Venice
August 1655

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1930

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88-101

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'Venice: August 1655', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 30: 1655-1656 (1930), pp. 88-101. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89810 Date accessed: 27 August 2014.


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August 1655

Aug. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
118. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
Since the proclamation expelling the royalists from this city, diligent search has been made to discover those who have not obeyed or have contrived to remain under some pretext. But the search has had little result as almost all have obeyed, owing to the severity of the proclamation and to fear of worse, and have gone to various parts of the kingdom. Although there has been a great outcry because of the injury done to many individuals, the Protector does not allow himself to be moved and has observed with satisfaction the obedience rendered to him and the further confirmation of his authority. It is true that his Highness has granted permission to remain here to some of these royalists who have petitioned him, but on condition of finding a surety who will answer for them and promise that they will never do anything against the present government, on the express understanding that in case of a breach of this undertaking, the pledges shall answer for the principals and appear when summoned by his Highness. So this way only ensures greater quiet and security for the Protector.
The Protector has regretted to hear that the contributions of some of the parishes here and of the counties do not correspond with his zeal to help the Protestants, so he has renewed the appeal in order to stir the fervour of Christians for a Christian cause. He has had a new appeal printed here and sent into the provinces so that the preachers charged with the collection may induce the people to give all they can afford. But there is always the suspicion that under the veil of religion there is cloaked some other special affair of state, either on land or on sea.
The reports of an approaching adjustment with France are reviving, and that the treaty is about to be ratified by both sides. A long conference of M. de Bordeaux with the Protector recently is considered a good omen, and even better the decision of his Highness to suspend some letters of marque on the 1st August next, in their style. (fn. 2) So good progress is looked for, followed by a successful conclusion.
No further news has come from the fleets. There is a report from the West Indies that they have left Hispaniola and have gone to land near the passage of Nombre de Dios, on the continent, to threaten both New Spain and Peru by stopping the silver, which is collected and then laded on galleons. But this is not entirely credited here; but it is quite likely that the fleet of Pen and that of Blach as well will be used by the English to capture the gold and silver coming from the Indies, before everything else.
News has just come of the arrival at Gravesend of the Swedish ambassador extraordinary, (fn. 3) so that he should make his public entry here in a few days. Your Excellency is also expected generally here and a high opinion is expressed of your qualities and endowments.
Asks for consideration of his position so that he may be able to discharge the debts contracted for his subsistence.
London, the 1st August, 1655.
[Italian.]
Aug. 3.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
119.Giovanni Sagredo, Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
If the sum received from the treasurer had enabled me to proceed to England, I should not have waited an instant. In my position here I have exhausted all my resources, and the burden has surpassed my strength. As regards the English embassy, before my first audience of the Protector the five items of my journey, liveries, coaches, horses and house rent will each cost me more than 1,500 crowns, so that the donation does not suffice for one of them. Paulucci has reported the splendour shown by the ambassadors extraordinary in London, and my being the first Venetian ambassador since the change of government compels me to consider the dignity of the state. These facts are self evident and so I again beseech the Signory to release me from this burden, which I cannot support, as I have no longer the credit to contract debts nor the means of obtaining my arrears from the state, although they were promised in several letters, including the very one which accompanied my commission and the letter for the Protector Cromwell.
Scioni, the 3rd August, 1655.
[Italian.]
Aug. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
120. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English fleet is still occupying its usual position off the kingdom of Algarbe and the whole coast of Portugal supplies abundant provisions to General Blach. The departure of six ships for London is confirmed, four in a sinking condition and the other two full of sick.
It is stated that General Monte Alegro at Cartagena of the Indies was arming three powerful galleons to unite with four others of the fleet, a clear sign that on the continent they knew of the arrival of Pen's fleet and that the Spaniards are not venturing to risk the voyage.
When the king saw the count of Pegnoranda he told him that his paper was not working out right and asked him if he was still of opinion that Cromwell would not attack Spain. The count replied that one who had violated his word to God might easily break it to a king. His Majesty gave some expression to his displeasure at so sharp and severe an answer, but one gets from a vessel the liquor that it contains.
