Venice
March 1656

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1930

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183-198

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'Venice: March 1656', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 30: 1655-1656 (1930), pp. 183-198. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89817 Date accessed: 29 July 2014.


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March 1656

March 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
254. Domenico Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Unexpected and disagreeable news has reached the Court to-day. It is said that 37 of Cromwell's ships have cast anchor off the coasts of France and by the shores of Guienne. It has caused great alarm in the ports of Biscaya as being the nearest to attack both from the French and from the English, as the Spaniards have no fleet ready for their defence.
Madrid, the 1st March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
255. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
All the military officers and all the provincial governors are directed to come to London to take part in a general assembly. It is stated that they intend to aggrandise the Protector's position and augment his title besides conferring on him a legislative authority whereby he can make new laws, abolish the old ones and have absolute control of the political and economical affairs of the three kingdoms. This has previously been denied him and the point cannot be carried despite the efforts and industry that are being employed upon it. Many have already appeared and fresh ones arrive daily so the assembly will be held in a few days. It may occasion some disturbance as in this matter they may not meet with the disposition and facility that they look for. General Lambert, who at heart cherishes the utmost enviousness of Cromwell's present state, although he does not show it outwardly, and who would like to see his own house adorned with the honours which mark that of his Highness will do his utmost to thwart the Protector's plans and to disappoint his hopes. But he will move adroitly in this very delicate matter in order to avoid the snares which may be laid for him by all powerful authority, from which he would not find it easy to escape. I will keep a sharp look out for all that may occur in an affair of such consequence, to make report.
The fleet still lies at anchor and it is announced that it is all to be at Portsmouth next week, the port appointed as general rendezvous, to sail at once on its voyage. Its destination remains uncertain; the powerful nature of its armament shows that it is for an enterprise of consequence. As I reported, they point to some place on the Spanish coast, or even to Italy.
Whereas for the unfortunate enterprise of the Indies they levied large numbers of men from the Barbados Islands, thereby weakening that colony, the majority perishing under stress of war and famine in the island of Jamaica, to renew the population of those islands, which are near the Indies and handy for designs in that quarter, the soldiers of the London garrison visited various brothels and other places of entertainment where they forcibly laid hands on over 400 women of loose life, whom they compelled to sail for the Barbados islands.
A fire accidentally kindled in the magazine of a large ship named the Pelican, which should have joined the fleet; it blew up instantaneously all the guns being fused and 500 persons on board lost. (fn. 1) The government deplores the incident as much as the loss as of ill augury for the enterprise; but they are busy repairing the disaster by fitting out another war ship equally powerful, a matter of no difficulty owing to the abundance they possess and the ease with which they build them.
The Protector recently summoned the Dutch ambassador to audience and remonstrated vigorously because the States, under the name of individuals, are selling Dutch ships of war fully equipped to the king of Spain. He told him this was contrary to previous agreements and an attempt to infringe the peace and alliance made between England and Holland. He told the minister not to come to him again before this irregularity is stopped. Holland replied that the States have no part in the sale of the ships. They belong to individuals who dispose of them as they please; the government is not accustomed to prevent trading whether it be in ships or other goods, and the merchants usually sell to the highest bidder without distinction of persons. The Protector did not seem inclined to accept this excuse and insisted on the ambassador sending a full report to the States General. These have their eyes constantly fixed on the negotiations with Sweden here, which give them cause for reflection and misgiving.
On Wednesday evening the ambassador of Sweden celebrated the birth of a son to his master by a sumptuous banquet, attended by all the foreign ministers and the deputies with whom he is now treating. His Excellency was invited but apologised as he was just starting.
With the stoppage of his Excellency's chapel as well as those of France and Spain the attendance of Catholics at the Portuguese embassy has increased. This roused the suspicions of the Protestant ministers here and guards were placed at the entrance. Many were arrested and compelled to make considerable payments as well as harassed (tormentati) in every way calculated to obliterate the traces and to wipe out the remains of the Catholic faith.
