Venice
September 1655

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1930

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101-114

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'Venice: September 1655', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 30: 1655-1656 (1930), pp. 101-114. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89811 Date accessed: 16 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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September 1655

Sept. 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
138. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Francesco Giustinian, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 1)
Last Friday the Swedish ambassador extraordinary celebrated his king's great successes against Poland (fn. 2) with magnificent fireworks at his own house and on the river, with other devices for rejoicing. On the same day he entertained at a magnificent banquet all the foreign ministers here which I attended. I cannot adequately describe the delight here and the acclamations at these happy events. They are hopeful here that these successes will continue and that the Swedish arms will constitute the true and powerful shield and promoter of the Protestant faith, favoured by their friendship here and possibly by an alliance. One hears already that it is practically agreed to give the Swedes 6,000 English and 2,000 Scots, not to supply the king's need for troops but to make manifest to the world their unity and zeal for the defence of their faith. These troops can easily be taken in great part from the old regiments of both nations, as the Protector means to seize this opportunity to reduce the numbers of all the companies, purge them of old disaffected soldiers, especially of Anabaptists, and to replace them where he wishes with new troops more to his taste, hoping in this way to make himself more secure and to have a support for all eventualities.
It is true that the old soldiers, aware of this intention and greatly incensed by a reduction in their pay of 2d. a day for the infantry and 3d. for the cavalry, make a great outcry. This together with the recent arrest of some Anabaptist officers has led to the appearance of pamphlets lately containing the grievances of the Anabaptists against the Protector. They warn him not to become an apostate after swearing to their faith, charge him roundly with ingratitude for proposing to disband, ill use and contemn the Anabaptists, who used to be his delight and eager to serve him and the state with promises of great rewards, which are now being broken, doing them manifest wrong. The prints point out that the Protector has forgotten the offers he made and the height to which they have raised him, and indeed they may be said to have deceived themselves. English liberty was converted into obedience to the sole will of a Protector, and then to his successor; in fine they accuse Cromwell as a deceiver and promise breaker who thinks of nothing but himself. They warn him not to abandon old friends for new ones, against the wise worldly maxim, because in that case he may find he is the first to suffer and experience the ills and the exclusion which he is planning for others. This pamphlet was drawn up by the Anabaptists or by others in their name. It will certainly make an impression on his Highness and warn him to move with more deliberation in order not to give further offence to this strong party or to alienate the whole body of the army on which alone his rule depends.
They are at present busy in preparing reinforcements for the fleet in the West Indies. As affairs in Scotland render some of the troops available, his Highness has already sent there directing some to go to those parts. Many of experience here do not believe that the enterprise will turn out propitiously for the English, as was expected. Although the losses suffered at Hispaniola are concealed as much as possible, yet a letter has appeared from a husband to his wife reporting the loss as serious and that in Jamaica they are short of the most necessary things, such as bread, salt and meat, and although the island abounds in the last they can only have what they take by force. In a letter from a captain which I have seen he says that this is true, and if it were not for their poor families, which would not be able to subsist, they would have returned.

Although these views are not made public, they are known to the Protector and have forced him to think seriously of reinforcements and the provisions required to make that fleet permanently strong, always with the hope that if it establishes itself there it will make great conquests and among them succeed in capturing the gold and silver fleets for Spain. If this does not succeed it might result in a sudden change in the state of affairs here, through lack of money in particular. They hope that even if the Spanish galleons with the plate escape General Pen, they will not evade General Blach who is waiting for them off the coast of Spain, and he will certainly receive reinforcements from here and from Barbary, possibly with ships of the pirates of Algiers and Tunis.
Since the measures taken here against the Spanish dominion the Catholic ambassador has rather sought retirement, and is watching rather than negotiating, greatly indignant at Cromwell's ungrateful and deceitful conduct, upon which he expressed himself when I saw him recently on the occasion of a complimentary visit. He asked me after the Ambassador Sagredo and I told him that I was expecting him at any moment. He said no more except that he had the same experience as all the other foreign ministers here, namely, that self interest is the sole guide to the actions of this government. I made no reply except to say that if instead of going to the Indies the English had sailed to the Levant in defence of the Christian faith, they would have been loaded with glory, have found an easier task and possibly a more profitable one. The ambassador agreed and after a few compliments we parted.