Madrid, the 7th August, 1655.
[Italian.]
Aug. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zurigo.
Venetian
Archives.
121. Antonio di Negri, Venetian Resident at Zurich, to the Doge and Senate.
The four ambassadors of the Evangelical Cantons have reached Turin, but have not yet had audience of the Duke. The English deputy is waiting for fresh orders from the Protector on the subject; but it is believed that everything will be settled at the Court of France, and the last letters of the ambassadors to my lords here say as much.
After passing a few days at Cologne with the Landgrave Frederick of Nassau, to confer with the king of England, Prince Rupert has returned to Heidelberg. Many officers have offered him service, but he scarcely troubles himself any more about the levy of Modena, because of the past offence, although other offers and inducements have been held out to him on behalf of the Duke. (fn. 4)
Zurich, the 7th August, 1655.
[Italian.]
Aug. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
122. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Giovanni Sagredo, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 5)
I have your Excellency's letters of the 28th ult. and will inform the Levant Company of the decision of the state and its friendly disposition towards them. I hope that this will satisfy them and render them more disposed than ever to serve the Signory.
Nothing has yet been decided upon the great number of persons arrested by order of his Highness, although something definite was expected this week. The arrests were made on mere suspicion, more particularly of the Swedish forces, which the Protector feared might have been assembled through an understanding between the late queen of Sweden and the king of England, whose visit to Flanders was believed here to have been made for the purpose of conferring together to prepare some great stroke through an understanding with the malcontents here. It was done in order to upset any possible plot and chiefly to show the leading men of England that their entire state and fortune were dependent on the Protector's will alone. Now with the march of the Swedish forces in another direction, and a better understanding with Sweden and the appearance of an ambassador extraordinary, all the shadows are dissipated and it is believed that the condition of these prisoners will be alleviated, according to the autocratic decision of his Highness.
On hearing of the arrival in the Thames of a ship from Barbados with letters from the governor, his Highness sent an express for them, and they were delivered to him and imparted to the Council. Their contents have not realised expectation. They report a disaster to the troops landed by General Pen in Hispaniola, or somewhere else, on the continent. Desiring to push into the country and expecting the same ease as on landing, the English were encountered by a large force of Spaniards and islanders, thrown into disorder and defeated, many being slain. Although this reverse is made as little of as possible, the news is of importance to the Protector because the great distance does not admit of the prompt reinforcements that are required, the captains, troops and sailors may be afraid to venture on any further enterprise and all their great plans may fall through. This might not be an unmixed evil for Christendom and the Catholic faith but it would be a serious blow at the prestige and authority of the Protector, because if his plans fail and the fleet achieves no conquests, a great outcry will undoubtedly be aroused and Cromwell will find great difficulty in satisfying the claims made by the numerous persons interested in the service of the fleet.
No doubt after this unfavourable news General Blach will receive fresh orders to keep closely on the track of the galleons expected at Cadiz or some other port of Spain with the silver from the Indies. If he succeeds in taking them it would afford good compensation to the English for their expenses and losses, and would encourage them in their designs. But if they do not get them, as seems likely, since the orders to the galleons have been countermanded from Spain, they would miss this, to the great relief of all the trading marts of Europe.
There is certainly a report that Blach has taken a ship in advance of the fleet with a considerable sum of money, as well as a Spanish ship with a valuable cargo, valuable prizes, but of no consideration compared with the galleons of the Indies which they want.
As regards the peace with France matters remain as they were. The articles are all ready for ratification but it has not yet taken place, though many believe that it has been all arranged in secret with the Protector and that this long delay in ratifying and making a public announcement may be intentional.
We hear that the Protector proposes to send some one in his confidence with some commissions to France and then on through Savoy to Venice. I will try to find out more.
The entry of the Swedish ambassador extraordinary has been postponed from day to day because of the damage done by a storm at sea to the preparations made by him for this public appearance. The Protector has sent to Gravesend to pay his respects, and next Saturday the ambassador will make his public entry.
Requests the provision necessary for his support. This is due to him for seven months and he is debtor for that time in England.
