Venice
April 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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181-191

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'Venice: April 1658', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 31: 1657-1659 (1931), pp. 181-191. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90009 Date accessed: 17 September 2014.


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April 1658

April 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives
154. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In addition to the precautions against disorder already taken of sending the royalists to their country houses, and further of making a list of all the persons left in London and their quality, on Tuesday night they unexpectedly caused the soldiers to make a careful search of all the houses in the city, not even exempting those of the foreign ministers, although that of the Swedish envoy was the only one visited. Many suspects of the king's party were dragged out of their beds and haled to prison. Of these, on the following day some were released and others more closely confined, according to their innocence or guilt, as gathered from their depositions, though even those released gave pledges for their loyalty, and to present themselves before the magistrate again whenever called upon to disculpate themselves from any charges made against them. A number of horses of certain gentlemen were also seized that night; and a fresh order having been sent to all the parishes to make another list of the names of the inhabitants everyone is dreading further visits from the soldiers, which cause general vexation among the people, at being roused from their sleep and disturbed.
All these precautions serve to show the fears of the government over the designs of the king of Scotland. His delay in attempting what was disclosed so many weeks ago with such great confidence is supposed to be due to the lack of something needed for the vigorous prosecution of his plans. It is feared, even among his friends, that the measures taken by the Protector have thwarted the happy issue that was prefigured and which is required for the relief of his suffering family, deserted as it is by its own relations and forced to seek its food elsewhere, and for the benefit of his most just cause, which though abandoned by men may one day have the protection of God, bringing consolation and prosperity to his Majesty and to all his house.
Following up the recommendations of the Protector to the city, to keep the militia of London, entirely composed of citizens, quite fit, they held a muster this week, and the common council decided to increase it by 5 regiments, which are being collected in the city itself. The day before yesterday his Highness also held a review of his own troops, 12,000 effectives being assembled, all fine men. Their numbers are constantly increased as they enlist fresh soldiers daily; so they are trying to put themselves in a thorough posture of defence, capable of resisting any attack of the enemy.
The secretary of the late Dutch ambassador Nieuport arrived in London unexpectedly at the end of last week. (fn. 1) He brought letters for the Protector, but it is not possible to know their contents because they have not yet been presented although he has pressed for an interview. He will not find it easy to get one soon and he will be put off like so many other ministers, as their internal affairs at present do not allow of audience being given to any one.
After the secretary's arrival the ambassador's servant, who stayed here when his Excellency went, departed for the Hague. It is supposed that the former will remain in London until the ambassador's return, which he says will take place before long, unless further causes of offence arise between the two nations leading to trouble and open hostility. For many months past they have been talking of what might happen if it was found that the Dutch were really assisting the plans of King Charles and that the ships his Majesty has at Ostend belonged to the States and had not been bought or hired by the king of private merchants, as the Dutch assert and want them to believe here.
The commissioners of Sweden having finished the business which detained them in London in the manner reported, two of them (fn. 2) recently set out for home, leaving their third colleague, Barchman, here, who remains with his original character of commissioner.
With the melting of the abundance of snow which has fallen everywhere these last months, all rivers have been flooded with water. Those of England have swollen extraordinarily, especially the Thames, many houses being destroyed and some persons drowned.
The president of the Levant Company has been to see me today, asking me to give him a letter for your Excellencies to go with a captain he is sending to Venice, to go on the Levant and go on board the ship Nortombria, which lacks a commander, that being the ship which sustained the attack in the last fight at the Dardanelles. Those interested in the ship ask for a letter to the Captain General to allow the captain to take charge. The president renewed his pressure for the payment of the large sums due to the ships Nortombria and Paramore, declaring that they had only received a trifling sum on account. I promised the letter, which I will hand to the captain in a few days, and as for the debts I assured him of the state's desire to satisfy them and did my best to induce him to leave the ships in the service. From what he said I gather that this will be done for the approaching campaign, after which he asserts that the interested parties will recall the ships unless payment is made with the utmost promptitude.
London, the 5th April, 1658.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
155. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Now that the English ambassador is receiving visits, from which he excused himself all the winter on the plea of the indisposition of himself and his wife, I have been to call upon him. He had asked leave to wait upon me the day before, but by reason of other appointments I was unable to receive him.