I must again represent my need of money, as I do not know what to do. I have been forced to throw myself upon the Resident of Tuscany, who willingly lent me something. I hope that I shall be supplied with the means of leaving here honourably, with my salary and provision for the journey as well as to repay what I justly owe.
London, the 3rd September, 1655.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
139. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador to England, to the Doge and Senate.
With the remittances received from Venice the day before yesterday and other money squeezed from the dilapidated fortunes of my family, I decided to leave Paris at once for London, in obedience to your Serenity's repeated commands. I am favoured with the company of Signori Luigi Grimani, Gerolamo Gradenigo, Domenico Moresini, Polo Giustiniani, and Count Gambara, besides a considerable number of gentlemen of divers nations, forming a company worthy of the ambassador of any crowned head, whether ordinary or extraordinary at that Court. I feel sure that your Excellencies will allow me something in consideration of the sums I have advanced, as I am only anxious to support the dignity of the embassy, including a sumptuous livery and other preparations for the entry, which render assistance from the state more necessary and urgent for me than ever. Once this duty is fulfilled I hope that I may be allowed to return home conscious of having accomplished all that I possibly could, at the cost of imposing a burden on my house which I cannot live long enough to remove.
Pontoise, the 3rd September, 1655.
[Italian.]
Sept. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
140. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
In order of battle and with sentiments of the most determined valour the Spanish fleet sailed out to Capes St. Vincent and Santa Maria. The night before its arrival General Blach abandoned his usual positions. Everyone is agreed, although it is difficult to believe, that he has withdrawn to Cape Spartel. In this way he has thrown away his hopes of suprising and intercepting the galleons of the fleet and made it more difficult for the succours which Cromwell might send out to reach him. The fact is that there is no certain indication of the direction he has taken although a Dutch vessel reports having sighted him in the open sea off the island of Barlenga in the neighbourhood of Lisbon.
Yesterday news came from England fully confirming the ill success of General Pen at the island of Hispaniola. Further particulars are expected daily. The generality have received the news with the utmost satisfaction. The king, in conversation, expresses some amount of pleasure, but the government has its doubts and from the success of the encounter sees itself driven and committed to the unluckly declaration of a new war.
A small English frigate which was apparently making the most strenuous efforts to try and find Blach in these waters, was overhauled by the Spanish flagship; it appears that it was bringing orders to recall him to England.
In Biscay they are putting difficulties in the way of embarking wool for England, pretending to improve the business by the benefit of time.
With the Dutch they would like to have sincere friendship and intimately confidential relations. Urgent instructions have been forwarded to the Ambassador Gamarra at the Hague not without projects of an alliance and of revenge against England.
Madrid, the 4th September, 1655.
[Italian.]
Sept. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Proveditor
delle
Tre Isole.
Venetian
Archives.
141. The Proveditore General of the Three Islands, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received the state instructions of the 30th July about the claims of the London merchants. I sent a reply to the previous instructions, but it would seem this has been lost. I enclose a copy of the letter. I have written to the Rectors of Zante and Cephalonia to suspend the exaction of the two per thousand. I find from the accounts that various persons have recovered money from the chambers of Zante and Cephalonia, beyond what pertained to them by the account of John Brumhal, late agent of the said Company. I have compelled some of them to make restitution and will do the same with the others.
The total of the sums paid out to those who did not come to terms (non competivano) amounts to about 18,000 reals and only 16,000 are left in the chamber.
Corfu, the 4th September, 1655, new style.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.142. Copy of previous letter.
With regard to the paper presented by Obson in the Collegio I find that the charge of 2 reals the thousand on currants was imposed for the benefit of his claims against the said Company. It was not imposed in 1635 as Obson says, but at that time it was a question of getting possession of the currants, as the Company said they had been purchased contrary to orders by Thomas Simens and John Bromhal, their agents, and being of bad quality they were thrown into the sea; but the charge of 2 reals began from 1646.
