Venice
December 1655

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1930

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146-161

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'Venice: December 1655', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 30: 1655-1656 (1930), pp. 146-161. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89814 Date accessed: 23 September 2014.


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December 1655

Dec. 3.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
199. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When one considers the excellent relations between the English and the Spaniards up to the attack on the Indies and the unfriendliness which has always existed and been cherished in the past with the French, there is much cause for astonishment as to how the Protector, after being exalted by Spain has since been led to declare war against her, contrary to all belief and the general opinion. There are three principal reasons: first, he fears France much more, as being nearer and more warlike, and because they cherish the house of Stuart and can direct against him a force which is the most powerful and the one most feared by his Highness. Second, by getting France through the peace to undertake to banish the house of Stuart, in spite of their close relationship, he gains authority for his present domination by French recognition, where they are most interested with the heirs to the English crown. Third, believing the enterprise of the Indies to be easy, he expected by occupying the richest country to render his own forces more irresistible and to raise the prestige of his own fortune, as having extended his conquests to the richest quarters of the world after surmounting all obstacles at home and subdued the three kingdoms successfully.
His Highness sent a gentleman to my house this week to inform me of the reasons which oblige England to make war with the Spaniards, how their cause is supported by reason and justice and how they may, in consequence look for success to their arms. He also gave me a small book in which their arguments are set out more at length, and which I forward herewith. I asked the gentleman to thank his Highness in my name; I would read the book and inform your Serenity of the communication.
Meanwhile they are preparing the fleets, repairing the ships and filling up the ranks, so that they may make good their arguments by the sword. There is some talk that seeing the enterprise of the Indies involves certain expenditure with uncertain advantage they will direct their attack elsewhere. They will persist in the offensive even if it seems opportune to change their objective. It appears that the threat is directed against some coast town in Flanders, in concert with France. But such resolutions are at present premature and depend upon the latest advices from the Indies. But this is certain, neither the soldiers nor the sailors are in favour of the continuation of the war in the Indies, being disgusted with the length of the journey, repelled by the difficulty of the enterprise and by the discomfort and length of the sea voyage. Nevertheless these difficulties are not sufficient to divert their forces from those parts since the soldiers, under discipline, by presents and the hope of reward will consent to embark, while the sailors, by the custom of the country, if they do not accept the decision of the government of their free will, will be pressed by force. They seize men in the street and armed bands of soldiers even enter their houses and compel them to obey and to sail, severity and determination thus effecting what money could not achieve; and provided they obtain the results they care nothing about forms and do not regard the means.
I have informed the agents of Captain Gallilee of the vote of 3,000 ducats for his ship. They have thanked his Highness for his intervention and begged me to ask that the money be consigned, not to Obson, but to Paolo del Sera and Company, their lawful agents. They complain that Obson has protested letters of change and would not pay any attention to the vote.
London, the 3rd December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 3.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
200. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In the midst of their application to foreign war they do not lose sight of the correction of internal troubles. As those who fought for the king consisted of the higher classes, that is the more dashing, there is some apprehension of a fresh attempt under favourable circumstances. So all their expedients are directed to enfeebling the strength of that party so that they may be rendered innocuous, since they are unlikely to prevail on themselves to assist and held to maintain the body politic now in power. All those who supported and fought for the crown are bound to supply a schedule of their goods and to support the main burden of the war with their revenues.
There has been some talk in the Council, though nothing has been done yet, that those who have less than 100l. sterling a year shall be compelled to go and live in the Virginia islands, the object being to purge the kingdom of noxious humours and to root out those who from interest, inclination or other motive show devotion to the royal house and are opposed to the procedure of the present government. It cannot be denied that discontent is great in certain quarters, and if their strength equalled their ill will some serious conspiracy would break out. But they are so heavily burdened and their fortunes so dilapidated that without money, leaders or support they are better able to grumble than to vindicate themselves. The government adopts such strict precautions that they have not only forbidden meetings and conventicles aimed against the present rule, but they will not permit a gathering of 12 or 14 persons, even in the streets, for any sort of business, not excepting trade or conversation.