London, the 8th August, 1655.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
123. To Giovanni Sagredo, Ambassador designate to England.
We hope to hear that you have set out. News has reached us that Cromwell has suddenly withdrawn the English consul from Cadiz and that at Naples all the English are hurriedly trying to get their goods away. You will try and find out what is at the bottom of this and what the motives may be.
Ayes, 126. Noes, 2. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Aug. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Archives.
124. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
General Blach with 22 ships of war sailed into the waters of Cadiz. He sent forward a great ship named the Government to within range of the fort Santa Caterina, where he could easily discern the armament of the Spaniards, where he made a signal and immediately two English ships came out which were lading salt at the quay. On the appearance of the fleet all the citizens seized their arms and every one took up his position for the defence of the walls and made ready the guns. On the following day Blach put out to sea, He sent three vessels to the coast of Africa towards the Strait while he himself returned to his customary watch between Capes St. Vincent and Santa Maria.
Meanwhile the sea is closed and the trade of the important port of Cadiz is stopped. The customs suffer most severely from this change, although the king has not suffered any prejudice so far because he has pledged them for several years. General Contreras is hastening the armament. It is said that he will go out in a few days and place himself in the neighbourhood of the English craft. The decision, however, is one that calls for consideration and we shall wait to see the moves and the pretext of these arms.
Madrid, the 14th August, 1655.
[Italian.]
Aug. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
125. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Francesco Giustinian, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 6)
On Friday last the Swedish ambassador informed all the foreign ministers of his public entry on the following day. Accordingly I attended it, following the example of the others. On the Tuesday following he had his public audience, to which he was conducted in the coaches of his Highness. Thirty other coaches followed, and it is noticed that on these occasions the procession grows less and less. Only the confidants of the Protector and the present government take part, since the few remaining noblemen in England who are able will not go, in view of the unjust violence shown to men of their rank, and the imprisonment of their persons, all intended to reduce them to utter weakness if not to exterminate them.
The Protector received the ambassador with every mark of honour, who offered the congratulations of his king with the most lively expressions of friendship. At the end he asked his Highness for a special audience at an early date to discuss the needs of the religion, upon which his king would never rest satisfied without some proper decision being taken for its defence and protection against violence and oppression. It thus becomes clear that this is one of the chief items of his instructions, and unquestionably the Protector will take up any plans and resolutions for the benefit of his own faith.
For this same cause another person has been sent to the duke of Savoy. (fn. 7) I am told on good authority that his chief object is for some settlement to be arranged in the disputes with the poor Protestants of those valleys. The Protector is apparently most anxious that everything shall be made right perhaps because, after sending them in this way a considerable sum of money, he may be relieved of his obligation and have at his entire disposal the rest of the 200,000l. sterling collected in the kingdom for the sole purpose of relieving the distressed Christians. But it is also true that if the differences are not settled after the example of the Swiss Protestants and other princes of the same faith, the Protector would be invited and practically compelled to render the promised assistance.
It is also said that this affair is what is delaying the ratification of the adjustment with France. Here they would like France to prove more satisfactorily the sincerity of her protestation that she had no part in what happened to the Protestants in the valleys of Savoy. The question has importance here as being aimed against the Catholic faith. Help in money is considered a virtue and it may be given with arms also, indications from several quarters pointing that way, and this may be emphasised if the matter is not soon settled.
Private and official letters confirm the reverse in Hispaniola. It is to be hoped that this will check the vast and audacious designs of this state. The numerous accounts agree that they landed 3,000 men and some sailors. After the latter, in small boats brought for the purpose, had reached a certain shore and landed, the Spaniards and savages allowed the English to push well forward and then cut off their retreat, attacking them with arrows and other arms of offence used in the country, so that when the Spaniards arrived with firearms they threw them into complete disorder and slew several. But the main body of the English, seeing no escape, surrendered at discretion. After hearing this the fleet left the island, so the governor of Barbados writes, but it is not known for certain where it has gone.