It cannot be found how much is due for compensation and an enquiry was necessary, at which the Levant Company should be represented, but this is impossible as there is no authorised representative of the Company. Under the circumstances I decided that the 2 reals must be paid. But the imposition is resented not only by the English merchants but by others. But in the end the burden falls entirely upon the shoulders of the natives, as they are paid that much less for their currants, and they are compelled to sell at lower prices. So the action might benefit the latter more than the former, and whatever more might perchance come into those chambers might perhaps be used to satisfy the claims of the English or it may be done on some more effective basis with which the wisdom of the Signory may supply me.
Zante, the 5th February, 1654. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Sept. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zurigo.
Venetian
Archives.
143. Antonio di Negri, Venetian Resident at Zurich, to the Doge and Senate.
Colonel Pardi is constantly hanging about Prince Rupert to stimulate and solicit him about the levies granted for the service of Modane. He recently had orders from the Duke to make urgent representations to the Prince himself to proceed to the completion of this task, but the Prince disgusted over the promises made to him and then broken answered him in such a way that all the arrangements are shattered.
They are expecting the deputy of England to go to Turin, but he is first to take part in a congress with others at Geneva or some place near it.
Zurich, the 4th September, 1655.
[Italian.]
Sept. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
144. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Francesco Giustinian, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 3)
One day last week the Protector together with all his Council attended at devout prayers and triple sermons from the most able preachers, to invoke the Divine assistance for the present harvest which is all but ruined by the constant rainfall, and also in particular for the fleets. (fn. 4) It is contended here that this last is the chief cause for this function. It is known that if his Highness has not already repented of his action he is far from satisfied with the results achieved in America, so much below his hopes. To avoid discouraging the people he is trying to make out that the advantages are great by the continued occupation of the conquest made by the English fleet there. The Protector displays great steadfastness and a determination to support that enterprise with energy. To this end he is carefully superintending the equipment of new ships and other more necessary provisions for both fleets, and the more diligently since it is understood that the Spaniards are collecting and arming as strong a naval force as they can.
Nothing more has transpired about the negotiations of the Swedish ambassador, but it seems that difficulties have arisen about the troops for that crown, or rather scruples which are likely to delay if not to prevent their going. The English colonel, (fn. 5) chosen with the ambassador's consent to raise and command these troops, is doing his best to make it a success. But certain considerations made to the Protector may prevail over everything else, since such a force of 8,000 men in one body, after going out together, might easily return here in another army, being incensed or bribed. So they are proceeding cautiously in the matter, and the more so as with the reduction in the pay of the troops, the disbanding of many, including some officers, in order to relieve the people, discontent here has undoubtedly been increased, while the army is far from unanimous owing to differences in religion or other causes, at present unknown, any further stress might easily lead to serious disorder in the present government.
But the Protector and his Council keep assiduous watch over everything. Thus, to stop communications and prevent further inconveniences he has recently regulated the important matter of the Posts (fn. 6) by forbidding the postmaster to receive or despatch any packets except such as reach him with a signed order from his Highness, his Council, the chief magistrates of this city, military and naval commanders, and also foreign ministers, though always with the knowledge of his Highness. To send by others is forbidden under severe penalties, and in any case on the express condition of keeping a note of the packets, the time and the persons who come to them for the purpose. I understand that this order is due to the fact that a packet was recently brought to the state and handed in as important business, but when opened it was found to contain nothing but bold invectives and daring accusations against the Protector and the present government. His Highness has entrusted the whole direction of this business to the secretary of state alone, who will issue the orders for all despatches both by land and by sea, everything being under his control, for which he will be rewarded with over 6,000l. sterling a year profit, which he will certainly make.
No progress is made in the adjustment with France, but the idea of many gains ground that affairs have actually been tacitly adjusted in this form, while it is seen that the more the good understanding with Spain suffers change the greater is the progress with the good correspondence with France. The recent decision of M. de Bordeaux to change into a more splendid and costly residence, which he has taken for six months, confirms the impression that matters have been adjusted by connivance.
There is a rumour that after his embassy here the Swedish ambassador may proceed to Portugal. If so it would show the desire of the Swedes for good relations with the Portuguese, and with the increasing ill feeling between the latter and the Spaniards, the Portuguese might in this way attain more easily their goal, which seems to involve active hostilities against the House of Austria.
Some of the prisoners have been examined these last days. A few have been released but for every ten set free one may say that 20 remain in captivity, as the merest suspicion persuades the Protector to this.
