a day and the report itself may be a device. But not one of the articles is settled and the high claims made here, without any concessions, make a good mutual understanding appear unlikely. They suspect here that the French may have some share in the present internal troubles. With this suspicion and the sudden move of the king of England, without the real object being known, they live here in the utmost apprehension and watchfulness, although the report that the king means to throw himself into some place in the kingdom seems quite unfounded.
The ambassador of Genoa had his final audience of the Protector recently without having realised any of his projects. He will leave in a few days. He has never met the Resident of Florence here, still less the Catholic ambassador, in spite of the adjustment between his republic and Spain, owing to his claims about his treatment.
An agent of Portugal (fn. 2) arrived here some days ago with the ratification of the peace between that country and the Protector. Another extraordinary from Poland also arrived recently. Owing to the internal troubles he could not obtain prompt audience and he has decided to present his credentials to the Protector. (fn. 3) He is believed to have come to ask for some diversion against the Muscovites to help his king. He will probably find them deaf because the government here has a lively recollection of the money supplied by that sovereign to the present king of England, and also because they have enough to think about in their own affairs without attending to those of others.
The arming of the men to guard the city has been pressed forward with the greatest energy. The day before yesterday four regiments of citizens of 1,000 men each, were reviewed in a spacious field. In the presence of the mayor and aldermen and of the President of the Council they took the oath of fealty to Protector. His Highness did not go there himself, but sent one of his sons and his household in coaches to honour this military ceremony. The decision to arm these men arouses increasing attention; past experience shows that at the beginning of the civil wars parliament employed similar forces to resist those of the late king, so it might fall out some day that the arms given to the people for defence will be employed for a bold offensive, a thing more likely to happen in a dull and disaffected nation unaccustomed to burdens and very predisposed to change, than in any other.
The day of this function was spent as a high festival and holiday. But tears are always near to laughter, and that same night, in the midst of the revelry a candle was inadvertently left lighted in a room, setting fire to it. This spread to other houses near it, in which victuals were stored, and between that evening and the next morning over 30 houses were reduced to ashes with a quantity of goods of great value, while some persons were also buried in the flames. The loss is estimated at over 400,000l. sterling. (fn. 4) The accident is considered as a punishment of Heaven for this country for its treatment of its innocent king, its disregard of true devotion and the multiplicity and confusion of sects.
I have nothing more to add except that I have now completed three years in this employment on the top of four spent at the expensive Court of France under the Ambassabor Morosini and after four others. I have served to the best of my poor abilities amid various changes and great agitations, rendering things difficult especially with the opposition at my arrival. I trust that the Senate will listen to my petition, which I hope your Excellency will support, to permit me to return home to enjoy the rest and recreation which I have desired rather than enjoyed during my 23 years of service. I also ask for the necessary supplies to pay my living expenses, which were in arrear for four months on the 22nd of last month.
London, the 3rd April, 1655.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Capitano
delle Navi.
Venetian
Archieves.
53. Lazzaro Mocenigo, Captain of the Ships, to the Doge and Senate.
Finding the ship Elizabeth Maria to be without a governor I have appointed Sig. Faustin di Riva, who came to the fleet as a volunteer, to be vice-governor thereof. The squadron consists of 12 ships which I intend to keep together as a single squadron. Encloses list.
From the ship, at Scios, the 3rd April, 1655.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.54. Note of Ships: Campo d'Occhi, flag; Re David; Croce d'Oro; Ercole; Sagrificio d'Abraham; Profeta Sansone; Contarina; Principessa; Aquila Coronata; Concordia; Elizabeth Maria.
[Italian.]
April 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
55. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The States General of the United Provinces have borrowed a considerable sum at interest to defray the cost of the late wars, especially the one with England, which proved very expensive.