The revolt of Marshal d'Ochincurt, (fn. 1) which is an infirmity natural to France, has alarmed the Cardinal and induced him to direct Bordeos to exchange forthwith the ratifications of peace, in full audience. The announcement will be made next Wednesday when I will forward particulars of the public articles. The secret ones are more difficult and will require more time and diligence. The queen of England mother of the king of Scotland and aunt of the king of France will be obliged to leave France as well, amid general sympathy and to the disgust of good Frenchmen. This is in compliance with an article which says that the common enemies of France as well as of England shall be dismissed. The Ambassador Bordeos had a secret audience of the Protector at which they say the secret articles were mutually signed. The resident of Condé here is momentarily expecting orders from the government to leave the city.
The revolt of Ochincurt has undoubtedly contributed much to the sudden conclusion of the peace. Apart from this fresh impulse the Cardinal would have gained time and tried to modify some articles which are neither advantageous nor honourable to France, but are derogatory to the king's dignity. But he thought it best to agree, floating with the current of present events and by the strong desire he has always entertained to free himself and his plans from interruption by England, diverting the enmity of that nation upon the Spaniards. He has at length achieved this after labouring more than three years to that end, as I have reported.
So far nothing is heard of any warlike preparations at sea by the Spaniards in Flanders at all corresponding to the emergency. If they do not decide, as seems likely, to support the king of Scotland, I do not see that they are in a position to do much harm to the English except by the interruption of trade. That, however, is important as by depriving this mercantile city of its gains it increases the number of malcontents with consequent grumbling and ill will.
London, the 3rd December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
201. To the Ambassador extraordinary in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 12th ult. Approval of his offices. Regret that his wise suggestions have produced no other effect than to induce the Protector to consult his Council, from which but little can be expected. The Senate will wait to hear the result of his efforts to obtain a squadron of ships against the Turks.
Ayes, 124. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
Dec. 4.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
202. Giovanni Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Palatine Prince Rupert has entered the service of the emperor. For the moment they are giving him a regiment and a pension of 6,000 florins with the promise of a title and employment when need arises.
Vienna, the 4th December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 6.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
203. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Alonso de Cardenas has left England amid severity and scorn. He is the ambassador who put forward in Spain the pretensions of Cromwell. The unique and important matter was freedom of trade in the West Indies. Don Luis said to me in a long conversation, that that fierce man, more pertinacious than ever, remained as haughty as he was at first and tried to lull them by voices of enchantment, as in the past year; but that on the point of that trade alone the king would break fifty peaces much more one, because they could never admit it on the score of reputation. He asked if your Serenity's ambassador was staying long in London, intimating that they would be glad if I could supply them with the dispositions of the war. I may add that if a minister remains long at London it happens almost inevitably that peace negotiations fall into the hands of the most serene republic, as they did between England and France.
Madrid, the 6th December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
204. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The levy in Scotland granted to the Swedish ambassador is limited to 2,000 men only, from fear that it may prejudice the one being made there for the Indies. A fresh decree has come out against those who bore arms for the house of Stuart, requiring them to hand over all their arms and severely forbidding them to have arms of any sort in their houses.
The peace between France and England having been solemnized, I forward a summary of the articles. (fn. 2)
(1) Peace is established between the two countries with free trade in all the ports for both nations.
(2) Neither of the parties shall assist rebels of either state directly or indirectly, and if either makes a truce or peace with their enemies such rebels shall receive no encouragement under any pretext.
(3) All hostilities shall cease, all letters of marque be revoked and all seizures made within 15 days of the ratification be restored.
(4) The people of England, Scotland and Ireland shall be free to sell their manufactures of wool and silk in the French dominions, and French subjects shall likewise be free to sell the wine of their country in the ports of the republic.