London, the 10th September, 1655.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
145. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador to England, to the Doge and Senate.
I am charged by your Serenity to report the amount due to Pauluzzi for his expenses in London. When I arrived in France I found that he had proceeded to England several months before, by instruction, and that my predecessor had supplied his expenses, which he returned monthly. I followed the same procedure and kept him punctually supplied. In this way I supported him entirely, including the carriage of letters, the interpreter, priest, gratuities at Christmas and such things, so that he is completely paid up until the 22nd of June, as is shown by papers under his own signature. I further gave him 40 doubles, so that some two months' pay maturing on the 22nd inst. may be due to him. On that day the Ambassador Giustinian will have taken up his charge and the burden will fall upon him since the Senate decreed that the Ambassador in France should support Paulucci. For the rest he has frequently intimated to me that during the four years he has bought furniture, liveries and so forth, as your Excellencies will have realised that he sustained the character of a Resident rather than that of a Secretary, and that in consequence he was involved in a heavier expenditure.
Rouen, the 10th September, 1655.
[Italian.]
Sept. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
146. To Giovanni Sagredo, Ambassador designate to England.
We suppose that you are making haste to set out for London. 2,000 ducats have been voted for you this evening as credits for your embassy in France. Pauluzzi forwards a memorandum of the Levant Company about currants. As the wishes of the Company are not very clearly expressed we may say that we have obtained information from Obson, the English consul, which we enclose together with another paper presented by him some months ago.
Ayes, 84. Noes, 1. Neutral, 36.
[Italian.]
Sept. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
147. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The governor of Hispaniola reports that on the 23rd April the English appeared off the island. They landed 20 miles from the town, marched by rough hilly roads and arriving in the plain they encountered a troop of 500 men, both Spaniards and islanders. This force standing firm under the fire of its guns accepted battle on the 4th of May, when some 2,000 of the English were slain and taken prisoner. Most of the slaughter was done by those uncivilised men who hacked at them fiercely with a clumsy weapon in the shape of a half moon, which they are accustomed to use also to wound wild beasts in the country. General Pen is said to have retired to Jamaica, an uninhabited island 75 miles distant.
It is stated that the galleons of the fleet are at present at Cartagena of the Indies and that they are only waiting for orders from Spain to start on their voyage.
It was correct that General Blach is staying off the coast of Portugal since on the 25th of April he let himself be seen again at Capes St. Vincent and Santa Maria with 28 ships of war, eighteen of which are more powerful than those of the Spaniards. He was sailing with a fresh and favourable wind and might have attacked with advantage, but did not do so, and the two fleets remained close together a day and a night. The English did not light their lanterns. The Spaniards did, and the wind freshening, on the morning of the second day they found themselves mixed up and the ships confused together. The Spanish flagship reefed its sails to keep itself broadside on to Blach's flagship, but the latter, with a better choice of position, took another tack and put out to the open sea. The English assembled a council of war and on the third day their fleet was becalmed. With this it is impossible to discover their intent and the situation is a dangerous one subject to contingencies. General Contreras has sent urgent demands for reinforcements and refreshments, and the duke of Medina Celi has returned to Cadiz to take charge of everything. General Blach is expecting succours from London and if this materialises he will lay down the law in Spanish waters, as they have lost their claims to make foreign fleets lower their flags.
Here in the mean time they are desirous to fight and to break with the English. The Council of State has conveyed its advice on the subject to the king. Don Luis takes the opinion of many; the generality incline to hostile measures but the wisest think it is too much to undertake a new and formidable war.
They also profess consideration for the Ambassador Cardenas, with whose person the name of the king and the honour of the monarchy are involved lest on a declaration of war that savage people should vent its ferocity on an innocent minister.
Madrid, the 11th September, 1655.
[Italian.]
