Venice
May 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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191-206

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'Venice: May 1658', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 31: 1657-1659 (1931), pp. 191-206. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90010 Date accessed: 23 November 2014.


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May 1658

May 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
167. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Council of State having decided to set up a high court of Justice, the names of those who are to constitute it are eagerly awaited, as from the character of the judges it will be possible to conjecture what severity they will show. No doubt it will be great and exemplary as the measure has been taken on purpose to punish conspirators severely and make them an example to restrain others who might incline to cause fresh disturbances.
Meanwhile the government is very busy examining the persons arrested, and there is nothing just now over which they are more eager, especially as they are succeeding in clearing up many things not known to them before. With this knowledge they are everywhere making fresh regulations utterly destroying the king's hopes, and strengthening and consolidating the power and dominion of the Protector. Every day he receives from his own troops and those of the city protests of loyalty and promises that he shall never be abandoned, and that they will defend him with their lives and substance. To this end they hold reviews in the country twice every week for the drilling of the newly enrolled citizens. With their rich accoutrements and their valiant bearing these have rather the appearance of brave and experienced officers than of mere unskilled privates.
A ship sent expressly by the English governor of the island of Jamaica (fn. 1) brings word to the Protector that although the Spaniards affected to disdain the conquests made by this nation in those parts, they had secretly gathered all the forces they could get together and made a sudden landing in that island, feeling sure of striking an effective blow. But being discovered by the English they were easily put to flight, most of them being slain or taken. Those who escaped regained their ships and put to sea to return to the places they had left. In this affair the Spanish Lieutenant General was captured and has been brought to this city in the ship mentioned. From him they gathered much information and in his baggage they found the commissions and instructions of the Catholic king. Upon this the English called a council of war. Knowing that Cuba had been practically stripped of all its troops, who had just proceeded to Jamaica, and considering that there had not been time for the inhabitants to learn what had happened, they decided to embark immediately some of their forces and proceed to Cuba to do all the mischief they could and devastate the country, seeing that the people would not be strong enough to resist. So it fell out, as the English went there, landed without resistance, and disposing of various ambushes which sought to dispute their passage, destroyed all that they could, carrying away a considerable booty of arms etc. and returned to Jamaica with great joy, which is shared by the people here at the news of their success. The governor adds that everything is perfectly quiet at the island and in perfect order, the only thing they need being shoes. Accordingly orders have been issued to make a quantity to be sent out as soon as possible, and they also contemplate sending some body of troops, so that with these added to the 6 or 7000 combatants now there, may attempt some greater enterprise in the present weakness and consternation of the Spaniards.
A resident of the duke of Courland recently arrived in London. (fn. 2) He comes to ask the protection of his Highness to settle some naval matters which the duke's minister who was here last year could not terminate, and also to decide some private matter between his master and the earl of Warwick. He has not yet seen his Highness and he will not obtain audience until the difficulties which have kept the Court preoccupied are entirely settled. During this time no foreign minister has been able to gain access to his Highness and all are longing for the day when these distractions will have ceased and they may enjoy greater facilities for obeying the instructions which they hold from their masters.
The captain sent out by the owners of the ship Nortombria set out yesterday for Venice. I gave him a few lines for your Excellencies, to please the parties, who asked me for it.
London, the 3rd May, 1658.
[Italian.]
May 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
168. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
When I returned the visit of the English ambassador and the conversation happened to turn on the peace I pointed out why the Spaniards would not accept the proposed gathering in Flanders and urged him to use his influence to arrange the meeting at the Pyrenees. He objected that the Pyrenees were too far off and disadvantageous for his master, and if the Spaniards did not want it in Flanders they could look out for some other suitable site either in Lorraine or Franche Comte, which would be a central point for Italy, Germany, Flanders, France and England. I pointed out the difficulties from the Spanish side, and urged him to support the Pyrenees. He promised to do his utmost to secure a successful issue. The Protector wished for peace. He did not enlarge any more about the congress in the Pyrenees. If the Court participates to the nuncio and me the same things as Locart, we shall proceed with the business, and if it is not possible to arrange the peace negotiations at the Pyrenees we shall entertain any other suggestion and send it to our colleagues at Madrid.
Amiens, the 6th May, 1658.
[Italian.]
May 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
169. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Women are taking a great part in the negotiations in France. But the most pressing and important ones are with the rebels of Edino, carried on by the minister of England in the name of the Protector, who seeing that the difficulty consists chiefly in the lack of confidence those people have in the promises made to them, says that Cromwell himself will undertake their performance, a device which may easily succeed in bringing this important business to a successful termination.
The English ships which are constantly scouring the coasts of Flanders recently captured 600 soldiers on their way from Galicia to land in the ports there, and learning that a like number have embarked they are on the watch to surprise them. If this should happen the loss to the Spaniards will be considerable, not so much in respect of the numbers as of their need for troops of their nationality.
Amiens, the 6th May, 1658.
[Italian.]
May 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Capitano
delle Navi.
Venetian
Archives.
170. Girolamo Contarini, Venetian Captain of the Ships, to the Doge and Senate.