The ducal missives did not arrive with the letters from Italy this week. Nearly all had been opened and some torn. The courier was robbed between Lyons and Paris. I report this so that duplicates may be sent, particularly of my credentials, to enable me to appear before his Highness.
London, the 3rd March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
256. To the Resident in England.
Acknowledge the ambassador's despatch of the 11th ult. Will not repeat appreciation of his efforts. Merely add satisfaction with the care shown in this last despatch in reporting the particulars of the Protector's indisposition and the information about the relaxed severity of Spain with respect to the trade between the two countries, and on the other hand the designs of England on the fleet of the Catholic. The advices moreover of the English arms in the Indies and of the Dutch in the East show constant attention. On the return of the Ambassador Bordeos, which is understood to be at hand, are sure that he will supply them with full particulars, extracting the information without showing eagerness and with all possible tact. Enclose sheet of advices.
Ayes, 157. Noes, 4. Neutral, 5.
[Italian.]
March 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Roma.
Venetian
Archives.
257. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The moves of the English fleet to come on a cruise in the Mediterranean keep the guardians of the coasts here on the alert. They do not anticipate an intention to strike a definite blow, but all the same a general tempest produced by nothing but a cruel temper calls for every attention. They are trying to make up by good arrangements what is lacking in the matter of adequate provision.
Rome, the 4th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 4.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
258. Giovanni Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports come from Holland of the intention of France and England to get a footing in Italy and to interrupt trade in the Mediterranean, especially that of Milan. The Dutch have asked the Spanish ministers to inform this Court about it. The Dutch would like to open confidential relations with this Court, but a difficulty about titles stands in the way. The Spaniards hope to obtain some relief from that quarter for their difficulties in the province of Flanders, because the Dutch are in great apprehension not only of losing their trade, but of being gripped on land between England and France. Be this as it may, it is hardly likely that they will resolve definitely on a rupture, but the Spaniards base their confidence on the accidents of the sea and on the English claim to the right of search. The Dutch are also in a state of serious apprehension over the peril of the Spanish fleet in which are some millions of cargo on their account. For this reason they are arming strongly at sea.
Vienna, the 4th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zurigo.
Venetian
Archives.
259. Antonio di Negri, Venetian Secretary at Zurich, to the Doge and Senate.
Ambassadors from Holland and England are expected here at an early date and the hopes of the Protestants are high.
Zurich, the 5th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
260. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
His Highness has not been visible for two or three days being confined to his bed with the stone. Many contend that his indisposition is more fictitious than real and that he has withdrawn to obtain relief from the farrago of affairs, which keeps him incessantly busy with little rest. The simultaneous announcement that the secretary of state is in poor health adds strength to this idea which seems the more certain. Accordingly affairs of moment have not been transacted or considered this last week, as they must all pass through the hands of this secretary, who alone attends to and superintends all the most important interests of state, and when he is sick or away it creates a truce and repose for all business until he resumes his activities.
Despite all my efforts I have not been able to discover any more about the negotiations of the ambassador of Sweden beyond what I have reported about an alliance, as Sweden and England march together in the desire to exalt heresy and to abase the House of Austria. He is also trying to obtain from his Highness some fresh levy of troops to serve under his master's banner and asking for ships to reinforce the Swedish squadron in the Baltic. It is also stated that the Protector will soon be sending a magnificent embassy extraordinary, some person of rank and of credit in Sweden, to confirm the negotiations now in progress at this Court, and then to visit all the Protestant Princes of Germany as a sign of the part that England will always take in the interests of the faith, which obliges those of the same religion to stand united by indissoluble bonds. The aim is to preserve the position as chief protector of the Protestant faith and to keep up good relations with the Princes of Germany, and all to facilitate and establish the future designs of Sweden.
The agent of the elector of Brandenburg, who arrived in this city some months ago, stays on here. He is said to be waiting for instructions from his master to ask for an alliance with the Protector here, with the same objects in view. I will keep on the alert to discover the pith of these delicate and important matters, sending full reports.