At such a distance and with so many passions and interests involved it is impossible to believe everything that is said, but the English are certainly puzzled and humbled and have undoubtedly been worsted. At present the Protector is universally condemned for having sent the greater part of the naval forces to such a distance in such a climate, and further for having deceived and repaid with ingratitude the first recognition and the constant demonstrations of esteem made by his Catholic Majesty to the new government of England and to the Protector personally. I may add there are more here who rejoice than are sorry over this disaster to the fleet and the English forces, and who would like to see the Spaniards resent the attack as it deserves, as though it has failed, fortunately perhaps for the Catholic faith, there is no doubt about the bad faith and ill will shown here against the Catholic's dominions.
News has reached the Protector from General Blach's squadron that they were about to leave Cape S. Vincent after the governor of Cadiz had refused to grant them a port or important town for repairs and refitting. It is said that Blach expresses his disgust at the treatment received from the Spaniards, on several counts, and that he has sailed towards Portugal in complete confidence that he can himself make good in all emergencies. It is further stated that when the news of the approach of the English fleet, the king forestalled General Blach by sending a ship with refreshments of every kind for his squadron and the offer of everything that it might require, as a token of his Majesty's sincere regard for the Protector of England. They are now waiting for further authentic news about the movements and further intentions of this fleet.
Last Saturday the Protector sent off with an honourable suite an Agent who is to reside for him in Sweden until further order, (fn. 8) through whom he proposes to obtain authentic information about the enterprises and projects of the naval and military forces of that country.
It seems that in Scotland and Ireland the remains of the forces against the government are being reduced to impotence and every day some of their leaders accept the terms offered to them by the commanders of the Protector's forces.
News has come from Ireland of the safe arrival there of the Protector's son, (fn. 9) who was received by all ranks of the city with every mark of respect and obedience, in short such as are shown to an absolute ruler.
I have tried to obtain information about what they intend here with respect to the goods of Alexandria and Syria, and with the Genoese for the Levant trade. So far I have learned nothing definite worth recording but if I find out anything I will report it promptly.
Again asks for supplies for his maintenance, while he is a waiting the arrival of the Ambassador Sagredo.
London, the 15th August, 1655.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
126. Andrea Rosso, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
The English traders here stand booted and spurred, in a manner of speaking, waiting for orders from the Protector Cromwell to go away.
Naples, the 17th August, 1655.
[Italian.]
Aug. 21.
Senato,
Mar.
Venetian
Archives.
127. To the Proveditore General Inquisitor of the Islands in the Levant.
The English consul John Obson has been in the Collegio and represented that the merchants of the Levant Company, who monopolise the currant trade of Zante and Cephalonia, had since the year 1651 assigned to him half a lira per thousand exported from the islands on account of the Company. He asked that this half lira might be deducted in the chamber on the payments made from time to time on account of the new impost.
As we wish to satisfy him we desire you to give orders for this to be done, but so that the money does not pass through the chamber, and you will direct those who have to deal with the matter to see that favour is shown to his agents, so that in the event of the merchants raising difficulties you will know what is proper to be done in accordance with justice and reason. We shall await your acknowledgment of the receipt of these presents.
Ayes, 77. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
The like, mutatis mutandis, to the Proveditori of Zante and Cephalonia.
[Italian.]
Aug. 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
128. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I enclose the copy of a letter from Cromwell to the king which was presented a fortnight ago. General Blach has returned again in sight of Cadiz and sent forward two frigates to the mouth of the port which took minute observations of the Spanish fleet. At the same time a large vessel of 60 bronze guns reached him with drafts of troops and fresh supplies of munitions of war. (fn. 10) He had sent his admiral into the port of Faro to be repaired as they could not keep the water under with the ordinary pumps. On the appearance of 24 Dutch vessels the English set themselves in battle array, prepared themselves for a fight and began to offer their prayers to God, as they believed them to be the galleons of the fleet. When Blach subsequently had a conference with the Dutch general he said to him in a scornful manner that he was waiting for the fleet in those waters as well as for a small squadron of merchantmen which was being equipped at Cadiz.