After the usual compliments I told him of the preparations of the Turks against the most serene republic, particularly against Dalmatia, and represented how much Christian princes were concerned to prevent an increase of the Ottoman power in the world. He said he would be pleased to make representations to his master in favour of the republic. I thanked him and went on to say that should the Spaniards take up the question of a congress as recently suggested here for peace, the Venetian ministers would have instructions to interpose for the satisfaction of the Lord Protector, according to the measure of the information imparted to them. I judged this touch to be necessary seeing that the intervention of the English at the congress of Flanders is a capital demand. Locart was very pleased and said that his master certainly desired peace, particularly as he had trouble enough in his own house, and because the English, being one of the nations most devoted to commerce, suffered untold injuries.
He then proceeded to a heated discourse complaining of and threatening the pope, for the injuries he declared he inflicted on his master, while the Protector, for his part, always respected “Monsieur le Pape” as he called him, and his states. He went on to say that since he was so ill treated without a cause, it would be necessary in the future to deserve it. I said I had never heard of the pope abusing his master, but as head of the Church he necessarily busied himself with matters of religion, a difficult subject to discuss with restraint. The ambassador replied that it was not matters of religion which obliged Monsieur le Pape to abuse his master, because there were other princes in Europe of the same faith who were not molested and he indicated chiefly the sons of the late king of England, who were at least as much Protestants as the Protector. He wound up by saying that out of consideration for France and the Cardinal his master bore it with patience, but in the end his own personal interest would prevail over that of his allies. Upon this I took leave. Apparently it will all end in threats and insults, as if any attack on the ecclesiastical state was contemplated dissimulation and silence would be better.
Frequent conferences have taken place these last days between the English ambassador and the king's ministers. I find that the alliance has been confirmed for another year, the previous annual period having recently expired; and the renewal will be made every year during the war. By agreement this is called the treaty of Champagne.
Paris, the 9th April, 1658.
[Italian.]
April 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
156. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the doge and Senate.
While the Protector displays untiring vigilance in thwarting the hopes of the king of Scotland, so that he may be in a position to fear nothing unless there be some secret spark of fire left undiscovered among the numerous ones that have been disclosed by their efforts, to flare up suddenly and cause greater disturbance, the partisans of King Charles are beginning to show more reserve in their talk about his Majesty's coming. Those who made heavy bets are considerably upset, as besides losing their hopes of seeing their master again soon, they have also lost their money, for very soon the time will be up which they fixed for his Majesty's return. At the first appearances indicated that even if it did not take place at least an attempt would be made, but now little hope remains as the precautions taken are too great, in response to the reports spread by the passions of the royalist partisans with too little caution and overweening confidence, subsequently confirmed by information obtained by Cromwell through pensioners in his pay across the sea, who spy upon and report all the actions of Charles and his adherents.
Besides the activity shown in England, which is constantly in evidence, in the constant searching of houses, the arrest of suspects and the seizure of horses, 13 powerful English ships of war are stationed at the mouth of the port of Ostend, the remainder of the 25 sent from here, scouring the coast and approaching Mardich to encourage the inhabitants there. All these things cannot fail to act as obstacles to the realisation of the king's plans, as the 13 blockading Ostend also prevent his Majesty's vessels from coming out, for while the port is large and roomy inside, the entrance is correspondingly narrow, so that only one sail can come out at a time without clear danger of shipwreck, so that even if Charles wished to come out it would not be difficult for the English to prevent and defeat him.
Because the Dutch pretend that the ships which the king of Scotland has belong to him directly, as being bought or hired from private merchants, and are not ships of the States loaned to his Majesty, the English Resident Dounin has presented to the States a memorial full of complaints because they allow their subjects to accommodate the enemies of this government with ships just as they please. He asserts that this is a breach of the agreements between the two nations, and an infringement of the peace at present enjoyed and which ought to be precious to all. It is not yet known what reply the Dutch have given; but in any case they will say that they cannot prevent individuals from doing as they please with their own, or disposing of it to the best advantage.
The Dutch secretary has not yet presented the letter from the States to his Highness as the Protector's preoccupation with internal affairs has not allowed him time to receive the Dutchman. The council continues to meet at all hours of the day, without interruption. It is impossible to find out with certainty what they are discussing, but it would seem that they are devising a way to summon a new parliament. Many assert that it will meet in May next and that it will be a free parliament like the old ones, not like those assembled by the Protector which were left without any authority, that being all reserved to his Highness.