Cromwell's representations about the asylum afforded to the king of England have compelled the States to make careful enquiry as to where his Majesty is actually residing and to implore him to leave their territory, to avoid a rupture with the Protector. This enquiry has produced no result as it was impossible to discover where his Majesty lives. But I understand, from a good source, that he is in the province of Zeeland in a country house of his sister, the Princess of Orange, living incognito under her protection. (fn. 5) He receives constant advices by sea from his adherents, and is watching the course of the disturbances in England, with the intention of embarking again if he sees any chance of success.
Meanwhile the French, who have hitherto treated the English not only respectfully, but with a sort of vassalage, allowing themselves to be spoiled of all their vessels without ever resisting or even taking revenge when able to do so, are now changing their policy. They seem to share the faint hopes of the king and the general inclination of the English to shake off the military despotism. They have seized five English ships at Havre and two at St. Malo, and seem more than usually inclined to meet force by force.
Paris, the 6th April, 1655.
[Italian.]
April 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archieves.
56. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
At Toulon great exertions are being made to fit out a fleet. The Cardinal has sent agents to Holland to buy warships, intending to send out a strong squadron capable not only of dealing with the Spaniards, but also of defending the French flag from the insults of the English.
Paris, the 6th April, 1655.
P.S.—The ordinary of England has arrived but without letters from Paulucci.
[Italian.]
April 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
57. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France.
(fn. 6)
From the enclosed translation of a paper obtained from a close confidant your Excellency will see that there is no lack of fuel for kindling a great conflagration with the total destruction of the Protector. Such seditious libels touch him to the quick, as he knows in his heart that they have much right and truth on their side. Fearing that they may make an impression on the people Cromwell is endeavouring by every known device to discover and destroy the authors. He has so far found it impossible to get to the bottom of the matter although from the contents it is clear that he cannot go far wrong in attributing it to the pen of the first, second and third parliaments, which he bullied, despised and utterly offended. It is probable that these also were the principal cause of the risings and gatherings of armed forces in more than one part of the country, which the government promptly dealt with and dispersed, notably near Salisbury. The same is reported to have happened in Yorkshire, where a party of 500 armed cavaliers was defeated, many being taken. To strike fear and to prevent similar incidents in other parts of the kingdom the Protector is showing great energy in pushing examinations, in preparing the trial and in the confiscation of the goods of the more important of the insurgents. Such violent measures appear to have brought things to a stand; but in the fear that they may suddenly break out again with greater impetus constant watchfulness is observed everywhere and the bodies of troops in various parts of the country are reinforced, with orders to prevent any gathering of the people, great or small, and always to hasten with all promptitude to any part where they are required.
In spite of the 4,000 men recently armed in this city, the number of the regular troops is not diminished, indeed the guard is kept with more punctuality and assiduity than ever in the principal places, and especially at the Protector's palace. Since these risings in the country a quantity of arms for all possible needs has been introduced there by water. No precaution is neglected and his Highness has renewed the order that no one soever shall embark without a passport from him. For two days also they have stopped all the ships which were about to leave the Thames. This has been done largely because of a report that all English ships found in French ports have been arrested by royal order. Confirmation of this is awaited.
The Protector has not satisfied the troops with the whole of their pay possibly in order to keep a better hold on them. Knowing the opportunity to be favourable they have petitioned his Highness for the rest. He gave them fair words and promises and they went away quite satisfied. But some soldiers of his guard, tired of waiting, took advantage of the great liberties and privileges they enjoy, and audaciously entered the Protector's kitchen, laying forcible hands on the food prepared for his dinner and saying that in the absence of money for their living they must hunt it out where it was superabundant. When the Protector heard of this audacity he had to go in person to appease and admonish them. With admirable prudence he used tactful dissimulation, such as the present situation requires, and instead of the punishment they deserved he promised them that they should be paid one day soon, and supplied them with some food. This has won him some popularity and approval, so that if he pays them punctually he may rely on their steady loyality, but if not, he may look for grumbling, threats and fear, beyond a doubt. So his chief care will be to provide in good time the money for supporting those who sustain him in his present command, in which he will never be free from anxieties.