The fleet is now quite ready and fully supplied with all things necessary. It lies at anchor at the appointed rendezvous and is only waiting for a favourable wind to sail away from these shores to its destination. That still remains uncertain and nothing definite can be learned until it has left these waters and reached the open sea, when the commanders open their sealed instructions. The better to prevent the disclosure of their real designs they have closed all the ports of England, no ship of any kind being allowed to sail out for the next 22 days under most severe penalties. This is to prevent the fleet being preceded by trading vessels, and that it may reach its destination unexpectedly.
The Protector has no greater preoccupation than the utter extinction of the scanty embers that may still retain some heat for the king of Scotland which a very little encouragement might easily kindle against his all powerful authority, and he neglects nothing that may destroy and quench them. Accordingly he has permitted all those who bore arms for that king to enter the service of the king of Sweden and enrol under his victorious banners. This permission has been joyfully embraced, as it offers a resource to the poor cavaliers in their depressed fortunes, for remaining in these realms they are always under suspicion of correspondence and collusion with the other side.
The Spaniards, seeing the powerful forces gathering against them here have decided to cease from the calm and civil treatment of this nation, which they have practised since the rupture, and to act with severity. Accordingly they have directed all at the ports of Flanders to make reprisals upon the English and to reply to the hostile preparations here by privateering. On the other hand an English ship has captured a small Dunkirker armed with only four guns, which will either be sold or rearmed, according to the service which it can render.
Cav. Sagredo set out four days ago to Dover, where he is to go on board a powerful ship of this state. (fn. 2) He leaves a reputation worthy of his mature prudence. He has honoured me with the most explicit instructions, which will serve to start me in the service of the state.
London, the 10th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
261. To the Ambassador in France.
Importance of the considerations reported as proceeding between France and England upon mutual assistance in maritime enterprises. On this account it is the more necessary for him to keep a close watch on the proceedings of the Ambassador Bordeos for the purpose of ascertaining so far as may be possible the real designs of the English fleet in the Mediterranean.
Ayes, 157. Noes, 0. Neutral, 11.
[Italian.]
March 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
262. To the Resident in England.
We learn with particular satisfaction of the courtesy shown by the Protector at the leave taking of the Ambassador Sagredo and of his friendly disposition towards you personally. For the first you will express the most cordial sentiments of the Senate towards his Highness, and for the rest it is a necessary part of your duty to cherish increasingly confidential relations, continuing as you have begun. You will pursue this course always, seeking to find out, on sound evidence, the objects of their forces in Italy. We hear from France that Bordeos is still at Paris not affording us an easy means of finding out about his negotiations, but it appears that in England they are proposing to keep at the disposition of that kingdom a good number of ships in Italy. We tell you this for checking and to serve for your illumination, awaiting from your diligence all that you may consider pertinent. Enclose sheet of advices.
Ayes, 159. Noes, 0. Neutral, 11.
[Italian.]
March 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
263. Giovanni Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Fears of a Swiss descent upon Italy. A more absolute proof that this disturbance derives from England, apart from the notorious fact that in Zurich they are spending Cromwell's money, is the report here that he has sent a good sum to those of the Piedmontese valleys subject to Savoy, because he does not approve of the agreement made with the duke there and suspecting now that the duke is assisting the Catholic Cantons, he would like, if it is so, to make a diversion by blowing up the fire in his own house.
Vienna, the 11th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 11.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Zurigo.
Venetian
Archives.
264. Antonio di Negri, Venetian Secretary at Zurich, to the Doge and Senate.
Cromwell's minister left here some months ago, and has been staying all the time between Geneva and Berne. (fn. 3) He returned recently and has been meeting the ministers here, promising the most prompt assistance on behalf of his master to the Protestants if the war is kept going. The French ambassador seems to be losing ground.
Zurich, the 11th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
265. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Count of Brienne informed me that no alliance has been concluded with Cromwell. Although Bordeos is starting immediately, it was only that he might attend better to affairs on the spot. There was nothing to prejudice the general peace. This is what the ministers here wish to have believed, although all appearances indicate the contrary.
Paris, the 14th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 14.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
266. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, the Doge and Senate.