Another question under discussion in the Council just now is about getting rid of the royalists and Catholics still left in the kingdom, by any means. There are some who would allow the soldiers to slay all those they meet wherever they find them. A question of so much importance gives rise to much debate and altercation. Some are opposed to such inhuman measures, more worthy of barbarians than Christians, and there is no likelihood of the Protector consenting to it since he knows full well that it would only increase the irritation of the people, who side with this party but are not devoted to it and support it from fear rather than from natural feeling. They might easily resent such an act of cruelty and prevent it from being put in force, for although they dislike the Catholics and royalists it is not possible that they would allow them to be suppressed in such a wicked fashion.
It being decided to send 3000 infantry to strengthen the troops at Mardich, they have been making up the numbers by taking men from each of the companies here, filling their places by new recruits. They were reviewed recently and to-day they are beginning their march to the coast, to be taken thence across the water.
An express courier arrived yesterday from the Ambassador Locart at Paris. What he brings is hidden from everyone, but it is conjectured that he has come about the arrangements for the next campaign, and considering the hasty despatch of the infantry mentioned above it looks as if the French and English will very soon be attempting some other enterprise on the coasts of Flanders and that the blow will fall upon Dunkirk which has been threatened so long by their united forces. It is said that Locart is to have command of the army in Flanders and that his wife will come to England. In a little while we shall know and I shall be able to report to your Excellencies.
London, the 12th April, 1658.
[Italian.]
April 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
157. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Locart has returned my visit. He told me that he had written to the Protector about the republic and that if nothing was done it was because it was impossible. I thanked him and intimated that the grant of a small squadron of ships could do no harm to the Protector's affairs and would be of great assistance in the republic's war.
From my house Locart went on to see the ambassador of Savoy, and had a long conference with him about the heretics of Piedmont, who have recently taken arms and are on the point of starting another rising against the duke. As Locart had already spoken about this at Court the Savoyard ambassador told him that he wished Locart would speak to him first on such matters. He spoke strongly about the insolence of these heretics. Locart protested that his master would feel as strongly about the Huguenots not obeying the duke, as he would about the Catholics not obeying himself. For the rest he apologises in different ways for the offices he had performed at Court. None the less Cromwell will never desist from protecting these people adroitly, either directly or by means of France for the purpose of keeping with him not only the Protestants of England but all their co-religionists of Europe. France, which has long since aimed at uniting their valleys to Pinarolo, giving other places to the duke of Savoy in exchange, will always be ready to assist them.
Paris, the 16th April, 1658.
[Italian.]
April 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian.
Archives.
158. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
There is no intermission in the meetings of his Highness's Privy Council. They began some months back and with no resolution taken so far it is difficult to imagine when one will appear. The long delay makes everyone conjecture that the matter under discussion is thorny and difficult to digest. What I have succeeded in finding out I have already reported, and it is unnecessary to repeat it. I crave the public indulgence for the shortness of this despatch which is due to the utter absence of news. I hope that will be the easier as I have spent these holy days at home in attending the divine offices in the chapel here, which I have adorned to the best of my power out of reverence for God, to rejoice the afflicted Catholics here and for the glory of the most serene republic.
London, the 19th April, 1658.
[Italian.]
April 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Constantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
159. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of England has arrived to-day. The Vizier has at last agreed to give him permission to come before him, with the intention of gratifying him, so far as he is able, about his claims against the Barbary corsairs, but to receive in return satisfaction and promises of ships of his nation for the service of the Turks, or to divert them from that of your Serenity. I hope to have an opportunity through Draperis, his dragoman, to pay my respects to his Excellency and induce him to stand fast to what is reasonable without committing himself to any promise or intimating anything that may inflict further mischief upon Christendom. All the same it will be necessary to keep a close watch on this point, because the Vizier insists greatly upon it.
Adrianople, the 19th April, 1658.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
160. To the Resident in England.
Events on this side are becoming so important that we have cause to await your letters with great curiosity. You will take what steps are necessary to secure the safety of despatches, endangered by the suspension of intercourse between Flanders and England. You will express your appreciation to those who offer levies, but let the matter drop as the season is so advanced; however you must act so as to keep them well disposed.