A report has circulated lately that Fairfax, once general of the first parliament under whom Cromwell served, may be engaged under an oath of fealty in some warlike enterprise against the present government. If it is so it will occasion the Protector grave anxiety, seeing the prejudice to him of a party of the malcontents having a leader of great capacity and experience, who might become his rival, one moreover little disposed to be friendly to him and ill pleased with him (un capo di guerra di discrettione et esperienza grande e ch'emulo suo potrebbe fargli provare i prejuidicii d'un animo poco ad esso inclinato e di lui mal sodisfatto, onde se tale semplici divulgatione non puo ripportarsi che a quello potrebbe andar seguendo cosi nella dissipatione totale de'rumori interni mossi, come nell'alteratione maggiore d'essi.) It is necessary to wait and see what happens.
I understand that M. de Bordeaux has recently been pressing strongly for audience of the Protector, in which, it is said, he has orders from his king to take leave and give up the negotiations altogether. His Highness and the Council have found out the intention and delay granting his demand, indeed I have just heard that his Highness has sent a commissioner from the Council to the ambassador's house with a paper which may contain some article to keep the negotiations alive and to prevent the minister from leaving. On the other hand it is stated that since France is not behaving sincerely in the matter, the ill will between the two countries will grow worse and worse. Something definite should result after all these negotiations.
Although they pretended to attach no importance to the rumour about King Charles coming to this country yet some who arrived recently from France and Flanders were arrested although they were afterwards released. I must again appeal for supplies. I am now indebted for over four months for the rent and food. With things as they are here my creditors have been to demand their due, and to avoid violence which might ensue owing to the laws and the present liberty of the country, I have been obliged to raise a loan for a part of the debt and to give security for the rest. I implore compassion as days and months fly away and I become more and more indebted.
London, the 10th April, 1655.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.7]
58. A Declaration of the free people of England now in arms against the tyranny and oppression of Oliver Cromwell. (fn. 7)
[Italian, from the English.]
April 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
59. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and senate.
The deputies of the province of Holland wrote to the Princess of Orange to say that as reports of the residence of the king of England at Telinghen might mar their good understanding with Cromwell and disturb the public peace they felt sure she would further his speedy departure out of their territories. The princess replied that she had been a long while without any news of her brother, although he is really staying at a country house ruminating over the bitter news of the dispersion by Cromwell of several small parties of horse which had begun to assert his rights in various districts.
The States General have also determined to send out a squadron of 30 warships under Admiral Opdam. The professed object is to recover the places occupied by the Portuguese in Brazil, though some maintain that really wish to have a strong fleet to secure their safety at home and not allow themselves to be taken by surprise by the new fleets preparing in England.
The persons sent to buy ships in Holland have returned empty owing to the difficulties raised by the States, who pretended that they required ships for their own service, though the truth is that they prevented the purchase from fear of disobliging Cromwell. In revenge the French have seized several Dutch ships in French ports under pretence of their carrying contraband. The ambassador has complained and received a courteous reply, but the ships are still detained.
Similar action had been taken against the English, as reported, but on the arrival of the news of the failure of the royalist conspiracy, not only were orders issued for the release of the ships seized at Havre, but that the captains should be treated courteously and receive some slight compensation which they claim. The fact is that when the king of England spoke of his hopes of a revival of his cause the Cardinal expected another civil war capable of distracting Cromwell's attention from any hostile designs against France, and with no further need to guard the frontiers and garrison the seaports he would be able to prosecute the war with Spain with greater energy.
No letters have arrived from Paulucci this week either, probably because the ordinary has not yet come.
Paris, the 13th April, 1655.
[Italian.]
April 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
60. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 8)
So far we understand that the employment of force has restored order almost completely in several parts of the kingdom, leaving the insurgents to repent of their revolt. They are charged with having done the king more harm than good by acclaiming him before the proper time without first considering the matter, because they have shown their hand, and as they did not get the enthusiasm and following that they expected the Protector had plenty of time to crush them and to deal with the leaders. The rising will have done him more good than harm, as by the forfeiture of their goods he expects to get over 50,000l. sterling of yearly revenue and so no doubt the utmost severity will be shown to the chief culprits. Some of the leaders have been brought captive to this city, after the defeat and flight of the insurgents. Several country houses also have been searched and all the arms found there have been taken away. In this way they hope effectively to draw the teeth of the malcontents and so prevent any conspiracies against the one who is now in sole command.
