Venice
February 1658

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1931

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157-169

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'Venice: February 1658', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 31: 1657-1659 (1931), pp. 157-169. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90007 Date accessed: 22 July 2014.


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February 1658

Feb. 1.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
132. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Wednesday the day before yesterday in the morning parliament was re-opened, after a recess of several months. The Upper House also assembled, to which the Protector betook himself. Arrived there he took his place under a superb canopy, all the lords and judges being arranged there according to the ancient custom of that house. The members of the lower chamber also went there and his Highness delivered to them all a short and eloquent speech upon the internal affairs of these realms. He then caused one of the commissioners of the great seal to deliver a longer discourse on the same questions, (fn. 1) apologising for not going on himself because he was not quite well. He proceeded from Whitehall to Westminster by water and thence by coach to the palace in great pomp. Other of his coaches followed and some magnificent led horses, adorned with superb saddles and cloths, majestic for the gold and jewels they contained, as well as the usual guards on horse and foot. A great crowd of people assembled out of curiosity to see his return in state and it would have been greater but for the heavy snowfall which kept many at home.
Neither that day nor since have the two houses done anything of consequence, the time being spent solely in appointing the ministers to serve his Highness, those in the lower resuming the charges they held last year before they separated.
Wednesday next is appointed as a day of fasting and humiliation for the members only, to ask Divine help in their deliberations, on which I will keep an eye and make report.
The gentleman who arrived recently in the name of the Queen of Sweden has recently seen the Protector, without any of the formalities customary with duly accredited ministers. He presented the letter to his Highness, which was written in French. He spoke in Italian, the only ones present being Cromwell, the treasurer, Vitlock and the master of the ceremonies, who was summoned to act as interpreter, the Protector having ordered all the others, usually present, to leave the room, in response to the gentleman's wish. The real reason for his coming cannot be learned and one hears no talk about it. From intimations which reach me from a reliable source I imagine that he has come to suggest some attack to be made jointly by the French and English in the coming campaign against the kingdom of Naples, which is represented as being easy to conquer. The two powers aspire to conquests in Italy, and if they saw any likelihood here of any of these suggestions being carried out there is no doubt that they would give active assistance to the French to achieve their intent.
In addition to the ships already sent into the Mediterranean, others are under orders to go there, so that soon 14 great ships of war will be sailing those waters. Besides humbling the pride of the Barbary corsairs they will be in a position to support and further any enterprise that the French may think of undertaking in that province. The fact that Queen Christina has taken into her service a large number of Neapolitan exiles who have taken refuge at Paris, and the presence with her Majesty of the duke of Guise, who on a previous occasion went to Italy to conquer Naples, confirms the impression that these persons have persuaded her to send this gentleman, to urge an enterprise which they may be meditating in conjunction with the Most Christian, as there is no sign of any other business that she can possibly have at this Court. The information that the people of Naples are very disaffected against the government and that the country is full of bandits will serve as an inducement to the French and English, who in view of the treaties between them should work together in any attack on that kingdom, at the instigation of the Queen of Sweden, whose head is full of schemes, and lead them to carry out the designs which they certainly cherish against our province, unless God, who disposes while men propose, is pleased to deliver it from the threatened scourge.
The ambassador extraordinary of Portugal makes no progress with his negotiations; the obstacle which delays his progress in making the levy granted in Scotland appears to be lack of money, which is longer in coming from Lisbon than was expected, to the disgust of those who undertook the recruitment, and to the detriment of the service on which the soldiers were to be employed. No other minister is able to do anything at Court just now either as the opening of parliament has taken up the attention of everybody so that there has been no time to attend to anything else.
With the last letters from France came those of your Excellencies of the 22nd December, enclosing that for the Protector which I will present when I can get access. The orders of the 29th have also just reached me. Meanwhile I have informed the old Galilee of the release of his son and the satisfaction of his claims, for which he thanked me, blessing the munificence of the state. When I asked him if he knew any Turk who was a slave in the Venetian fleet of the same rank as his son, he said he would find out and send word to the Capitan General da Mar.
Colonel Cuch, who was to have given me information to-day about ships for the levy, has put it off telling me that he has not yet all the information that he wants, so I must wait for another ordinary.
London, the 1st February, 1658.
[Italian.]
Feb. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Genova.
Venetian
Archives.