Ayes, 115. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
April 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
161. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The commander of the English frigates has refused the proposals made by the governor of Leghorn for the exchange of ships captured, and the English have gone away highly offended, not only because of the sailors detained but because they have not been allowed to take provisions. (fn. 3) The English at Leghorn are afraid that the Grand Duke may write to the Protector about the audacity of the English; but considering the haughtiness of Cromwell himself, even greater disturbances may ensue. Now this dimissal of the English has occurred, amid the threats shouted by brutal men, the Grand Duke is taking steps to defend his shores against any insult that the English may attempt.
Florence, the 22nd April, 1658.
[Italian.]
April 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
162. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
With the recent imprisonment in this city and the country of some leading gentlemen, supposed to be of King Charles's party, the suspicions and misgivings which have kept the government in perpetual agitation for many months past appear to have vanished, and now the season is well advanced one may conclude that this time the precautions of the Protector have prevailed over the efforts of the king and his partisans and that nothing will happen at present by that way to upset the present state of affairs. Meanwhile the royalists here blame the Spaniards saying it is their fault that the blow has miscarried which their master had prepared against his enemies, saying that they would not allow his forces to leave Flanders when it was time and when he was able to cross the sea, take the Protector by surprise and achieve his purpose.
In Scotland also many persons of rank have been arrested. It is said that the supposed reluctance of General Monch to obey the summons of the Protector was a trick to lure the royalists and induce them to open their hearts. It is stated that believing his simulated ill will to be genuine, they negotiated with him and induced him by their offers to promise to come over to their side. They were very delighted at having secured such a recruit for their king, feeling sure that he would open a way for him into that kingdom without hindrance, but in a short time they came to realise that they had been too credulous, as large numbers of them were arrested by order of the general. It is stated that over 800 have been trapped in this manner, as Monch only simulated discontent in order to draw them out and get them into his net, which had been spread for them a long while. For the rest Monch is entirely dependent on his Highness's will and is ready at need to sacrifice his own life for Cromwell's.
All those arrested, both in Scotland and in this kingdom, are being rigorously examined and every day something fresh is elicited from their depositions. Yesterday one gentleman, after having repeatedly assured the secretary of state that he had no share in this conspiracy, admitted to the Protector himself the commission he held from Charles, throwing himself on his knees to ask pardon. (fn. 4) He told him of 24 leading men of the county of Sussex who had conspired with him and declared that they would defend the Stuart cause with the sword and their lives. Orders were at once issued to secure these men, while they still detain the denouncer, who will not get his liberty so easily, as they hope to get further information from him of what he knows, on which the government has been ignorant or in the dark.
To reduce the king's party completely it has been proposed in the Council to set up a court of Justice whose duty it will be to enquire carefully into all conspiracies meditated by the enemies of this state. The proposal was not rejected nor has anything yet been decided. They are discussing the question and considering what steps it may be necessary to take. If the court is set up, as is considered inevitable, it will mean loss and destruction for many, as a large number of royalists and Catholics will have to suffer, who will be accused by malice and charged with conspiring and inventing things which may never have entered their heads, merely from their desire to get rid of such folk in any sort of way.
Meanwhile the Council has decided to summon another parliament. So far the decision is secret but it may easily be made generally known next week by instructions to the commons to choose the persons who are to take part in it. It is stated that it will be summoned expressly to raise the Protector to the throne as it was thought too arbitrary and unreasonable for his Highness to assume the crown at the head of his army, as was suggested and discussed in the Council. But this matter has been so much canvassed while nothing has yet been done, though it was considered inevitable that no one would venture to foretell what will happen, especially in a country so subject to change, where one can only make guesses which generally prove wrong.
The troops selected to reinforce those at Mardich are not yet embarked but in a few days they will be taken across with the provisions that are needed for themselves and the comrades they are joining. Meanwhile they derive satisfaction here from the destruction by the French and English of two redoubts erected by the Spaniards between Gravelines and Burburg. (fn. 5) Although not an affair of great consequence it is valued as an indication of greater successes in the approaching campaign.
To fill up the levies granted to the king of Sweden some hundreds of men have recently been embarked and sent to join the Swedish army. The assembling of them has been so long because of the lack of money, which was unexpectedly delayed in coming.
In obedience to the ducal missives of the 23rd March I have dismissed the offer of ships made by Colonel Cuch, as directed by the Senate, with remarks calculated to keep him well disposed for another occasion. He was satisfied by the reasons given but would have been glad to have a reply to his offer of a levy, declaring that he suffered serious loss by the delay as he could not accept employment under other princes who wanted him.