(5) The duties payable by merchants shall be posted up publicly; privileges shall be maintained and the magistrates bound to see that no unjust charge is made.
(6) French merchants trading in England shall not be bound to give any caution for the sale of their goods except the oath.
(7) Equal justice shall be done to both nations; English ships trading to Bordeaux shall no longer be obliged to unload their guns before entering the Garonne.
(8) Merchants and other English subjects who die in France may dispose of their property by will, or their heirs and executors if intestate; and the French shall have the same privilege in England.
(9) To prevent privateering all captains and masters of war ships, before leaving port shall give good security for their good conduct and promise not to do any hurt to the property of the contracting parties.
(10) For four years from the ratification all the ships of both states trading in the Mediterranean, the Ocean and the East shall have their cargoes free, even if they consist of goods or grain belonging to common enemies, provided the goods are not contraband, such as powder, guns, pistols, munitions, horses and military provisions. They may not carry soldiers for the common enemy, under pain of forfeiture of the ships, and the utmost severity will be shown to those who carry food to besieged places belonging to the common enemy.
(11) The parties will direct naval commanders to see the above is observed, at their personal risk and responsibility.
(12) Neither party shall admit pirates to their ports, but will punish them severely and compel any purchaser of their plunder to restore it to the owners.
(13) Ships of either nation driven into port by storms shall be allowed to sail away without paying anything.
(14) Immediately after the ratification commissioners shall be appointed to make enquiry concerning booty taken at sea since 1640 to sit in London and settle all claims within 5 months. Questions then undecided shall be referred to the republic of Hamburg to arbitrate as well as upon all differences about the ports of St. Jean and Port Royal, captured in America.
(15) In case of a fresh war between the republic and France the subjects of each power shall have six months in which to sell and remove their property, without any impediment.
(16) If during this peace any hostile act contrary to the above is committed by the people, it shall not mean war, but the offender shall be obliged to make restitution.
(17) The treaty shall be confirmed and ratified within 15 days under the great seals of both countries and the instruments exchanged reciprocally after which the announcement will take place according to the customary forms.
London, the 10th December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives
205. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
This week I had a somewhat unpleasant encounter with the Dutch ambassador though I have tried to mitigate it by tact. He came to see me first, after my first audience. I received him with every civility, but addressed him always in the third person without the title of Excellency, as prescribed. When I sent to arrange to see him a second time he told my messenger that he would await me at home all that day, but he did not deserve to be ill used, his title was not denied by the crowns and he hoped I would accord it. My gentleman replied that this was out of his province. I was much surprised, and did not know what to do. If I did not go it would break off relations altogether. To go without obliging him was risky for fear of some affront, and I could not oblige him without orders. Reflecting that I had treated him in the same way as I did his colleague at Paris, I decided to pretend that my gentleman had reported nothing, and went to call. He received me courteously, we talked on various subjects, I followed the usual style, he said nothing about his claims, and so after a long talk on the events of the world I took my leave. The day after all the foreign ministers were invited to a sumptuous banquet at the French embassy to celebrate the peace. While I was standing at the fire he came up and said he did not understand why the most serene republic treated the States more shabbily than the crowns and so forth. I said that the republic professed a sincere friendship for the States and I treated him as I had his colleague in France. The republic, following the ordinary course did not think it could cause any offence. I asked him to tell me if he spoke for himself or by order of the States. He made no answer to this and only said that at Munster it was agreed to treat on an equality. All your ambassadors in London had given the Dutch ambassadors the title of Excellency, and it was not reasonable to depart from the practice.
All this talk was in a low voice, heard by no one and was completely broken off by the Swedish ambassador, who called the Dutch excellency, with a small letter. It is true that the Swede is a courteous gentleman who cares nothing for formalities and had no scruple about visiting Paulucci, although he was not a qualified resident. In France the coaches of Holland and Savoy contest the precedence, but in functions the king always invites Savoy and leaves out Holland. For the rest I refer myself to the state's instructions, but it is desirable that everyone should rest content with what pertains to him and that formalities and titles should not interfere with relations.