133. Paris Tasca, Venetian Consul at Genoa, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Commander (fn. 2) asked permission of his Highness of Tuscany to careen his frigates in Porto Ferraio, and when this was denied him he expressed his dissatisfaction in a somewhat unseemly manner (con qualche improprieta). For this reason he sent to the state here an express messenger asking with great urgency for permission to clean his vessels in one of their ports here, and accordingly their lordships have allowed the ports of Vado and the Gulf of Spezia, with leave to provide themselves with everything required.
Genoa, the 2nd February, 1658.
[Italian.]
Feb. 2.
Inquisitori
di Stato.
Busta 480.
Venetian
Archives.
134. Anzolo Corraro, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Inquisitors of State.
Encloses sheets of advices.
Rome, the 2nd February, 1658.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.135. Cologne, the 30th December, 1657.
The French have introduced into Mardich ten more companies of infantry, as a reinforcement and the English have brought thither by sea 40 bronze guns. There is nothing the Protector Cromwell is so set upon as the maintenance of that town, and he means to make it into a capital city and call it the court of Oliver. On the other side the Spaniards have introduced into Gravelines 800 carts with all things necessary and they have celebrated the birth of the Infant of Spain in all the Catholic towns and provinces of Flanders.
London, the 27th December, 1657.
With the approach of the time for parliament to meet again in the coming month of January, they are putting into execution with the utmost severity the laws and acts against the poor Catholics. Everyone suspected of being of that faith is asked to take the oath of abjuration. Those who do not take it lose two thirds of their goods and possessions. Yet many in different counties have refused it saying that they would rather commit their souls to God than their purses and effects to the Protector. The worst is that some of those who have abjured are revealing to the secretary Turloe and the council of state the abiding places of more than 100 priests, with their names. In consequence of this nine have been taken but so far they have not been brought to trial. None the less this manner of proceeding terrifies all who profess the Catholic rite, as they perceive that there are traitors among them who know almost all the priests who are in this country.
They write from Jamaica that the plantation of the English is making great progress in that island, so that in a few years they hope that they will have a sufficiency of supplies of fruit and indeed render it more fruitful. They have sent three ships to the Bermoados to take thither 500 to 600 more colonists.
Disputes have arisen between the members of the Levant Company, which have been referred for judgment to six persons. It is difficult to find out what it is about because the Protector conducts the affairs of that company with the utmost secrecy.
We hear from Lisbon that the sugar fleet of Brazil has arrived there, except 14 ships, which were taken by the Dutch.
[Italian.]
Feb. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Archives.
136. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Court neither embraces nor puts aside the suggestions of the queen of Sweden for an attack on the kingdom of Naples. The position is unchanged except that to give more credit to the design I understand that the queen has sent a gentleman to Sweden and to Cromwell an unfrocked Theatine, the one who confessed Monaldeschi, because their help would enable her to carry out her plan. She considers it quite feasible and that it would prove most useful to the Swede and to the Protector also by diverting their enemies' forces from Germany and Flanders. In short the queen hopes to get help from these two states, money from the king and ships from the Protector and pressure on France from both to support the undertaking, which so far has not progressed favourably and which wise men consider impracticable.
Paris, the 5th February, 1658.
[Italian.]
Feb. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
137. Domenico Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The galleons for the Indies have not yet started. God grant that they do not put off too long, until the English return to infest these waters, although the latter aspire not to those which are going but to those which are coming from the Indies. They are exceedingly few in numbers, since there are but few merchants who, with the example of the late disasters, are willing to lade goods for the new world.
Madrid, the 6th February, 1658.
[Italian.]
Feb. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
138. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
News arrives from all sides that the French are arming at Toulon some 24 to 26 vessels, to be ready at the end of March, and to be commanded by M. Pollo and the duke of Guise. There is some design against Calabria, and great alarm is felt at Naples. In this plan also the English are to co-operate jointly by secret agreements, with their ships and with the frigates here, which meanwhile cruise about these waters searching all the vessels they come across, by violent methods, without the smallest regard. But to-day we hear that they have moved in the direction of Barbary, to see if they can make a new peace with those of Tunis and Tripoli with the release of their countrymen who are slaves there, so that they may be quite ready thereafter to give the French a hand in the aforesaid designs. As these same English frigates have not been able to careen either here or at Porto Ferraio, I hear that they have asked permission of the Genoese to do it in their ports, and that this has been granted at some, as your Serenity may have learned from the spot. Men of sound judgment imagine that they have made this concession rather as a kind of rebuke (per dar in onta) than from any desire they had to make it of their free will. I am also informed that the Grand Duke has sent to Cromwell in England his justification upon the unlawful pretensions and the high handed procedure adopted in this port by the English commander of the aforesaid frigates, (fn. 3) showing scant esteem and contempt, and that with this expedition the English merchants here and the Agent himself have supported the Grand Duke's contentions and have written entirely in his favour.