They have held a muster this week of several companies of horse and foot. To purge them of malcontents and of those suspected because of serving the late king, they have disbanded quite 500, though all have been fully paid. The command of two regiments of horse has been taken from their ordinary colonel and given to another, a dependant of his Highness. The Protector believes that such measures will serve to preserve him from further disturbances, and to secure himself further he has sent men specially to various places to find out the sentiments of the people and to make sure of their loyalty. It really looks as if these measures left things more disposed to quiet than to disturbance, unless one is proved to be mistaken by some unexpected turn, to which this government will always be exposed.
A report is current that something definite about the treaty with France will be made known publicly within 10 or 12 days at most. Since the announcement from Paris that his Majesty did not intend an open rupture by seizing the ships an adjustment does not seem hopeless. To this end the Protector has allowed all the ships seized by his order until last Tuesday, to sail this week.
The minister of Poland has had audience at last. After the compliments he went on to complain of the violent and hostile action of the Muscovite against the dominions and territory of his master, in order to provoke a favourable declaration from here. But I gather that the reply was something quite different as from the very first Cromwell attacked the minister for the ingratitude shown by his king in despoiling a large number of English and Scots who were in his country, for the sole purpose of supplying succour to King Charles, of which the government preserve a lively memory and which did not please it. The minister was more astonished than confused by this reminder and professed complete ignorance, leaving his Highness without any further answer. So he can have little hope of getting any help here for his king against the Muscovites.
Little is said about the fleets this week. General Pen is preparing his attack on the dominions of his Catholic Majesty, and he is undoubtedly making his dispositions with a view to meeting the galleons which should be in Spain this summer, back from the Indies. If he falls in with them he will certainly not forget to speak with them.
Now that matters seem settled down at home the Protector seems inclined to keep General Blach in the Mediterranean with his squadron. It is understood that fresh ships of war and provisions have sailed for both fleets, and because of the absence of these they are hurrying more than ever with the equipment of a third.
Acknowledges letters of the 10th. Encloses duplicate of No. 161 which had not arrived. Asks for supplies, which, on the 22nd inst. will be five months in arrear.
London, the 17th April, 1655.
[Italian.]
April 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
61. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
King Charles of England has sent one of his gentlemen to inform the queen, his mother, that he is now back at his usual residence at Cologne, the efforts of the royalists in England having entirely failed. The instant suppression by Cromwell on one and the same day of various armed meetings in places far apart and the disclosure to him of several stores of arms and ammunition buried in the ground in remote places, convinces his Majesty that he is betrayed by many of his followers, as it is impossible that such secret particulars can have been notified by any save those who had the chief part in them. These serve the king and are paid by Cromwell, who thus has full information of all his Majesty's plans and movements.
All these particulars were communicated in confidence to the queen, who is deeply distressed at her son's disappointment, especially as many of his staunchest adherents have been either killed or taken prisoner, to the utter depression of the weaker party.
Encloses three letters of Paulucci, making good omission of past weeks.
Paris, the 20th April, 1655.
[Italian.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venitian
Archives.
62. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 9)
The merchants of the Levant Company have petitioned the Protector to confer the character of ambassador on the person chosen by them for Constantinople, (fn. 10) so that he may get ready and may uphold English affairs with more dignity and authority. The Protector expressed his readiness to oblige them, as I have also learned from Sir. [Oliver] Fleming, whom I contrived to see, chiefly on this subject, in order to be ready to meet all emergencies. When I make sure that this minister is about to start I will try to see that he has instructions to favour the cause of the most serene republic. I shall consider it my duty to act thus even if he goes before definite orders reach me. He is the more likely to be going because the state supplies him with nothing but his title, the Company finding all the rest, including the punctual satisfaction of all his assignments. But the recent disturbances may lead to delay, which I shall welcome as it will allow time for instructions to reach me.