London, the 10th December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
206. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
From my despatches your Serenity will see that I have spared no effort to serve the state and move the ruler here to take up the cause of Christendom. But eight days after my arrival news came of the sequestration of English property by order of the Catholic, which stirred the government to revenge. Subsequently orders came recalling the Spanish ambassador, confirming the outbreak of war, so that all their attention and preparations are directed to conquests in the Indies and to ravaging the coasts of Spain. Moreover the merchants here, having learned through some English assistance of my instances against the Turk, have pointed out to the government after the losses suffered by the interruption of trade and the sequestration by the Catholic, the mart would be ruined if they gave the Turk the slightest excuse for doing the same and countless merchants would lose their fortunes, as millions are involved in the various Turkish markets. Such remonstrances always have a great effect upon this government as they know that the traders constitute the strongest body of this mart, there being over 4,000 ships which plough the waves laden with goods for all the countries of the world. For this reason my further stay at this Court is useless and barren unless it serves for the presentation every week of a request to pay for some ship about which the Protector wrote a letter to your Serenity, to be presented by Obson, of which he sent a copy here.
I think it my duty to remark that those who have sent ambassadors to England have done so under compulsion of their own interests, which obliges them to put aside all formalities and punctilio. As regards any idea of reciprocity, it is enough to state that there is not at present any English ambassador at any Court in the world, and even to Sweden, with which they cultivate the most intimate relations, they only sent some months ago a private individual and without a title. (fn. 3) For this reason the Danish ambassador departed, leaving a resident; Portugal did the same and Sweden will follow the example, as since his arrival he has always kept the resident with him to leave him in charge after the completion of the levy, which is being pushed on. Genoa did precisely the same, and even the French ambassador Bordeos, now the peace is settled, will leave in four days for France.
For all these reasons I beg on my knees for permission to return home after four years of costly service in France and England to attend to my affairs and restore my health for in this damp air I suffer from most troublesome catarrh.
London, the 10th December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
207. To the Ambassador extraordinary in England.
Approval of his proceedings. The reports of what they are doing there and the accounts of the understandings and plans of the government cannot fail to be most acceptable serving as they do as an illuminant and a guide for corresponding resolutions. Enclose the sheet of advices. Presumed that Pauluzzi has set out for Venice by this time.
Ayes, 148. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
[Italian.]
Dec. 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
208. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish ministers hope for a great effort in Flanders in the next campaign. For this end there are various projects under consideration for union and intelligence with the States of Holland and Denmark; but the war with the English may upset everything and for that cause and owing to the overwhelming power of Cromwell the Dutch are greatly alarmed.
To the king of England, who is at Cologne, the Spaniards have offered assistance and an asylum in the Low Countries with a becoming assignment for his Court and person so that he may be able to cultivate the faction which he keeps in England from closer quarters and stir up some trouble there, that being the sole means for preserving the interests of Spain from some most serious blow. He has asked for Dunkirk, but as that town is considered too important and exposed they are offering him Bruges, which is not upon the sea, though it is only a little way inland. I fancy that ere long we may hear of something fresh and some stroke upon Scotland.
Vienna, the 11th December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Napoli.
Venetian
Archives.
209. Andrea Rosso, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
Some of the English here have asked the Viceroy for permission to trade but they received a refusal as his Excellency was unwilling to set his hand to the matter without previous orders from Spain.