Bordeos is starting to-day for his embassy in ordinary with Cromwell. I have nothing to add except the report that he is taking heavy remittances of money and the complete establishment of the alliance. I will supply the Resident Giavarina with full information to-morrow.
The Duke of Buckingham went off to London a few days ago to confirm his adjustment and to raise troops for the service of France, having come to the conclusion that your Excellencies will not consider his proposals, seeing that the answer is so long in coming. When he returns I will fulfil the state's commands.
Paris, the 14th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
267. Domenico Zane and Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassadors in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The terms of the French alliance with England have now reached their lordships here, and although they see only too well that these strokes are directed solely against themselves they flatter themselves with the belief that the union will prove impossible of realisation in some of the articles. Meanwhile their denunciations and imprecations against Cromwell could not be more bitter. They all call him traitor, perfidious, tyrant. But he is too far off to hear the insults, to which he will respond with tongues of bronze at close quarters, at La Corugna, a place exposed to attack, from what they say. But he will much prefer to do so against the galleons of the Indies, which they hope are near. One of these arrived these last weeks at Cadiz bringing word that on the 1st January all the ships came out of the channel of Havana.
Madrid, the 15th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
268. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Two missives from your Serenity have reached me this week, of the 5th and 12th February. Affairs at this Court are conducted with such secrecy a reserve so severe that it is difficult to find out the deliberations which pass through the hands of a single secretary. I find, however, that the fleet, beyond coasting off Spain and the Strait, has no further commissions for a joint undertaking with the French or for furthering their designs in Italy. But on the arrival of M. de Bordeos, who is expected shortly from Paris, the Protector may easily be subjected to some pressure, and I will keep on the watch. It is believed at any rate that the fleet has secret orders for landings and attacks to be conducted according to circumstances and the defensive measures of the Spaniards, but nothing certain can be discovered because of the way in which they have been given to the commanders, as reported.
The ambassador of Sweden is asking his Highness to grant his master 20 warships to join the squadron which he keeps in the Baltic. The Protector being of the same faith as Sweden desires their interests to be equally united and has granted the request, promising ten powerful vessels, fully equipped with guns, crews and everything else. He apologises for not giving more, owing to the present requirements of England. They are being got ready at once and they will then sail to join the squadron aforesaid in the Baltic. By the terms of the agreement Sweden is to keep them in his service as long as he needs them and give them their pay.
Although the Protector did not seem to appear zealous for the Swiss Protestants for the reasons given, yet seeing that things were not going so favourably for them as expected and that the Catholics are defending themselves with vigour and courage, he has decided to assist them with money and try to turn victory to their side by this means. Accordingly large remittances are to be sent to them shortly, as the government here desires nothing so much as the complete reduction of Catholicism and the exaltation of heresy everywhere. This will not be done if news which came yesterday of an adjustment between the Swiss is confirmed. (fn. 4) It came in letters from France which state that M. della Barde, the Most Christian ambassador in Helvetia, had sent the news to his sovereign by an express. Further confirmation is awaited; God grant it be true, for the sake of all Christendom.
By a ship recently arrived here from the Indies has come an individual from Cartagena. He has conferred with his Highness, telling him what enterprises can most easily be undertaken on the mainland, describing in detail the places, sites and positions which may facilitate the progress of the English in those parts. This raises the hopes of the government and increases their desire to make fresh efforts and see whether fortune will be more favourable to them than in the past. Orders were forthwith issued for the equipment of other vessels to go to the Indies, to reinforce the 12 already sent, supplementing the 28 or 30 already there, and forward fresh enterprises and greater progress.
They are expecting back the gentleman sent by the Protector to Sweden, as news has come of his reaching Hamburg. (fn. 5) The one sent to Portugal a long time ago is also expected soon. (fn. 6) Meanwhile they have unexpectedly sent the Latin secretary to Portugal, without any title with orders to intimate to the king there that if he is willing to accept the peace and allow English ships to shelter in the ports of that country they will deal with him familiarly with all friendship, but if he is not disposed to do this they will adopt a hostile attitude and if the English fleet meets Portuguese ships it will treat them as enemies. It is also stated that they propose to send an ambassador to Portugal, but the decision has not yet been taken.