Leghorn, the 8th February, 1657. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 8.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
139. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In accordance with the resolution of parliament on the day it reassembled, all last Wednesday was spent by the houses in prayer and humiliation to implore the Divine assistance in their deliberations. So far they have only appointed committees to discuss the proposals adopted on which they subsequently make report to the assembly, with their opinion and appropriate considerations, so that a decision may be reached upon better grounds and with more security.
Considering that he did not make himself sufficiently clear in his first speech, which I reported, Cromwell decided to make another which should render the members more fully acquainted with the state of current affairs. He therefore notified parliament that he wished them to come to Whitehall as he had something to say to them. Accordingly they went at the appointed hour and found Cromwell waiting for them in the great Hall of the palace, which is used for great occasions and for the audiences of the foreign ministers. When the members had taken their places his Highness began the speech which he had prepared for them. (fn. 4) In this, with eloquence and digressions, he set forth the actual position of affairs, asking them to take these into due consideration and come to decisions calculated to establish and consolidate the present rule. He enlarged upon the behaviour of the Dutch, saying that in spite of their outward protestations that they wished to preserve and constantly increase friendly relations with this state, they cherish a secret and most ardent devotion for the interests of the Spaniards, which they have proved by their actions whenever an opportunity has presented itself. It was therefore necessary to keep a close watch on their proceedings to prevent any mischief that they might be contriving against this government. Among many other things which he knew the Dutch were considering to disturb the repose which England at present enjoys, they were to supply the Spaniards with a sufficient number of barques to transport some thousands of infantry which the Spaniards, to gratify King Charles, designed to throw upon some part of the coast of this kingdom, to cause confusion in the country and stir up those who remain quiet, in order to gain some advantage for the Stuart cause, which has their protection.
In addition to these remarks which are calculated to stir up animosity against the Dutch, something else has occurred which will serve to increase it and which might produce something to their disadvantage. In East Indian waters an English merchantman was encountered by a Dutch warship, which approached and wished to search it. (fn. 5) When the Englishman refused the Dutchman compelled it by firing his guns. Accordingly the Dutch boarded the ship pretending that it carried goods belonging to Portuguese. Finding nothing of this sort they departed, cursing the English after firing their guns and killing some of the sailors. When the news reached the parties concerned they made complaint to the Protector, who was much incensed, considering it an affront to the English nation. But if they claim supremacy here in the Ocean, and the Dutch have accepted it, it is not reasonable that they should lord it in Indian waters as well, where they have no possessions and where the Dutch dominate. If the English claim to search the Dutch to prevent them carrying Spanish goods they cannot complain if the Dutch retaliate by taking care that they do not oblige their open enemies the Portuguese in any way.
Dounin has arrived safely at the Hague, but no despatches have yet been received from him, to the astonishment of the Court, which is waiting eager to hear of his negotiations, and of the proposals made to him by the Dutch who were so anxious for him to come.
The Swedish ministers raise a great outcry against the elector of Brandenburg because his subjects have taken a ship belonging to their king, which was sailing in the Baltic with a cargo of munitions of war and provisions towards the places where the Swedish army is encamped, to keep it supplied. The English merchants also cry out against that elector, whose ministers have arrested in one of his ports an English ship with a very rich cargo. After taking out all the cargo they ordered it to be sunk and this was done. The Protector is greatly incensed and told the parties that he would certainly lose no opportunity of avenging the affront. The elector's minister here declares that it certainly was committed without the knowledge or consent of his master, who would be very wroth, seeing the friendship which he professes for this nation. (fn. 6)
Colonel Cuch was to have made proposals to your Serenity about ships to serve in the fleet against the Turk. I expected him to let me have them in writing, as he did about the troops, but he has only proposed that if the most serene republic wants ships of this nation he will bring as many as they please for 2,700 thalers a month, the price already granted to one Brun, captain of the ship Margherita, of 38 guns and 70 men which has been in the fleet since 1652. On these terms he will bring your Serenity as many of this burthen as you wish, promising all the securities you may desire. If you wish for ships of 50 or more guns with larger crews he will bring them to join the fleet in the Levant at a price corresponding to the number ordered. He has specified thalers in his estimate, but this must be a mistake for ducats, which is what your Serenity usually pays in. He asks for a speedy decision, so that if his offer is accepted he may get to work as soon as possible.