The Protector is steadily endeavouring to purge the kingdom of turbulent spirits, and principally to pull up the roots that are likely to produce fresh disturbances. He has taken part personally in the examination of the chief prisoners brought here. Most of them deny having taken up arms for the king, asserting that they did so solely for the defence and recovery of their lost liberties. Being thus sufficiently enlightened about the conspiracy the Protector has had some of those examined taken away to various strong places in the kingdom under strong cavalry escorts, without proceeding to punish them further for the present. This incident causes the good fortune of Cromwell to be more and more admired which raises him higher still at the very moment when his fall was expected, and which still favours instead of abandoning him despite the numerous discontents and his many enemies, so that he may serve as a scourge to an ill advised and worse conducted people in their late opinions and resolutions. It was known that the late revolt was to take place in concert in several parts of the country and here as well. When the moment to act arrived this unity broke down, and the help which one district was to afford to another was not ready. So at the very birth of the movement its promoters had to see it die, and the Protector found it easy to reduce them and it encouraged him to establish his rule more firmly than before. I have heard that the Protector has a list of over 1,000 names of persons connected with the rising, who will be debased and ruined for ever by the forfeiture of their goods. So the Protector's good fortune and his dominant watchfulness have enabled him to make them pay dear for nothing more than disaffection, though they will suffer as much as if they had actually done something.
We shall soon know the fate of the negotiations with France, but as the treaty contains numerous articles of great importance, fresh hitches and difficulties arise every time it is taken up. It seems that the English, in addition to their high demands, want an express declaration that neither country shall encourage or assist rebels, and in case the French Hugenots make some move for which the king calls them rebels they should not accuse the English of deserting them as rebels (non intenderiano gl'Inglesi mancar loro come ribelli), because they certainly have not refrained from appealing covertly to his Highness on every occasion, and he apparently has not been disposed to abandon them. If there was nothing more difficult to settle than this an adjustment might be reached. As an express reached M. de Bordeaux yesterday with despatches from the king the issue of the negotiations is expected. One hears the most contradictory opinions, but the business has lasted such a time and the season is so advanced that the affair cannot be prolonged much more.
Meanwhile they do not relax their arrangements for providing new ships. Only yesterday His Highness's galleon was launched in the presence of his entire household and his chief councillor. It has been built regardless of cost, of marvellously rich construction, carrying 120 guns great and small and costing 150,000l. sterling. (fn. 11) Orders have been issued to begin another like it, (fn. 12) as England now claims to be more powerful at sea than any other power, and more abundant in war ships, as the Protector fully realises that great strength at sea may support him on land also, and bring him friendship and repute in every part of the world as it actually is doing.
The Resident extraordinary of Denmark, confirmed as ordinary, recently had audience, and so did an agent of Sweden a few days later. (fn. 13) Both have paid their respects to the other foreign ministers, including myself, and I have responded.
I must add that in matters of debt the law here admits of procedure against any one, even the king himself, when there is one. The day before yesterday a courier of the French ambassador was taken to prison because of a brawl and M. de Barriére, agent of the Prince of Condé, has been threatened with arrest for debt, and would have been had not the Catholic ambassador answered for him. I therefore beg the more earnestly for supplies as soon as possible to repay what I owe.
Acknowledges letter of the 17th inst., with particulars.about the ship Anna Bonaventura. Encloses accounts for March.
London, the 24th April, 1655.
[Italian, the part in italics deciphered.]
April 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
63. Andrea Rosso, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses an account of General Blach's action in Porto Farina, which has not yet been printed for lack of time.
Naples, the 27th April, 1655.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.64. True and particular account of the signal victory won by the English fleet against nine vessels of the Turks on the coast of Barbary, set forth by Pietro Paolo Orlandini.
[Italian; 3 pages.]
April 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zante.
Venetian
Archives.