Lord Vitelock, of the Council of State, has been chosen to go to the king of Sweden and then to the Protestant Princes of Germany. He was formerly sent to Sweden as ambassador. Similarly Sir [Gilbert] Picarin, also of the Council of State, has been chosen to go to the Most Christian, a man of rank and reputation.
The wind proving favourable the fleet set sail three days ago from Portsmouth, under prosperous conditions. As everyone speaks in the way his personal prejudices prompt and states what he wishes to be regardless of everything, there were rumours that the largest and finest vessel in the fleet, called the Nesbi, which the Protector recently had built with particular care, would never be able to leave port and sail with the others, and consequently it had to be stopped and was to be rebuilt. These rumours have proved baseless as news has come that it sailed with the rest, is well ahead and takes the wind better than the others.
There is a rumour that the king of Scotland is to leave Cologne and proceed to Flanders, either to Brussels or Bruges. They also say that he will have authority from the Spaniards to give letters of reprisals to ships of all nations and give him shelter in their ports, and that he will also grant patents to all who wish to take his side and defend his just cause. Here they are watching to see what will happen and to crush all attempts by his Majesty. They can only be made with great difficulty owing to the overwhelming authority of the present ruler, who directs all the forces of these realms to his own defence.
I have just received a letter from the Cav. Sagredo, at Dover. He states that as he was about to embark, some Dunkirk ships, pushing as far as the mouth of the Thames, have captured five English ships laden with coal. Fearing that the English ship that takes him may also be attacked his Excellency has sent to Flanders for a passport, and when that arrives he will sail with the first favourable wind.
London, the 17th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
269. To the Resident in England.
Acknowledge his letters of the 5th ult. The care with which you are finding out about the armament assures us how dubious that enterprise is and serves as a stimulus to pursue your inquiries with tact and report with the accuracy you have already shown. The delay of Bordeos merits curiosity at his return, because of the prolonged negotiations. Of those taking place between the commissioners and the ambassador of Sweden we have what you have succeeded in finding out, as well as about the offensive and defensive alliance. The Ambassador Sagredo displayed his usual zeal in his effort to persuade Sweden to move against the Turk. Credentials have been sent to you by way of merchants, for speed in transmission.
Ayes, 147. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
March 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
270. To the Ambassador in France.
To keep on the watch about the union of French and English ships in the Mediterranean. When the ambassador of the Protector Cromwell arrives at that Court it will be necessary and convenient for the minister to visit him and to deal with him in every respect in the manner customary with the ambassadors of the kings of that crown.
Ayes, 147. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
March 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
271. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
News of the secret treaty between France and England has reached this Court. Particulars.—It is confirmed that a port in Italy will be consigned to England, either Orbitello or Porto Longone, and the English contemplate taking revenge on the Grand Duke for an old injury. The Spaniards rely on internal troubles in England, for which they have the machinery. King Charles, who is now at Cologne, wants to go to Dunkirk, but this is not yet permitted by the Spaniards. Since the Brandenburg settlement the Dutch are proceeding with more circumspection and have only offered mediation to Danzig which appealed to them for help. But Cromwell has taken up the negotiations for this same town of Danzig in a more authoritative fashion and it is believed that we shall soon hear of the treaty with the Swedes also.
Vienna, the 18th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
272. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The Grand Duke turned the conversation on to Cromwell saying that he would be sending a numerous squadron of formidable ships into the Mediterranean with the ulterior object of uniting with the French fleet and to make trouble not only for the Spaniards, whether in this sea or in Spanish waters, but for the pope as well, and wherever it may serve his turn, his principle being to keep his plans secret and only disclose them when he means to strike his blow. The Duke added that there was no antidote for this except a firm union of the Spaniards with the Dutch, whose fleets united would provide a counterpoise for the English, and if they were not an equivalent they would serve at least to constitute a sufficient protection against worse evils.