Naples, the 14th December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
210. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I wrote in my last of what happened with the Dutch ambassador. Three days ago he came to return my visit. He told me that a ship that reached Amsterdam with a mixed cargo from China brought very bad news, that the whole country there had been completely subdued by the Tartar after suffering defeat in two battles. The Tartar had utterly destroyed the royal stock, without hope of resurrection, and was completely master of the richest and vastest country in the world. I said that as the Tartar was a feudatory of the Turk such great conquests were fatal to Europe. Christian princes should consider the consequences of these great events and provide in time against the general danger, put a stop to their quarrels and strengthen themselves against the attack of the common enemy. He replied that his masters were devoted to peace. In their eagerness to forward this they had chosen ambassadors extraordinary to the Catholic, the kings of Sweden and Denmark and the Duke of Brandenburg. Their sole object was to keep at peace and foster the best relations with all. If others had the same objects general harmony would be attained without difficulty. But few remained satisfied with their own dominions and let themselves be carried away by ambition, the chief cause of the tangles and disorders now apparent in the world.
He told me after that since his remonstrance to me he had written to the States representing the absurdity of the Dutch ambassadors being placed on an inferiority to those of Venice. I had myself heard the ambassadors of France and Sweden call him Excellency. He had never attached much importance to such vanities, but it was necessary to go with the stream. The difference used by your Serenity's ministers might lead to a scandal and others might follow the bad example to the prejudice of the States. He thought the republic might make enquiry upon the truth of what he said and then take such steps as it thought fit. He asked me if your ministers had received special instructions to withdraw what had been allowed at Munster, after the conference. I answered him with assurances of the republic's esteem for the States, but dexterously avoided all occasion for dispute or offence, especially as the French and Swedish ambassadors have frequently given him the title of Excellency in my presence without the slightest reserve. But it is nevertheless certain that the question does not arise from orders received from the States but only from his own particular zeal.
London, the 17th December, 1055.
[Italian.]
Dec. 17.
Senate,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
211. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I referred in my last to the five ambassadors extraordinary sent from Holland to Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Brandenburg. Although the Dutch ambassador asserts that the general object is to forward peace and foster good relations I have enquired into the underlying motives and report the result. The two for Madrid, although in general they have instructions to strengthen the friendly relations with the Catholic, have secret orders as well to unite more closely for the common advantage according to circumstances, in accordance with requirements and the behaviour of England. The reason is that the English contemplate reprisals on all ships belonging to the Spaniards that they meet at sea and further to search thoroughly all foreign ships that sail from the Catholic's ports with goods belonging to his subjects. This will subject Dutch ships to great vexation, seeing that they are permitted free lading in all the Spanish dominions. If they fall in with the English fleets they will have to submit to the overhauling of their cargoes and also to the taking away of goods believed to belong to the enemy. The Dutch ambassador, who foresees that this might lead to another rupture, presses strongly for the making of naval regulations and that the procedure to be adopted in such circumstances may be explained, to avoid more serious trouble. So far they have only given him vague friendly words, in no way corresponding to the wishes of the States. They have thus decided on this extraordinary mission to Spain because the most cordial relations with the Catholic are more than ever necessary at the present crisis.
The mission to Sweden is prompted by jealousy at the amazing prosperity which has impelled him to conquer a great kingdom without effusion of blood. The Dutch are afraid that in virtue of this aggrandisement his Majesty may impose very heavy impositions on their ships which plough the Baltic sea in great numbers.
The embassy to Denmark is to prevent an understanding and union with Sweden, which would prove wonderfully effective to exclude their nation from the very rich trade aforesaid. With Brandenburg, a neighbour and armed who may offer some slight resistance to the Swedish flood, a good understanding is also both necessary and opportune.
Here they devote their unceasing application to foreign and domestic affairs. They are hastening the equipment of the fleets, which will be formidable as usual. They are pressing seamen by force and soldiers to transport to the Indies, where they persist in their designs in spite of the obstacles in the way.
I have written before of their relations with Sweden and their design to exalt heresy and to reduce the House of Austria. I have also referred to the levy of Scots. Bordeos has left already for France and although he announced that his only object was to attend to his private affairs speculative persons believe that he has gone to Paris to discuss with the Cardinal personally some treaty that will tighten still more the union with England and with Sweden as well, especially as he has left his house in working order and his secretary, (fn. 4) who should act as resident in the mean time. If the present constellation does not prove mendacious it cannot be denied that the theatre of the world will witness great changes of scene and grave tragedies of arms and war.