Everyone is looking for the sailing of this force which certainly cannot be long delayed since Contreras has positive instructions to proceed to within sight of the English fleet and uphold the flag, because it is in Spanish waters, according to the agreement, although the English pretend that they are in Portuguese waters where the king of Castile can claim no jurisdiction, and that these differences between them must be settled by the mouth of the guns. If the Spaniards are provoked they will fight; if the English withdraw they will be followed as far as the Terzere islands, a place where it is morally possible for them to meet the fleet. They are not to use acts of hostility against the Turkish corsairs, except in case of aggression, so as not to afford the slightest advantage to the English fleet by such a complication.
Madrid, the 21st August, 1655.
Postcript:—News has just arrived that the Spanish fleet has sailed out of Cadiz, 28 sail strong with four fire ships.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.129. Letter of the Protector Cromwell to Philip IV, king of Spain.
Demands satisfaction for the debts due to Peter Richaut, knight.
Dated in our Court at Westminster, the 30th April, 1655, old style.
[Italian, from the English: 6 pages.]
Aug. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
130. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Francesco Giustinian, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 11)
I have paid my respects to the ambassador extraordinary of Sweden, claiming equality with any other foreign minister. After an exchange of compliments he told me that several Venetian nobles had been received at the Court of his master, and he hoped they were satisfied with their reception, as he had no doubt some of his countrymen would be, who were visiting Venice from curiosity. I congratulated him on the reported victory or rather conquest of the Swedish army against the king of Poland. He told me it was so great that he would not have dared to believe it had it not been confirmed by the king's own letters. He showed me these and the terms of capitulation for the surrender of two large provinces, of Losnania and Calissa. The ambassador said he hoped this would be the prelude to further successes, and I gathered from his talk that the Swedes mean to press their good fortune against Poland but with their eyes fixed on the empire, as this minister went on to say that if his king should happen some day to look upon a Protestant emperor, the present state of affairs in the world would be changed indeed, and the Ottoman empire would certainly be subdued. This is looking far ahead and it will stir all Christendom with a terror like that caused many years ago by King Gustavus. With their strong naval and military forces and their good understanding and alliance with, this slate they make themselves more formidable and in consequence merit the more consideration. I may add that in the disorder of the affairs of the Catholic in every direction, and particularly in the Indies, while the great forces of the two crowns face each other and they court this country, and with the lack of union and understanding among Catholic princes, the heretics here talk boastfully and hope, if God wills, to extirpate popish inventions and idolatry, as they call the true Roman Catholic faith, from human beliefs. It is not for me to say more, and the more the true religion is threatened the stronger will be its defence.
The reverse in Hispaniola being verified, the remaining troops and sailors were taken on board the fleet. Favoured by a guide and a fair wind, they sailed full of thoughts of revenge, to the island of Jamaica, a short distance from the other. At the very first they found a suitable harbour which the English entered and landed at once, meeting with no resistance. Taking possession of a large town called S. Diego della Vogga they proceeded to make themselves masters of the whole island, the islanders fleeing instead of resisting. So the English have captured an island and a position equal in importance to Hispaniola. They have found there an enormous quantity of provisions and refreshments of every kind. The island is reported to be most fertile with quantities of fruit, abundance of horses and wild oxen and other animals while it contains some mines of silver and tin. The Spaniards have never cared to work them, because, it is said, they did not wish to tempt other nations to take them. This news has arrived by an express from Gen. Pen, and coming after that of the reverse it has done much to restore the courage of the Protector, his Council and the whole nation, with the hope of further conquests in that quarter, including the capture, or at least the stopping of the usual gold and silver fleets. But some who do not deny this conquest maintain that this fleet has been seriously injured and reduced and it will not be easy for it to ensure its own subsistence. It is true that it may be greatly restored and invigorated by the arrival of the reinforcement of 12 large ships, sent to them as I reported, and they will not neglect to give them strong support from this end.
A ship has arrived in the Thames from General Blach bringing, among other things 6 magnificent Barbary horses for his Highness. It reports that after some sickness among the crews the fleet is in good order, and they are now off the coast of Portugal, repairing the ships that need it most and receiving the most prompt and friendly treatment in all that they require by order of the king.