Florence, the 18th March, 1650.
[Italian.]
March 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
273. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I can now inform your Excellencies of the present plans for war. On these frontiers they will undoubtedly employ the strongest forces of the realm, encouraged by the presence of the king himself and by what Cromwell will further contribute in ships and men. The chief attack will be directed against the towns on the Ocean, the French land forces co-operating with the English fleet. Another force will be directed to the capture of Valenciennes and the French mean to employ a considerable army in Flanders.
Paris, the 21st March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
274. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The war against England having been published in Flanders we begin to hear about reprisals and hostilities exchanged between the two nations, with advantage to the Spaniards, as some vessels laden with goods on their way to London have been carried into Dunkirk.
Paris, the 21st March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
275. To the Resident in England.
Acknowledge his despatch of the 3rd inst. The credentials have been sent to him and will arrive opportunely. Consider it superfluous to urge upon him the observation of what is being done over there seeing his diligent application, which gives entire satisfaction.
Ayes, 140. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
March 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
276. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In accordance with my instructions of the 19th February I spoke to his Highness about the English ship Concord, assuring him of the desire of the Senate to give every possible satisfaction.
The levy of 2,000 Scots granted by the Protector to serve the king of Sweden could not be embarked for their destination at once owing to the severity of the weather. But now that it is much milder they have sent 1,000 of them to Prussia. The other 1,000 will be despatched soon, to be followed by 1,000 English under the command of General Fleetwod. These are from the poor cavaliers who received permission as reported to serve that king, having been stripped of their fortunes by the present government for having taken arms in defence of their natural prince. They are thus forced by necessity to abandon their country, wives and children to go and find a livelihood elsewhere and to escape the severity and persecution with which they are constantly threatened if they remain here, even if it be incognito and in secret.
In consequence of fresh instructions the ambassador of Sweden had a long audience of his Highness yesterday morning, lasting more than two hours. It will not be easy to discover what it is about owing to the care with which they transact all affairs of state and the secrecy observed, but I will do my utmost, with the reserve necessary in such cases.
Owing to the excessive expenditure incurred by the Protector for the maintenance of the fleet which has sailed and for the equipment of other ships which they propose to send to the Indies and elsewhere, they are considering how to raise money and neglect no opening likely to bring considerable sums to the treasury in a short time. Knowing that the most convenient and quickest way is by increasing the duties they have decided to increase the excise on all goods and all sorts of comestibles, including wine and beer, which enter this city. The people complain bitterly and denounce the step as unreasonable and unjust. The government, knowing the need for ready money, lets them squeal but is determined that the decision shall have effect, regardless of other considerations. Consequently orders have been issued to all the troops, both horse and foot quartered about this city, to move into London quickly. The purpose is to enforce the decree by violence should they meet with resistance as is feared, since the people are weary of so many burdens and charges, to which they have to submit every day.
Threeships, besides the five reported, have been captured by the Dunkirkers when bringing coal from Scotland for this city. This has caused a notable rise in the price of coal in a few days and it is an additional cause to excite a bitter and resentful outcry. To prevent trouble and avoid the disorders which might arise from the exclamations which are heard in every quarter of London the government has ordered the despatch of some frigates of war to scour the neighbouring waters and escort ships from Scotland safely into the Thames. (fn. 7)
The Protector has remonstrated because the Most Christian, contrary to the recent treaty of peace, continues to keep the duke of York near him. Mazarin replied that his Highness, contrary to the same agreement, allows M. della Barriera, agent of the Prince of Condé, to stay in this city. To deprive the French of this excuse and to secure the complete effectuation of the treaty the Protector has intimated to Barriera that he must leave London and the kingdom. He expressed his readiness to obey but the impossibility of doing so as soon as is desirable because he has a quantity of debts and would like to discharge them before he goes, for his own honour and that of his master. He is now waiting for remittances to pay his creditors and this duty performed he will proceed to Flanders to rejoin Condé.