London, the 8th February, 1658.
[Italian.]
Feb. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Genova.
Venetian
Archives.
140. Paris Tasca, Venetian Consul at Genoa, to the Doge and Senate.
The English frigates which had received permission to go and careen in these ports continue nevertheless off that of Leghorn, using violence to all the craft that arrive there. When the ministers of the Grand Duke complained about this to the commander of the squadron, they received a very impertinent answer.
Genoa, the 9th February, 1658.
[Italian.]
Feb. 15.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
141. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In the sessions of parliament held last year various acts were passed and legalised by the supreme authority of the Protector. Among these was one in which Cromwell was petitioned to make choice of an upper chamber to sit in January, when they were to reassemble, as has actually happened. As a matter of fact the act merely specified that another chamber should be nominated, without calling it “Upper” or “Lords,” but the Protector interpreted the intention of parliament to be to set up the chamber as it was in the times of the kings, with all the power, authority and prerogatives enjoyed by its predecessors. The house of Commons now thinks that its authority has been taken away and all conferred on the other, which it desired merely as a companion not as a master, and they all but repent of the act they passed. Instead of considering the points contained in his Highness's speech at Whitehall, setting forth the present state of affairs with England and other foreign powers, and asking for a speedy supply of money with the least possible burden on the people, to supply the needs of the state and assist friends and allies, it seems that the members began a dispute among themselves against the recognition as such of the house of Lords created by the Protector, but merely for what they intended it to be, namely that decisions must be taken with the consent of both chambers, and it was not for the Commons to propose and the Lords to decide, as was the custom in the time of the kings and as the Protector intended.
To postpone still further the time for considering the particulars set forth by Cromwell the Lower House petitioned his Highness to grant permission to have the speech made at Whitehall printed. It seemed absurd to Cromwell that parliament should wish to print what he had confided to it on the assumption that it would be kept secret for proper consideration and not exposed to the view of all the world to be criticised and commented upon in accordance with personal prejudice.
The Protector considered that the interposition of such obstacles by parliament indicated lukewarmness in dealing with the questions which he had laid before them and seeing that the disputes about recognising the house of Lords became more intense with little appearance of coming soon to an end, all for the sake of temporising, possibly in the hope of gaining some advantage for their claims, he resolved to cut the thread, of those disorders, which might arise from such differences, by dissolving parliament and ordering that it should not meet again.
Accordingly yesterday morning he went unexpectedly and privately to the house of Lords. Taking his place there he sent to notify the Commons where he was and to summon them to come to him, as he had something to say to them. The Lower House at once proceeded to the Upper and on their arrival the Protector delivered a brief, serious and masterful speech. After expressing his personal regret that the members, instead of considering the matters he had laid before them were wasting time in disputing and debating upon a question already settled, which he had accepted and confirmed at their request. This being so he had appointed persons to compose the Upper House, all fit and capable men for the service of the state, and he had made them take the oath to govern in accordance with the laws that were being drawn up. While he had consented and meant to abide by it always, he perceived that they had forgotten what they had enacted, and what they were obliged to uphold for their own reputation and the honour of the state. In addition to this he had excellent information that some of them had tried to stir up trouble in the city of London, to excite feeling in the country, to corrupt and pervert the army, in short to throw everything into disorder, stirring the people to rebellion, and so encouraging the designs of enemies, and especially of King Charles, who has a strong force of horse and foot on the shores of Flanders, all ready to cross the sea and is only waiting for such an opportunity. He had undertaken the heavy burden he bears confiding in their promises and in the hope that they would always remain faithful to maintain and propagate the present rule. But seeing that they were now wavering and rather contriving broils and dissensions than studying to bring order and consolidate the present state of affairs, it was his intention that neither house should meet again, and so he declared parliament dissolved. Let everyone return to his own house; and the authors of trouble, who were very well known to him, would not fail to pay the penalty of their evil intentions.
Meanwhile one Curtene has been sent to the Tower, under suspicion of promoting such things. (fn. 7) Other arrests are expected as well as confiscation of goods. Thus parliament has only lasted fifteen days since it reassembled, and the dissolution may lead to trouble. As men say that Cromwell will never summon parliament again, one may expect this state to adopt a new form of government. I will keep on the alert.