The Swedish ambassador extraordinary has soon had a second secret audience of the Protector. I have not yet succeeded in finding out its object but it seems likely that it concerned the help desired by that king for the Protestant faith.
Acknowledges receipt of letters of the 11th inst. which came without supplies for his daily needs. Begs for consideration.
London, the 22nd August, 1655.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
131. Andrea Rosso, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
A ship has come from London laden with cloth for the English merchants here. They are trying to sell it in exchange for silk goods with the Neapolitans since the Florentines have orders not to trade with them.
Naples, the 24th August, 1655.
[Italian.]
Aug. 27.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archive
132. I, Bernardi Marconi went to the house of the French ambassador and read him the Senate's deliberation of last Saturday. He promised to report it to his Court. He went on to speak of the affairs of Lombardy and then asked me what title your Serenity gave Cromwell. I said I did not know. He remarked that he thought it would be “Most Serene” as the king had agreed to recognise his pretensions and call him “Most dear Brother.”
[Italian.]
Aug. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
133. To Giovanni Sagredo, Ambassador designate to England.
Notification of payment to his agents of a solatium for the ambassador extraordinary in London, equivalent to four months' Pay in advance. This should help to hasten his journey to England.
Ayes, 118. Noes, 2. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Aug. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
134. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish fleet has sailed from Cadiz of 32 galleons accompanied by 25 barques, carrying over 100 soldiers each, the ships being provisioned for one month.
The more private instructions which General Blach holds from the Protector Cromwell are that England does not intend to break the peace in the Indies or to declare war either by any capture that General Pen may make in the ports and islands of the Catholic king; because the Spaniards have always observed the same course themselves, driving the English out of the islands of St. Christopher, Tortuga and St. Martin, and demolishing the fortifications they have erected. Spanish ships going to Spain from the North and East Blach is to protect and allow to pass freely to Cadiz, but those which come from the Indies he is to capture and to fight without any consideration.
Three Genoese ships of war have been turned back by General Blach, and the Governor Veneroso submitted. Meanwhile they are offering prayers in the royal chapel to implore the Almighty to aid the royal forces.
Madrid, the 28th August, 1655.
[Italian.]
Aug. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zurigo.
Venetian
Archives.
135. Antonio Di Negri, Venetian Resident at Zurich, to the Doge and Senate.
It is announced that two other deputies extraordinary of England and Holland are about to arrive in these parts because of the differences between the Protestants of Piedmont and the Duke of Savoy, and that they have orders to speak decisively about compensation for the injury done to the former and security for the future.
Zurich, the 28th August, 1655.
[Italian.]
Aug. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
136. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Francesco Giustinian, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 12)
Reports are circulated, and the public prints announce it, all for the purpose of preparing the people for a change, about the invitation that the leading bodies of this city are to make for the following articles, viz: that the Protector shall assume a higher title for the better execution of the laws to reform them at need, to order public sales, to constitute the three nations, England, Scotland and Ireland into a single body politic, without distinction one from the other, subject to the same laws and to whatever else may be instituted for the benefit of the people, and finally that persons well affected to the state and to the present government may be selected in good time for the summoning of a parliament capable of establishing the interests of the three nations upon a basis of love, justice and equity. Although published these things are believed to be a device of the Protector and his Council, not with the intention to carry them into effect, but to encourage the people with hope of something better, and particularly of a parliament. It seems unlikely that for any needs of the kingdom, the reform of the laws or anything that requires the summoning of a parliament before the fixed period of two years, the Protector will ever take the step willingly, to avoid exposing his present absolute authority to the uncertainty and to the caprice of others. So the announcement has other recondite ends, but before these are made known they will be thoroughly matured by the Protector's keen intellect though some important measure is expected soon affecting the freer exercise of his supreme authority.
These last days the Protector has been engaged in long secret conferences upon these very questions, upon the great numbers of prisoners of rank, upon the provisioning and reinforcing of the fleets, upon the army and the question of reducing its numbers. It is known that many arguments were adduced and much opposition encountered, but we do not hear that anything definite was decided.