London, the 17th December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania,
Venetian
Archives.
212. Giovanni Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany to the Doge and Senate.
Prince Rupert (fn. 5) has received word from Holland that Cromwell has notified that Province that they must leave off treating any more with Spain, or their ships will be confiscated and made prizes, and we hear that some have already been seized. This much is certain that the States are in the greatest confusion, because they see their trade in the Baltic impeded and that with Spain contested, and they are extremely apprehensive about the union of France with Cromwell, the progress of the French in the Low Countries and the predominance which the crown of Sweden is acquiring in the Baltic.
I have some further evidence of close negotiations taking place between the Spaniards and these same States.
Prince Rupert is about to take a journey. The direction he is taking has not yet transpired but I believe it will be in the interest of the king of England because of their desire to do something for his relief and to give Cromwell some exercise and trouble in the kingdom.
Vienna, the 18th December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
213. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although it is extremely difficult to find out the secret articles agreed between France and England, since the Cardinal has most carefully observed absolute silence and they were signed by two persons only, the Protector and Bordeos, who are equally dark and secret, yet two have been reported to me by one who knows a great deal about this government. The first is that France cannot make peace with Spain without the participation of England. The second is that the Huguenots shall not be restrained in any way in the use of their religion, but left in the liberty allowed by previous treaties. Another article has been added to those published, that their High Mightinesses the States General shall be comprised in the treaty with all the dominions and territories belonging to them as well as all the allies and confederates of both crowns who wish to be included, who may enter within three months from the signing, which was 25 November, English style.
The report persists that Bordeos has gone to France to sketch steps for a closer union with England aimed at Flanders. But I think it very unlikely that the French will let the English set foot in Flanders. It would be a stumbling stone disadvantageous to France herself and would alarm the Dutch forcing them to a more intimate union with the Catholic.
The secret article about the Huguenots is very probable because of the general superintendence which his Highness exercises over those of the Protestant faith. By a mutual alliance and perfect understanding his Highness has increased his own prestige and rendered the whole party of the heretics much more influential.
The levy of the Swedish ambassador in Scotland has been reduced to 1,000 men only. He finds it very easy to raise them, however, because of their great aversion to sail for the Indies.
The Duke of Brandenburg has sent an agent here. (fn. 6) He had his public audience and so far he has not gone beyond formalities and compliments. The Swedish ambassador also had a long audience. So far as can be gathered it was to impart his king's progress in Poland, the withdrawal of Casimir and the convocation of the diet to establish the government on a firmer basis.
The Dutch ambassador insists on the restitution of a ship forfeited for having brought to this port goods not of Dutch origin. The English law on this subject is remarkable since it does not allow foreign ships to come to English ports with goods which are not of the origin of the ports from which they sailed. Thus if a Venetian ship came to London with goods from Turkey, it would forfeit by this law and they would only allow things which originated in your Serenity's dominions. The law was made to gratify the English shipowners and to strike a blow at the Dutch, who, from the number of their ships at sea, transport goods at very low prices and they obtained all the cargoes and all the hiring to the detriment of the English, who accordingly asked for this profitable enactment.
London, the 24th December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci.
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
214. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
They are more suspicious than ever about home affairs and keep most closely on the watch to discover any secret operation to the prejudice of the present government and in favour of the king of Scotland. They make a strict examination of the papers and letters of every foreigner who lands in their ports. These are sent to London and are not returned until they have been closely examined by the secretary of state. No one can leave London for any foreign country without a written permit signed by the Protector. Foreigners must thus submit to long delay and practise patience while waiting for the signature. They keep a number of spies at suitable places to report all manner of talk which might be unpleasing to the present government. All ministers of the Protestant laws who served under the past kings have been forbidden under the most severe penalties to continue in the exercise of their office, either by themselves or their successors, but fresh persons dependent on the Protector are substituted (ma restono prodotte nuove persone dipendenti dal Protettore), all for the purpose of destroying the evil conception which those ministers were spreading to the prejudice of the present rule. They have also forbidden under severe penalties all brawls, and occasion for scandal, confusion or gatherings of the people, and have charged the patrols or companies of horse, quartered at the different chief passages of the city, to charge and arrest the authors of any kind of disturbance, however slight, or popular excitement.