London, the 26th April, 1658.
[Italian.]
April 28.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Constantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
163. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
On his arrival here the ambassador of England had audience of the first Vizier and later of the king himself. He took a high tone against the Barbary corsairs, to whom orders have been sent directing them to make restitution of what they have taken contrary to the capitulations; but it is thought that the fulfilment will prove difficult. In the mean time the ardour of the English minister is abated, and perhaps he has to await fresh orders from the parliament.
The Vizier made use of this opportunity to retort with complaints and protests to the ambassador with respect to the benefit of ships afforded to your Excellencies to the detriment of the Ottoman House, contrary to the capitulations. The ambassador informs me that he stood his ground very well in this matter and that such talk by the Turks makes no impression upon him.
Adrianople, the 28th April, 1658.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 28.
Inquisitori di
Stato.
Busta 480.
Venetian
Archives.
164. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary at the Porte, to the Inquisitors of State.
Encloses communication from M. de Meaulx, secretary of the French ambassador.
Adrianople, the 28th April, 1658.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.165. M. De Meaulx, to the Secretary Ballarino.
The ambassador of England attends to his duties with intrepidity and is going to Adrianople to see the Sultan of whom he will try to get audience if he cannot obtain satisfaction from the Grand Vizier. This ambassador is also worried over a similar affair of the English nation of Cairo, that is to say an English captain (fn. 6) with his ship also brought his cargo from the Sultan to Leghorn, but the affair is different because the moment the vessel arrived the consul of that nation had the captain sequestrated with the provisions and caused them to be laded on to another ship and sent them here, where they arrived about a month ago. But the Caimecan will not accept these provisions, declaring them to be rotten. The English ambassador stoutly proclaims that he will not let him have any others and takes a high tone, thanks to the war between the most serene republic and the Grand Turk, making the most of the circumstances of the time. Meanwhile the process remains undecided and his Excellency is going there both upon this matter and upon his claims against the men of Barbary, whom the English mean to destroy by force. To this end they have set apart ten large ships of war, some of which are at Zante and the rest not far away. That ambassador has orders to take a high tone as he well knows how. Your lordship will recall how eleven years ago he took up a position in the middle of the port with his ships, with all his household and countrymen, to attract the attention of the Sultan Ibraim and demand justice against the first Vizier, Mehemet Bassa, to the amazement of all the nations of the world. The reason why it is believed that the ambassador has orders to adopt a high tone is that he has sent his daughters to Christendom for very good reasons. To be frank, his Excellency cares nothing about the plight in which your lordship finds yourself; at heart he was extremely pleased to hear that things had become worse than ever and that the Turks had declared that they wished the war would last for ever, so that his offices may be more in request by your lordship and that you may be made dependent on him.
11th April, 1658.
[Italian; copy.]
April 29.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
166. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Locart has again been to see me. He assured me of his master's desire for peace and expressed his indebtedness to the republic for her interposition if a congress should be arranged. As he said nothing about help I suppose he has let the matter drop.
He expresses great regret at the loss of Edino, (fn. 7) and observed that some subtle politicians in London believed it to be a trick of the French and that it happened by arrangement with the governor, to put a stop to the conquests of the English on the coast. But he has written to the Protector that when the king retakes Edino and has the governor hanged it will then be seen whether he is hanged out of finesse. Although this suspicion is quite unreasonable and entirely baseless it may be considered beyond a doubt that the king is postponing as much as possible the English enterprises of Dunkirk or Gravelines and that the journey to Metz of last year was undertaken for that purpose alone, the election of the emperor only serving for a show and pretext.
Amiens, the 29th April, 1658.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 J. Crook, who arrived on 19–29 March. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. vii, page 13.
2 J. Pryttz and Joachim Potter.
3 In a letter of 15 April Stoakes recounts his proceedings from 1 January and details his grievances against the Grand Duke. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. vii, pages 75–7.
4 John Stapley of Patcham in Sussex. His statement is in Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. vii, pages 65–9.
5 They were new fortifications erected with a view to flooding the country. See report from Mardyke of 12 April, N.S., in Mercurius Politicus, April 1–8.
6 Captain William Ell. See Cal. S.P. Dom., 1657–8, page 95. His ship was the Little Lewis, Id. 1658–9, page 197.
7 Hesdin, which under Balthazar de Fargues, went over to the Spaniards at the end of February.


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