A large number of troops, both horse and foot, has been brought into London and guards set in every part of the city. The attention of Court being thus engaged in preventing disorder, they think of nothing else, to the chagrin and discomfort of the foreign ministers, who long for access to the Protector to fulfil their instructions.
After forwarding the proposals of Colonel Cuch about ships, it seemed to me that his claims were very high and I thought it my duty to take further information. I find that many ships of this nation have served your Serenity for pay even higher than what Cuch claims, but I also find that ships can be hired from the merchants here at a considerably lower rate, as I gather they may be had for little more than 300l. sterling a month, very much less than Cuch asks.
An engineer here has shown me a model of a portable oven for the consideration of the Senate. He claims that it will be very useful for naval or military forces. He says it has been tested successfully and offers the secret to the Senate for a very moderate reward.
London, the 15th February, 1658.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.142. An oven made of bronze or iron, which may be carried anywhere, to cook bread, pastry etc., invented for an army, which has sometimes been obliged to abandon an enterprise for lack of something of the kind. An oven of this sort, 3 feet in diameter, weighing not more than 250 pounds, in the space of 24 hours will cook 1000 lbs. of bread with little expenditure of wood, coal or other fuel. This oven is very necessary for a fleet to provide fresh bread every day, and so preserve soldiers and sailors from many diseases caused by the lack of it. It is found by experience that bread baked in this oven is better and tastes better than any other. The oven can be opened to see if the bread is baked, without reducing the heat, as the fire is kept going, but the smoke does not injure the bread, and bread which is baked can be removed and other bread put in its place.
The oven can be made of any size desired.
[Sketch enclosed.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
143. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
I wish to add a most secret conference which I had with Draperis, the dragoman of England. In substance he enlarged to me upon the goodwill of the ambassador, his master, in refusing the ships of his nation to the Turks; but he added that there were cases in which it was impossible to resist the violence of these barbarians, an opinion which does not harmonise with the outspoken declaration of his Excellency on a previous occasion, of his determination never to give ships to the Turks. Taking this in conjunction with what one remembers happened last year, when an English ship was found at the Dardanelles among the Turkish fleet, (fn. 8) which fought against the forces of your Serenity, I fear some mischief, and the matter will require close attention, for which I stimulated the dragoman with all my might.
Adrianople, the 17th February, 1658.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Feb. 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
144. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A week ago I reported the dissolution of parliament with the remarks made by the Protector. I must now acquaint your Excellencies with other motives, not then made known, and passed over in Cromwell's speech to the members, which had more influence in forming his sudden decision, which no sooner entered his mind than he acted decisively, without losing a moment, to the chagrin of the parliamentarians, who left Westminster ruefully and who continue to show their mortification and soreness at the affront received, especially as this is the fourth occasion, as since the Protector has had the government of these realms he has dissolved four parliaments.
As a fact certain members of both houses, who preserve some spark of affection for their natural prince Charles, mentioned him by name in the house, stating in reply to others about reintroducing the question of raising the Protector to the throne, that if they wanted a king, it was not necessary to declare a new one, but to recall the true heir to the throne, to whom the direction of this government legitimately belongs. On this point they advanced many arguments calculated to show their objection to granting Cromwell this exalted post.
Parliament intended to pass an act that no tax or imposition should be paid except by order of parliament, not of the Protector as has been the practice hitherto, and this would have deprived Cromwell of the overwhelming authority he exercises and consequently would have reduced the obedience shown him by the people, more out of fear than love. Parliament was asking the Protector for a detailed account of all the money received for some time past and of how it has been spent. Parliament also claimed to take the army out of the Protector's hands and to command it itself, nominating a general dependent on itself, and to be alone recognised as chief and sovereign. When his Highness got scent of these intentions of parliament, so utterly prejudicial to his authority, he broke up the assembly in the manner reported, representing his action as due to his passion for repose and sincerity, and not mentioning any of the things given above.
Since the dissolution the Council of State has met only once, (fn. 9) the Protector labouring by himself in his own apartment to devise the expedients which may be required to prevent disorder which he may consider imminent owing to the ill humour which he observes in the people. They are extremely incensed at the breaking up of parliament and cry aloud against the present rule. If they were strong enough to shake off the yoke they would not lose a moment in rushing emulously to destroy the one who now holds so much power and entire control of these nations.