The ambassador extraordinary of Sweden makes progress daily in the confidence of the Protector and in his negotiations. On Saturday he accompanied his Highness to Hampton Court, where he was treated with the utmost consideration and had ample opportunities for discussing the affair committed to him and new instructions from his king, whose successes against Poland make the Protector and all this state more ready to listen. Since the ratification of the peace, a defensive and offensive alliance and the advancement of the Protestant faith, of which that king has openly announced himself the champion, are matters of common discussion here.
Since the arrival of this Swedish ambassador and after his secret audiences, the Dutch seem to have become very jealous, fearing that secret arrangements may result to their serious prejudice. It is they who dominate the traffic and trade in the Baltic sea, and they are afraid that the naval forces of Sweden with support from here may succeed is shutting them out. And it is not unlikely that after their successes on land the Swedes may desire to try their fortune at sea also, and to make themselves masters of the Baltic as the English claim to be of the Ocean. It also seems likely that with the change of government here and its rise to such a height of prestige and strength, particularly at sea, it will be a definite policy for England to discredit the States of Holland more and more and reduce them to dependence, especially with the jealousy caused by the alliance between the Houses of Orange and Stuart. Though the single province of Holland, the most important of all and most inclined to shut out the House of Orange, might remain in their confidence here, always treated with consideration and capableof obtaining advantages and privileges for the others if they wish it. We shall soon have more light on matters which greatly concern the whole of Christendom.
All is quiet over the adjustment with France. It seems that the interests of the Protestants in the valleys of Savoy and the great designs in America, whether they are realised or not require as a matter of state interest that even if all the articles are accepted they shall not be ratified or published. The Protector takes this course for his own advantage, and he may do so with the full knowledge and connivance of the French Court, to finish the rest of the campaign in quiet.
There is no further news of the fleets except that 6 or 8 frigates from General Blach's, which was still off Portugal, have arrived in the Thames. (fn. 13) Whether they are some of the strongest, to go as a reinforcement to General Pen, or inferior ones to be replaced, it is certain that with these others are being got ready here for the reinforcement of either fleet. Moreover a number of merchantmen bought by this state from the Dutch since the late war are being fitted out and armed, without the least slackening in the building of others.
Again represents need of supplies.
London, the 29th August, 1655.
[Italian.]
Aug. 30.
Senato,
Secreta
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
137. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The adjustment of France with England is moving towards a conclusion. They have sent orders to MM. d'Alegres and Boussecate councillors of state and maitres de requêtes to proceed to London to take part with the Sieur de Bordeaux at the signing of the treaty.
I enclose Pauluzzi's despatch.
Scioni, the 30th August, 1655.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 3rd August.
2 By proclamation on July 11 no use was to be made of the letters of marque granted to private persons after August 1. Cal. S.P Dom. 1655, page 237.
3 Christian Bond. He arrived at Gravesend on 28 July. Bordeaux to Brienne on 29 July, P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
4 The ‘past offence’ seems to refer to his reconciliation with his nephew Charles in July, when Rupert promised to quit all engagements and to serve the king. Thurloe: State Papers iii., page 659. Rupert arrived at Cologne on Sunday 8–18 July. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655, page 235.
5 Forwarded with Sagredo's despatch of the 10th August.
6 Forwarded with Giustinian's despatch of the 17th August.
7 George Downing. He took letters of credence from Cromwell to Mazarin, dated 31 July o.s. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts.
8 Major Edward Rolt. He seems to have been selected early in June, and took the ratification of the treaty with Sweden. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655, pages 235, 606. His instructions, undated, are printed in Thurloe; State Papers iii., page 418.
9 He landed at Dublin on the 9–19 July.
10 Possibly the Assurance. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655, page 515; but she was only a 32 gun frigate, built in 1646. Oppenheim: Administration of the Royal Nacy, page 255.
11 Forwarded with Giustinian's despatch of the 24th August.
12 Forwarded with Guistinian's despatch of the 30th August.
13 Five ships were sent back by Blake in July, the Amity, Pearl, Mermaid, Fume (a prize), and Success. They were all in need of repair. Thurloe: State Papers iii., pages 612, 620; Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655, pages 510–1, 514, 544.