65. Marc Antonio Pasqualigo, Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Forwards particulars learned from an English ship. The English consul immediately sent the news to the Morea and thence Constantinople to his ambassador about this engagement so that he might be able to prevent any steps being taken either against his person or against their traders in that place.
Zante, the 28th April, 1655, new style.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.66. Deposition of Richard Nan, of London, supercargo of the ship Merchant Delight.
Left London with 30 ships, all merchantmen, bound to different parts. Voyage to Barbary for the disposal of a considerable quantity of cloth and other things. Found the English fleet there, of 25 vessels, with ten others in company. The General attacked Tunis on the refusal of his demands. A chiaus there from Constantinople was sent to ask for naval assistance, but, from what he heard, they are so intimidated by what happened there that it is certain they will not succeed in getting any. It is stated that there were 35 vessels of high board among those burned. The rest are at present at Algiers and Tripoli. The English fleet had sailed for Algiers. When the General demanded the slaves the second time he was told that the wrong had been done to the Sultan and not to them and he must go to Constantinople to ask and present his demands. Owing to this affair their goods were not disposed of and it was for this reason that they sailed for Smyrna. The English commander is General Blach.
[Italian.]
April 30.
Senato,
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
67. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the ambassador in France. (fn. 14)
The most solemn feast days, on which the people of this city are accustomed to enjoy great liberty and when, in consequence, there are usually large gatherings in several quarters, are at present being celebrated in large measure by the military. Thus last Sunday, (fn. 15) celebrated here as Easter, companies of horse and foot in greater force than usual, were marched through the city as a warning to the people to be obedient and to render the forces and commands of his Highness more respected and to restrain the people from rash action at the instigation of false and licentious libels, which would involve the utter destruction of any who should remember them merely, let alone act upon them. By such measures the Protector maintains his seat and keeps the malcontents in check, both within and without this city.
They are still arresting those against whom there is the least shadow of suspicion and his Highness is securing judgment against those who are in the hands of his forces outside. This very day news came that the commissioners sent to Salisbury have condemned to death 14 of the most guilty, for high treason and felony. This will serve as an example to others and as an inducement to live at peace and avoid conspiracies against the present autocratic rule. A great deal has already been confiscated to the state and some of the best of it placed at the disposal of his Highness, who, now the sentences have been pronounced, may possibly show pity in some cases. Yet in spite of the failure of the past conspiracies, the loss of property by some and the death penalty on others there are always some who are plotting to overthrow Cromwell adopting such means as may be approved by the nation when they are just and potent and serve reasonably to discredit him in his present state (assistiti in ogni caso et ragionevolmente discreditarlo nel presente suo posto.)
It is stated on good authority that some of the leading members of past parliaments who are in their country houses, boldly refused to pay a penny more when the collectors came for the ordinary taxes and those imposed by order of his Highness, leaving the officers free to use force against them and to seize their goods, so that they might be able to speak freely afterwards and to put the Protector more in the wrong and make him more odious, since it is contrary to the constitution of the kingdom to levy money of the people except by authority of parliament and the Protector is doing it more and more at his sole caprice. The more this point is considered the better it would be received and if need be justified (punto che quanto piu considerato tanto maggiormente potrebb' esser ben inteso et all'occasione diffeso) and this gives the Protector just cause for apprehension.
I gather that he is contemplating some expedient whereby he will not be made the source of all the imposts and that the imposition of them may support his credit and authority better. I have been told in confidence that he thinks of choosing some 60 persons whom he trusts, to have the direction of the government and the duty of providing money and imposing taxes, with the consent of his Highness, such as may be considered adapted to the time and the requirements. In such case the Protector would withdraw entirely to the side of the army (dalla parte dell' armata) and to its superintendence, knowing full well that it will always be the support for all measures of importance and the prop and defence of the chief command. No decision has yet been made and it is only a project in his Highness's brain, so it may never be realised. If not something else may be devised, as with the pressing need for money with the heavy expenses of the state the Protector will certainly not want to be considered as the sole author of the burdens on the people, who resent too bitterly the little they pay up to the present.