Sept. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
148. Lorenzo Paulucci, Venetian Secretary in England, to Francesco Giustinian, the Ambassador in France. (fn. 7)
The Protector has not entirely recovered from a sudden indisposition, which recently overtook him, although he is much better. By order of his physicians he abstains entirely from business, hoping soon to be in a condition to devote himself to it without reserve and without harm to his health. There is some speculation about the cause of it, and it does not seem unlikely that it was due to perturbation of spirit. I have been told in confidence that on his last visit to Hampton Court, where he goes every Saturday to pass the Sunday, having prayers and hearing preaching there, it happened that at his own wish or by the persuasion of others he listened to a minister there, the son of the governor of the place. The sermon began with all respect and humility, but towards the end it changed into imprudent and unbridled rashness as the preacher told the Protector to his face that by his adroitness he had overthrown the pacific state of England and was now ruling it with open tyranny, and in the end he would lose it with infamy. The Protector with the others present was surprised at this style of preaching, but without any fuss the temerity of the young preacher was corrected by his imprisonment, while his father, formerly a thorough royalist, was removed from his post.
A further cause for perturbation was a recent meeting of some leading officers of the army about conferring the legislative power on his Highness, which ended in an absolute refusal, and very likely caused his break down. The officers having to consider the good of the state and their own private advantage considered that if the Protector possessed full legislative powers he might use these to humiliate and shut them out still more, as he is doing now against persons of every sort without this power, and is heedless about offending the body of the soldiers by reducing their pay and disbanding those he does not want. So the Protector will have to adapt himself to the views of the army and dissimulate all he can, in order to avoid the disaster which would overtake him if he disagreed with them. It may therefore be said that the fate of this government depends on whether the army holds together or breaks up. The latter might happen owing to the differences over religion and some day when it is least expected bring about a great change in this kingdom and great confusion, which is what the majority here desire.

The sudden arrival of 16 ships of the America fleet and the unexpected appearance of General Pen himself (fn. 8) has greatly astonished the whole government and the people even more, though they are more glad than sorry at the ill success of this fleet. From the return of these ships it is supposed that they found it difficult to hold out owing to the lack of the greatest necessary, bread, and to the death of over 8,000 sailors and soldiers, including the second in command. (fn. 9) However several other ships of war are remaining at Jamaica, to guard this acquisition, according to some, left behind for lack of enough men to make the voyage, according to others. For the requirements of these and so as not to abandon the enterprise altogether, new measures will be taken. They will be able to consult General Pen who, having full knowledge of the conditions, will be able to give his opinion whether the enterprise can be carried to success by a stronger force, or whether it should be abandoned altogether and the remaining ships be sent to New England or to Barbados. But if fresh naval forces are collected it may only be for the purpose of meeting and capturing the fleet of galleons laden with 16 millions for Spain, which is what they need most urgently for the requirements of this state, to support their large army and meet the heavy cost of the fleets.
At the repeated report of the sailing of a Spanish fleet they have decided to reinforce Blach promptly, and recently sent nine or ten of the strongest and best equipped ships to join his fleet. They will certainly continue to help him so that in case of need he may be able to face the Spanish fleet and continue his watch for the plate ships. This intention was confirmed to me in confidence by Sir [Oliver] Fleming, who further said to me that the coming of the Ambassador Sagredo will advance the interest of the most serene republic. Although he spoke cautiously I rather gathered from him that after their unlucky venture in the West the English may feel more inclined to try their fortune in the East, by a good understanding with Venice. This would be more likely if a rumour of the ill treatment of Englishmen by Turks is confirmed. I told Fleming that the Ambassador Sagredo would certainly be here soon and would express better than I could the desire for a good mutual understanding. Fleming seemed pleased and left me with the words, If it is not done it always can be.
London, the 17th September, 1655.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
149. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The advanced season and the stormy sea will compel the fleets of Spain and England to get away from their customary positions, as neither will make up his mind to fight. General Blach had drawn nearer to the shore and to the coasts of Spain, making himself master of the whole of that section of the sea which extends as far as the port of Faro in the kingdom of Algarve. Castagnos, with the flagship alone keeps watch on the enemy fleet from which emanate shouts of abuse and curses. In spite of all this they put aside the thought of attack until it may be more convenient for the crown, moderating their eagerness to try conclusions with the English in the firm determination not to unsheathe their weapons except in case of provocation and necessary defence. Be that as it may the Spaniards have lost prestige seriously in this situation, for it is not seemly for the monarchy to keep the fleet inactive in sight of its own dominions with the enemy in close proximity and all the world looking on. It is recognised in short that this nation has laid aside its natural haughtiness and that misfortunes humiliate men and that kings and kingdoms weary at the perfidious continuation of so many disasters.