Together with the Latin secretary they have sent to Portugal a leading lawyer, a member of the Council of State, with the object reported in my last. (fn. 8)
Although Sir [Gilbert] Picarin was chosen to go ambassador to France, they have decided to put off his mission for the time being, judging it more expedient to send a resident. For this Colonel Acher has been nominated (fn. 9) and they say he will start for Paris next Monday. M. de Bordeos is expected thence any day to resume his ordinary embassy.
The Spaniards have sent an individual to Holland on purpose to have 15 large ships of war built there with all speed, to be used against this state. It is not thought that it will be so easy to manage this, as the Dutch have quite enough on their hands at present, owing to their lively apprehension of a breach with the English. This will undoubtedly happen if the English claim to search their ships, as is generally feared.
It is rumoured that the king of Scotland has already arrived in Flanders, staying two days in Brussels incognito, and leaving it to make a public entry later; that he proceeded to Bruges to stay there some time and try and rekindle the flames in this kingdom against the present government and in favour of his own cause. But these are rumours circulating in this city which must not be implicitly believed. Time will show what truth there is in them, and I will try to find out.
The letters which come to-day from Dover bring word that the ship on which the Cav. Sagredo embarked had left that port with a favourable wind and was pursuing a prosperous voyage.
London, the 24th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 25.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
277. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
There is some talk of using the naval forces of Portugal against England and of making peace between Spain and Portugal. Some jealousy is felt over this at the Imperial Court as one of the first conditions might be a marriage between the Prince of Portugal and the Infanta of Spain. The Marquis Castel Rodrigo assures the ministers here that there is no idea of any such thing and as proof he points out that his king has declared war on England because he will not support an insult, so he is not likely to make peace and give a crown to a vassal and rebel.
Vienna, the 25th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
278. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Bordeos has set out for his embassy in ordinary and it is supposed that the English fleet, which is fully equipped and ready in every particular will not sail before his arrival, as he takes with him the secret agreement between these two countries, so that they may concert their operations. It is announced in London that the entire fleet is destined for the Indies, but here they believe, all the same, that some of the ships will pass through the Strait and entering the Mediterranean will unite with the fleet of France. This continues its steady preparations for putting out, and although they will not be able to equip more than one or two galleys at most, they will have a good squadron of ships and a certain number of fireships. But what the designs of these naval forces may be in the Mediterranean or in our province is not a matter to be grasped quite so easily.
Paris, the 28th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 28.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
279. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
At the invitation of the Catholic the king of England has betaken himself to Flanders, since the declaration of war against Cromwell. Accompanied by a few persons he arrived at Brussels last week and received a cordial welcome from the Archduke and the ministers there. Meanwhile we are in the dark as to the employment that he may get and it is equally doubtful what advantage or convenience the Spaniards will derive from this sham stone of the vanished authority of the kings of England, utterly destitute of power and deprived of the party and intelligencies which it used to have in Scotland.
Paris, the 28th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
280. Domenico Zane and Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassadors in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The fleet has arrived. They now laugh at Cromwell for it matters little whether he goes with his numerous ships to the Indies now that the millions have passed from the Indies into Spain. Their delight over the fleet makes amends for all the present troubles. In Flanders they claim to be well supplied with leaders and troops. They know that the main effort will not be made in Catalonia this year and that Cromwell has lost his hopes of support from the fleet which has arrived and which will help them to defence against all.
Madrid, the 29th March, 1656.
[Italian.]
March 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
281. To the Resident in England.
Acknowledge his despatch No. 5. Approval of his operations. With regard to the Protector's indisposition, should it be prolonged, we are sure that you will perform such offices of regret as you may judge to be proper, all directed to showing the most lively desire of the Senate that his Highness may enjoy every possible prosperity. We understand that the fleet there is sailing soon, and the secrecy observed concerning the orders to be given to it. It seems, nevertheless, that there is talk in more than one quarter of designs upon some port in the Mediterranean. We give this to compare with your own similar advices and so that you may continue your investigations as to the fact.
Ayes, 156. Noes, 4. Neutral, 6.
[Italian.]