Undoubtedly the Protector is not a little apprehensive at this moment, when he considers the intentions he observed among the parliamentarians, who were rather opposed to his wishes than inclined to favour him, as he supposed. Thus, not knowing whom he can trust, he is thinking out the steps which he ought to take by himself. He cannot even make use of the secretary of state, his devoted partisan, who has had a relapse in his prolonged sickness, and cannot rise from his bed to take part in anything. Cromwell is so deeply plunged in embarrassment and distress that he is now even taking his meals alone. It has been observed with amazement that in eight days he has only once sat at table with his wife and family, whereas he used to do so every morning and evening.
Besides the gentleman sent to the Tower others have since been imprisoned, including a minister or preacher, who was plotting the destruction of this government with the others. (fn. 10) Several printed libels have been found in the rooms of those arrested, some of which were enclosed in letters addressed to persons in the country, to urge them to revolt and rioting. Their contents was of the most pernicious description, and many were distributed among the troops and others in different parts of this city. Many colonels and captains of the army have been changed, many soldiers cashiered and to-day
21 of his Highness's horse guards dismissed. A great part of the troops of Scotland and Ireland are being sent to England. From all this it may be concluded that the Protector is at present full of apprehension. In addition to the things mentioned above this may be due to accurate information he possesses of the designs of King Charles who, considering the present time opportune, when the minds of his subjects are greatly stirred, seems inclined to attempt some venture across the sea. A trustworthy person has informed me in confidence that his Majesty is only waiting for the break up of the frost to cross the water with an adequate body of troops and make a descent upon this kingdom. In such case it is thought that many would side with him, and they say that in this metropolis alone there are 20,000 men who have signed an undertaking to take up arms the moment they know that his Majesty's partisans have entered England. It is said that the body of troops is composed in part of Englishmen whom the king has about him, and in part of those who were in the district of Munster and were disbanded after the settlement of the dispute between the bishop and tribunal there, and part furnished by the Dutch, who also supply ships and other contingencies. All these particulars come from the lips of one of commander's rank who, if the king succeeds in landing, should be seen at the head of a considerable army on his Majesty's side. (fn. 11) From the king every week he receives express messengers, effectively disguised, for the completion of their plans. If they are carried out there will be great slaughter with much bloodshed. No one will escape the fury of the people, who will tear all to pieces, without regard to sex or rank, so great is the rancour which they cherish against the present government.
It is two week's since letters arrived from Flanders, and consequently those from Germany, Italy and other places which come with them are also lacking. It was supposed that the ice and perverse weather detained them, but the severity of the cold has mitigated and since nothing has come it is suspected that the Spaniards are stopping them, to prevent the designs of King Charles being disclosed, and unless these fall through, that they will not release them until the king of Scotland has embarked and is on his way to the place where he means to land. In the absence of the ordinaries there is no news from anywhere and nothing is happening here beyond the particulars given above. No business is being done at Court, and no minister can make any progress with his negotiations, owing to the embarrassments which require all the attention and wit of the ruler.

London, the 22nd February, 1658.
[Italian; deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 Nathaniel Fiennes. This speech is printed in Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. vii, page 582.
2 Captain John Stoakes, who commanded in the Mediterranean after Blake returned home.
3 John Stoakes.
4 On Monday 25 January, o.s.
5 This apparently refers to the East Indiaman Society attacked on 25 April, 1657, when 200 leagues to the south of the Cape of Good Hope by the Orange, when homeward bound from Masulipatam. A petition and remonstrance on the subject were presented by the East India Co. to the Protector on 18 January o.s. Sainsbury: Court Minutes of the East India Company, 1655–9, pages 215–7.
6 The Thomas of Ipswich, master Thomas Dunn. The event occurred at Pillau in May, 1657. Schlezer to the Elector, 25 Dec., 1657 o.s. Urkunden und Actenstucke zur geschichte des Kurfurst F.W. von Brandenburg, Vol. iv, page 786. Cromwell wrote to the Elector on the subject on 18 February. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. vi, page 812.
7 Hugh Courtney, an Anabaptist leader, arrested 3–13 February. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. vi, page 775.
8 The Recovery, in the action of 17 July. See pp. 87, 130 above. There was also the case of the Principe di Toscana in 1655. See the preceding Vol. of this Calendar, pages 70, 74.
9 The Council seems to have met on the 9th and 11th Feb. o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1657–8, pp. 280, 286.
10 John Portman and John Rogers; the latter was a preacher who had received Presbyterian ordination. See Mercurius Politicus, Feb. 4–11.
11 This may refer to the earl of Ormonde who was in London in secret for about 3 weeks in February. Firth: Last Years of the Protectorate, Vol. ii, page 61.