After several consultations they have carried out the sequestration against the English in the Spanish kingdoms and the same thing will be done in the other states of his Catholic Majesty. The decision was notified some days ago to the Ambassador Cardenas in London and some assert with good reason that he has positive orders to leave England.
They are actively engaged in negotiations with the king of Great Britain. I am in possession of information that he may throw himself into Flanders, and they have even offered him the towns of Ostend and Dunkirk as places d'armes.
Reports and corroboration arrive from several quarters that General Pen has taken possession of the island of Jamaica without opposition. For the navigation of the fleets and from its advanced situation it will certainly prove of greater importance than the other of San Domingo. Jamaica was the first island possessed by Columbus and the duke of Veragua, as his heir, enjoys the title and the revenues in his house.
Madrid, the 18th September, 1655.
[Italian.]
Sept. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
150. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Three days after receiving my despatch I set out for here, my eagerness to serve the state having overcome difficulties none the less real from not always being credited. I have arrived here with a most distinguished company, and my train will equal that of any other foreign minister, and with due expenditure, support the dignity of the state. The instructions sent me with the promise of financial assistance determined me not to delay my departure for a moment. I am bound to point out in this connection that the dignity and service of the state in such a conspicuous Court require that a minister shall not be distracted by his personal distresses.
I did not travel by Calais, as although the sea passage is the shortest my baggage might suffer a land shipwreck owing to the excursions of the garrisons of Gravelines and Dunkirk, who scour the routes and plunder without distinction. I proceeded from Rouen to Dieppe and embarked there on a ship sent by the Protector on purpose to take me to England. This stopped ten miles above the port and as soon as she had cast anchor a gentleman came off in a skiff bringing a letter from the captain informing me of his orders to take me across to any port I might choose. On the following morning a fresh but favourable breeze carried my barque to the ship, which struck me as a marvellous contrivance (una machina portentosa), and if your Serenity had a dozen like it in your fleet, no naval power could stand against them. (fn. 10)
The governor of Dieppe took it ill that the ship did not salute the fortress with a single shot, while it fired all its guns in honour of my arrival. It had over 300 sailors on board and hardly was the anchor weighed than a favourable wind carried us in seven hours from Dieppe to the Downs, a distance of over 80 miles.
On landing I proceeded incognito to this city, intending to make myself known when I was ready, for which I am busily engaged. My first task will be to remove any slight resentment caused by the delay of the compliment which this government has been expecting for some years, as I reported several months ago. When a person of standing made a slight reference to this subject I told him that the esteem felt for the government was proved by keeping a special minister here, and this would increase as the Senate by particular letters had expressed the desire to cherish the best relations and encourage perfect confidence with this kingdom.
I am sending these to il Malo (fn. 11) so that they may travel quickly by way of Flanders, the French route being somewhat longer. Paulucci is waiting for some remittances before leaving, and has asked me to advance money for his return. I showed him the ducal missives reporting the orders for money to be supplied to his agents.
London, the 24th September, 1655.
[Italian.]
Sept. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
151. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
So far as I can judge from my brief stay here the present government is more feared than loved, supported by the power of 50,000 armed men rather than by the affection of the unarmed people. The troops are paid punctually and marvellously appointed so that a private soldier is as well equipped as an officer in Italy. What is more remarkable, they are subject to the most severe and exact discipline, licence and plunder being banned. It is said that the troops not only refrain from the slightest offence against the property of the people, but they conduct themselves so temperately that never a vile word is heard among them. Foul mouthed soldiers are punished in the most exemplary manner. The offence is reckoned one of the greatest, for which they may not only be struck off the rolls, but, according to the enormity of the crime, they may even suffer the extreme penalty. This honest manner of life derives from the orders of the Protector, who displays great submissiveness and by precept as well as example enjoins the observance of the dogmas of his faith.
To maintain so large an army in divers garrisons demands a large sum of money. This is raised by taxes on the property of the people, who groan under the burden and who are beyond comparison more heavily taxed than they were under the kings. Yet unless some division arises in the army, as threatened by the discontent of the Anabaptists, the people will have to submit and bide their time. To avoid the danger the Protector sends the most disaffected troops away, embarking some for the Indies, and dividing others among the fleet.