As the requirements of the war and the equipment of the fleets involve heavy expenditure, they have imposed taxation to the amount of 60,000l. sterling, to be paid every month for the next six months. This is equivalent to 240,000 crowns a month, to be squeezed out of the ordinary taxes and in the usual way. The people feel the burden, but they have to bear it willynilly, the soldiers being charged to collect it by force from those who refuse. 6,000 horse were levied to be divided among different counties, to scour the country districts and keep in awe the distant parts as well as those near. In this way they try to make the abundance of armed force supply the lack of popularity with the people, preferring to depend upon force rather than on affection.
London, the 24th December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archive.
215. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Sieur de Bordeos, his Majesty's ordinary ambassador in London, has come unexpectedly to Paris. Although the ministers here announce that he has come on his own private affairs, people believe differently. I have received no information from the Ambassador Sagredo, but I suppose that he has come to Court to arrange better with the Cardinal personally the union and understanding between France and England in the war declared against Spain.
Paris, the 28th December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
216. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
They are thinking of sending the usual fleet to the Indies; it will be assisted by a good number of ships of war. They are very apprehensive here that this year the English may mean to attack the Canary Islands, a position that would be most essential for the navigation.
Madrid, the 29th December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
217. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have reported my efforts to urge this government to send a squadron of ships to join the fleet of your Serenity in defence of the Gospel. I have employed every inducement of religion or glory to prevail on the Protector to do this, reminding him of the chorus of approval which greeted the defeat of the corsairs by his arms last year. But as I have often said the issue of most negotiations in this world depends upon circumstances. Scarcely had I landed than the Spaniards declared that the attack on the Indies was a breach of the peace. The ambassador withdrew in consequence so the English were committed to the enterprise of the Indies to which quarter their military energies are directed. I must add that the merchants who have suffered severe losses by this breach with Spain try their utmost to prevent the government from doing anything to provoke the Turks to follow the example of Spain or do anything that would cause the least disturbance to the Levant trade, which is the sole foundation at present of all the mercantile business of this city. Another report spread some months ago contributed powerfully to the unfortunate result of my efforts, it being stated that the Secretary Ballarino was at Constantinople and peace negotiations were making rapid progress. This report dashed any idea there might have been at any time to send succour to our state. It was generally thought that there might be some inclination here for an adjustment with the Spaniards, but the conclusion at this time of the peace with France and the energy in equipping the fleets show very clearly that they are thinking only of the war and that they persist more steadfastly than ever in the prosecution of their designs.
From the above the state may satisfy itself how useless is my further stay here and I beg that my request to return may be considered. I also stated that all the ambassadors who were here had already gone, leaving or sending a resident in their place. That was done by Portugal, Denmark and Genoa, and more recently by France. Sweden will follow in a few days and accordingly he has never dismissed the resident who resided at this Court before his arrival. Thus, unless the state has decided otherwise, I shall be the only one left, useless and unfruitful, since this government is not accustomed to keep an ambassador at any Court except only at Constantinople, and he is not really a minister chosen by the government but a merchant nominated by the Levant Company and confirmed by the Protector, more for the protection of trade than for political interests.
London, the 31st December, 1655.
[Italian.]