March 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
282. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The fleet sailed as reported. For some days conditions were as favourable as at the start, but subsequently it met with fierce and contrary winds and was compelled to return to the ports here, after tossing some time at sea, to the notable detriment of the ships and those on board. The government is much displeased at its return, the more so because it was believed to be a great distance from these shores. They stayed three days in port, when the wind became favourable again and permitted them to sail. It resumed its voyage the day before yesterday with no less prosperity than on the first occasion and it is hoped that fortune will now prove more propitious. A general fast to implore the favour of the Almighty has been ordered throughout England, which will be observed next Monday. The people will then offer their vows for the prosperous advancement of that fleet and success in its enterprises. These still remain hidden and impenetrable. They will also pray for all those of their faith who perished recently in the revolutions of Piedmont; for those Protestants who lost their lives in the present war between the Swiss Cantons, and beseech the Divine Majesty to prosper their arms in the Indies which are admitted to be in a very depressed and unhappy condition.
At the news here of the arrival of the fleet in Spain, after missing 2 years, all the merchants here seem exultant and joyful because of the profit they gain thereby. But the government does not rejoice as it sees the disappearance of its hopes of intercepting it and capturing it if possible. But now the English fleet will not have much to do at the Strait. The designs of this government require watching, though it is difficult to penetrate them from the secrecy observed.
Some English ships which had left the ports here for Portugal have been taken by the Dutch. The Protector was incensed at the news and remonstrated with the ambassador of the States here. That minister explained why his masters had taken this step, the chief one alleged being that the ships were laden with munitions and arms for their enemies. Cromwell seemed satisfied with the ambassador's reply, but all the same they claim the restitution of everything taken.
The rumours persist of the arrival of the king of Scotland in Flanders but they are not fully confirmed. Here the apprehension that his Majesty's vicinity may stir up those who are ill affected to the present government to some disturbance moves them to exercise the greatest care to thwart all intrigues against it. Thus they have marched troops of cavalry through London, with orders to visit all the stables of those who are most suspect and take away all the horses. In the three days that this hunt has lasted they have carried off more than 300 horses. There is a great and bitter outcry, but no attention is paid to this, as all force resides in the hands of the present ruler.
The secretary of the French ambassador left yesterday to go and meet his master. (fn. 10) It is said that he will be back here from Paris next week. The state has sent a strongly armed frigate to take him at Calais.
London, the 31st March, 1656.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 A 38-gun frigate built in 1650. Oppenheim: Administration of the Royal Navy, page 330. It was in Stokes Bay and caught fire on 13 February o.s. but did not blow up until it had been burning 5 hours. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655–6, pages 468, 471. The Mercurius Politicus (Feb. 14–21) states that not a man was lost. It was apparently replaced by the Hampshire a later built ship of the same class. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655–6, pages 471, 476.
2 See note at page 177 above.
3 John Pell. He left Geneva for Zurich on Thursday, 24 February n.s. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. iv., page 546.
4 Peace between the Cantons of Zurich and Berne of the one part and Lucerne, Uri, Schweitz, Unterwalden and Zug of the other was signed at Baden on 26 February o.s. Dumont gives the text of two treaties, Corps Diplomatique, Vol. vi., part ii., pages 130–6.
5 Edward Rolt. He was at Hamburg on 26 February. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. iv., page 556.
6 Thomas Maynard. He did not arrive until 3 May. Publick Intelligencer, April 28–May 5.
7 Capt. William Whitehorn in the Gainsborough was put in command of the squadron in the Downs on 9–19 March. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655–6, page 502.
8 The list of attendances at the Council shows that only Montagu and Pickering were absent for any time and the latter only missed the Council meetings between April 1st and 23rd. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655–6, page xxix. Meadowe sailed from Plymouth on March 11. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. iv., page 598.
9 Col. William Lockhart, recommended by the Council on 29 February o.s. Cal S.P. Dom. 1655–6, page 204.
10 M. de la Bastide. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. iv., page 619. The Reserve was sent to Calais for the ambassador, who was expected in the Downs on the 24th March o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655–6, page 515.