No certain news has come of General Pen's fleet. It is known to be well supplied with troops and everything necessary for a landing and the capture of some passage or port such as Havana or a place in Hispaniola, so definite news is awaited. It is asserted more and more positively that the chief object of this squadron was to intercept the galleons of the Plate fleet, and failing these to push well on into the Indies going as far as the city of Mexico, the object being to take up a position enabling them to speak to all the ships whether outward or homeward bound. Although the Catholic ambassador here tries his hardest to mollify the Protector, his Highness has not been able to refuse the petition of the creditor merchants (fn. 16) and write to that king letters which are more of a threat than a request. He has done so and it seems that a large sum of ready money has been placed at the disposal of the Catholic ambassador to use in satisfying in part the oldest and most important of the creditor merchants.
Everyone is expecting the adjustment with France, though amazed at the long delay over a decision. It seems that the courier sent to M. de Bordeaux has to be sent back again so that the matter may be thoroughly thrashed out. In their long protracted course neither side has shown lack of precaution and naval preparations have always been pushed with increasing energy.
Yesterday evening they buried the body of the duke of Richmond, one of the greatest and most distinguished noblemen left in the kingdom, of the blood royal and a true cousin of King James. (fn. 17) He bore arms on the king's side in the late civil war. He afterwards compounded with the parliament but had to witness the death of King Charles, and his grief at this was so intense that he never enjoyed perfect health from that time, and it undoubtedly shortened his days. The government will not regret his loss because of this royal connection and so it will be with the nobles who remain and with all those who may be connected by blood or loyalty with the cause of the present king, which is in a more sorry plight than ever since the collapse of the plots in his favour.
My condition is becoming increasingly difficult and I am running further into debt, so that I do not know what to do to support myself here with honour. But I put obedience before every other consideration and hope that I shall not be abandoned by your Excellency.
London, the 30th April, 1655.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 20th April.
2 Francesco Ferreira Rebello.
3 M. de Bye. On tho 26th March he asked audience of the Protector, after having waited 17 days. Thurloe: State Papers, iii., page 303.
4 The review and the fire happened on Tuesday, 30th March n.s. The fire was in Threadneedle Street and spread almost to Bishopsgate Street. Salvetti says over 20 merchant houses were burned. He estimated the loss at 200,000l. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 O, ff. 406, 407. Perfect Proceedings of State Affairs, 22–29 March.
5 Charles was said to be at Telingen, but this was denied by the princess. Thurloe: State Papers, iii., page 293.
6 Enclosed in Sagredo's despatch of the 20th April.
7 Printed in Whitelocke: Memorials, ed. Oxford, 1853, vol. iv., pages 183–7. The address of Major Wildman, written on 10 February, 1655.
8 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 20th April.
9 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 4th May.
10 The Domestic Calendar contains a petition of the Levant Co. of 25 April for the approbation of Major Salway as ambassador. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655, page 141. This must be misdated as Salway obtained a dispensation from going as ambassador on 8 February o.s. and on 8 March o.s. William Garway was chosen in his stead. Levant Co. Court Book, ff. 236, 244. S.P. For. Achivers. Vol. 151. The election of Garway is also mentioned by Salvetti. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27902. O f. 413.
11 See note at page 36 above. The Naseby was launched on the 12/22 April. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655, page 402.
12 Probably the Richard built like the Naseby by Christopher Pett at Woolwich and launched in 1658. but its gross tonnage was 101 tons less and it carried 10 less guns than the. Naseby. Oppenheim: Administration of the Royal Navy, pp. 336–7.
13 Peter Julius Coyet, who landed in England on 17/27 March.
14 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 4th May.
15 April 15/25.
16 The sons and executors of Sir Peter Richaut, Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655, pages 32–3.
17 The duke of Richmond died on the 8th April N.S. and was buried in Westminster Abbey on the 28th April N.S. Thurloe: State Papers iii., page 312. G. E. C. Complete Peerage.


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