Since the decision to attack the Indies, and to avoid being exposed to the hostility of both crowns, the government here came to some secret treaty with Bordeos, the French ambassador, and they are momentarily expecting M. d'Alegre from France with another French minister, to settle differences and stipulate the treaty together with the French ambassador. The idea was suggested to the English by Cardinal Mazzarini, who, as I have previously intimated, foresaw that this invitation to enrich themselves with the fleets might divert the forces of England from striking France, and attack the enemy in their most vital part, which supplies nutriment and blood to the whole body of the Spanish monarchy. The ill success of the enterprise caused the government grave concern, since it is necessary for them to dazzle the people with great enterprises, and to justify such large forces by new conquests. Nevertheless the return of General Pen has tended to cool their hopes of conquest, although the government publishes that the place captured is of great importance, and that they will prosecute their original plans with greaterforces than ever. Blach is still coasting about and waiting for the fleet to come, in order to capture all or some of it, if he can, unless the precautions and reinforcements of the Spaniards render all these plans futile.
The enterprise has not been popular, not only because the people are naturally more hostile to the French, but because they think it savours of ingratitude to attack the king of Spain, who was the first to court this government.
I will neglect no effort to turn these dispositions to the advantage of the state, using such means as seem adapted to the present state of affairs. I pray God that my efforts may have some effect on this most powerful nation. It can if it wishes and if only there is the will it has the means in overflowing abundance.
London, the 24th September, 1655.
[Italian.]
Sept. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
152. To the Ambassador Sagredo in England.
Satisfaction at his proceeding to England. His interests shall be considered because the Senate wish him to devote himself to the public service undistracted by any other preoccupation. With regard to the memorial of the Levant Company, the necessary instructions have been sent to the Proveditore General of the Islands, so he will be in a position to testify to the desire of the republic to give positive evidence of its regard for that noble nation and the desire to afford every possible satisfaction.
Ayes, 128. Noes, 0. Neutral, 4.
[Italian.]
Sept. 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
153. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The sequestration against the English nation having been published the king has given orders that the foreign ministers resident at this Court shall be notified by a special communication.
General Blach has sailed away to the coast of Portugal and after some days he entered the port of Lisbon, where Braganza received him with offers of accommodation and with demonstrations of honour. General Contreras, having carried out his commissions in following him, has returned to his customary station off Capes St. Vincent and Santa Maria, where he is constantly receiving refreshments from Cadiz.
Here they say definitely that the English, in a month, have arranged peace with the crowns of France, Sweden and Portugal. With the last it is announced that Cromwell has obtained liberty of conscience and the promise of a house at Lisbon in which the English heretics can worship. By a second article the English are allowed free navigation and trade in Brazil, and when this comes to practice they will repent, in the course of time, and feel the pinch.
Definite orders have been sent to the Ambassador Cardenas in London to leave, though some fear violence and that his person may be seized as a hostage for the traders.
Madrid, the 25th September, 1655.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Forwarded with Giustinian's despatch of the 6th September.
2 Charles X invaded Poland in July, won the battle of Sobota on 23 August and occupied Warsaw on the 30 August.
3 Forwarded with Giustinian's despatch of the 14th September.
4 23 Aug.–2 Sept. was the day set apart for prayer and humiliation. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655, page 295. This was a Thursday. Salvetti, writing on tho 10th, says it was on Wednesday. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 O, f. 482d.
5 William, lord Cranstoun. Lodge: Scots Peerage II., page 596.
6 Orders for the postal service of the 16–26 August. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655, pages 285–6.
7 Forwarded with Giustinian's despatch of the 22nd September.
8 Penn arrived at Spithead on 31 August, o.s. G. Penn: Memorials of Sir Wm. Penn ii., page 130.
9 The death of Robert Venables was reported in error.
10 The Tredagh, Capt. Anthony Young. She arrived in the Downs on 8–18 September, but owing to the weather could not land him, at Deal, before 10–20th. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655, pages 529, 532. The Tredagh was a 50 gun frigate of 1,000 tons, built in 1654. Oppenheim: Administration of the Royal Navy, pages 334–5.
11 Luigi Malo, his correspondent at Antwerp. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. iv., page 737.