Dec. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
218. Giovanni Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The resident of the Elector of Brandenburg after performing his duties with the government, came to see me, expressing his Archives, master's regard for your Serenity. I responded with equal courtesy. So far his offices have been merely formal and it does not appear that he has any great business here, except to observe the proceedings of the Swedish ambassador, and the relations and combinations which may grow with the passage of time. So far the negotiations of the Swede have not been of much consequence. The king, preoccupied with Poland, aims only at establishing a permanent dominion. To contemplate other enterprises, especially that of Germany, is an appetite that will come with eating, as time proceeds, in accordance with the success of his establishment in the conquered country. In any case there will be perfect harmony with England, the identification of their religion and their political designs rendering a complete and perfect correspondence necessary.
Two English frigates have captured a privateer which had taken more than one of their craft. (fn. 7) They found patents and letters of reprisal of the Duke of York. They have ordered for Scotland the same care that is practised in England, that no man shall leave or enter that kingdom without giving an account of himself to the general of the forces.
Three books have appeared against the government. One is entitled “The Protector Unmasked” and shows the cunning, skill and fraud whereby he gradually usurped power and deprived the people of their privileges. It has very biting and extremely offensive passages. Colonel Dory has also been arrested by order of the Council for having preached in All Hallows church in a scandalous fashion and with very biting observations on the present government. (fn. 8)
For the rest the events of this week are all concerned with the affair of the Jews and their earnest request to be admitted to domicile in these realms. A Jew came from Antwerp (fn. 9) and cleverly introduced himself to the Protector, having known him in that city when he was privately travelling in Flanders before he reached his present elevation. When introduced to his Highness he began not only to kiss but to press his hands and touching his whole body with the most exact care. When asked why he behaved so he replied that he had come from Antwerp solely to see if his Highness was of flesh and blood since his superhuman deeds indicated that he was more than a man and some divine composition issued from heaven. The Protector ordered a congregation of divines who discussed in the presence of himself and his Council whether a Christian country could receive the Jews. Opinions were very divided. Some thought they might be received under various restrictions and very strict obligations. Others, including some of the leading ministers of the laws maintained that under no circumstances and in no manner could they receive the Jewish sect in a Christian kingdom without very grave sin. After long disputes and late at night the meeting dissolved without any conclusion, the discussion being postponed to another more convenient day. Meanwhile the Jews, having powers to spend a great deal of money, are getting a hold (fanno stato) and it is believed that they will make no mistake in winning over the divines and the ministers, and that they will be able to break down every obstacle by the power of gold.
London, the 31st December, 1655.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Charles de Monchy, Marechal d'Hocquincourt. Won over by the duchess of Chatillon he seemed disposed to hand over Peronne to Condé Chéruel: Lettres du Cardinal Mazarin, Vol. v., page 523 note.
2 The peace was proclaimed on 20 November o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655–6, page 28. The text of this treaty is in Dumont: Corps Diplomatique, Vol. vi., pt. ii., pages 121–4.
3 Major Edward Rolt, who set out in July. See page 94 above.
4 M. de la Bastide.
5 Rupert reached Vienna about the end of November N.S. and had been well received by the emperor. It was proposed that he should raise a force for the service of the empire. Public Intelligencer, 10–17 December.
6 Johann Friedrich Schlezer, a somewhat furtive mission. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. iv., page 175. He arrived in October. Erdmannsdörffer: Urkunden und Actenstucke des Kurfursten Friedrich Wilhelm Von Brandenburg, Vol. iv., page 718.
7 The Harp of Port Louis, Capt. Christopher Turner, of 10 guns, taken on 5–15 December and brought into Plymouth. Publick Intelligencer, 10–17 December.
8 See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655–6, pages 53, 56, 68.
9 Probably Manasseh Ben Israel is meant though he came from Amsterdam, not Antwerp. The matter was referred by the Council to a Committee on 12–23 Nov. and a commission appointed on 15–25 November. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655–6, pages 15, 23. Salvetti refers to the same subject at this date and mentions a Jew of Leghorn, Rafaello Supino as one of the prime movers. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 O, ff. 536, 538.