The captains of the ships have promised to follow me everywhere, at the cost of their lives and of their ships although they are greatly disappointed and dissatisfied over the news that reached them recently that no money of any kind has been paid to their partners for their numerous dilapidations, such as the cables which were cut last year. Many of them have even resolved to leave the service, because they are desperate, finding themselves without money, without cables and without provisions for their men, particularly those of the English ship Nortomberlan. I have supplied these out of my own scanty pecuniary resources and consoled them with the permission to bring the matter to the notice of your Serenity. With this hope they have put themselves at my disposition, to remain for the whole of this campaign, because I have realised that in these ships consist the main force and support of the public arms.
From the flagship, the 6th May, 1658.
[Italian.]
May 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
171. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
This week the persons to compose the high court of Justice have been nominated and a list of their names has been published. The number will not exceed 140 and 17 of them will suffice to form a court and make the decisions which they consider proper for the matter they have in hand. All of them are persons versed in the laws and most of them passed sentence against the late King Charles. They are to begin their sessions in a few days and in the meantime some who are deemed guilty are being examined to have their business ready for the trial which is to be conducted by this court. Others have been brought to London from the country for the same purpose, and in each county they have, generally speaking, arrested all those who bore arms for the king, whatever their condition.
The commissions issued to this court completed the business which had occupied their thoughts at the palace in this matter, and without a moment's pause they have begun to discuss the business to be presented to the new parliament which they have decided to convoke and which is expected to open next June.
With the approach of the new campaign in which the English and French forces are to operate together, they are making a great stir in Flanders. Strong reinforcements have been sent across the sea from this city and from other places in England, including all the infantry destined for those parts. They are anxiously waiting to hear of their safe arrival at Mardich, and there is no doubt that they will comport themselves bravely in any action, being full of courage and versed in the art of war.
At the beginning of this week the Ambassador Locart arrived unexpectedly in London with Morgan who is in command at Mardich. It is said that they have come to obtain the supreme command of the English force across the sea, which both claim; but others assert that while Morgan is certainly here with that object, Locart has come to give an account of his embassy. It may also be to make arrangements for the approaching campaign and this is more likely since it is known that he has conferred with the Ambassador Bordeos and the secretary of state. It is said that in a few days he will be starting back for the French Court, leaving his wife here, whom he brought with him.
An extraordinary courier arrived to-day from Mardich brings his Highness word that Marshal d'Omont had arrived there with some troops and at once embarked some 1,400 infantry on some of the English ships there and took them to Ostend to land there and take the place by an understanding with the commanders, who promised to open a gate on his appearance. So it is stated here and his Highness is highly delighted, looking for a fortunate issue, and they are waiting to hear the result with impatience.
To provide muskets and pistols for the army of the king of France Cardinal Mazarini has sent a gentleman here, (fn. 3) who has begun to carry out his orders, having first obtained leave from the Protector.
The very severe winter this year and the violent north winds that have blown for some six months without intermission have generated an air so raw and evil that nearly everybody is indisposed. The mortality has been great and rose in one week to two or three hundred, many of whom died suddenly. The first symptoms are violent shivers and in a few days life is extinct. No case of contagion has occurred so far, but it is greatly feared in the summer owing to the putrefied and wasted state of the air. I will keep a watch on so important a matter and in any case will send the necessary report to the magistracy of the Sanità.
London, the 10th May, 1658.
[Italian.]
May 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
172. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the persons constituting the new court of Justice have been nominated and the commissions issued under the great seal of England, yet the proclamation has not yet appeared owing to some difficulties which were not forseen. These render the affair troublesome with obstacles and delays, much to the dissatisfaction of the Protector, who would like to see his resolution put into action speedily, to prevent the malcontents from taking advantage of the benefit of time and from such procrastination. It is claimed that each member, before taking his seat at the tribunal shall take a solemn oath before the commissioners of the great seal to carry out punctually and faithfully all that is committed to him, in virtue of an act of the late parliament entitled “For the security of the Protector's person and for the continuation of this nation in peace and tranquillity” and it is contended that this court to examine or to take proceedings except against those who are indicated to it by Cromwell. In view of this limited authority it seems that many show a reluctance to accept it, being unwilling to place themselves in a position of complete subjection to the Protector in a matter of such a character, in which it is only reasonable that every one should act according to the dictates of his own conscience and prudence and not at the caprice of a single man, who only desires the extermination of these poor innocents, such being his interest, for his own greater security and to afford him a pretext for laying hands on a quantity of goods for the enrichment of his private exchequer. Those who refuse to undertake this serious burden allege that they cannot in justice or in conscience pronounce the sentence which Cromwell desires, for the reasons indicated, against those accused of having commissions from King Charles in the late conspiracy against the present rule. They add that it would not be in their power to prevent such commissions being sent to themselves, nor could they help receiving them, and after they had come into their hands they could not disclose them to the state for fear of denouncing themselves and becoming objects of suspicion. The fact of the commissions not having been put in force was sufficient evidence that their intentions were not bad, and consequently neither equity nor reason allowed them to condemn such persons, and they would not stain their hands with innocent blood to draw the Divine wrath and the vengeance of Heaven on themselves and their posterity.
From all this it will be understood how thoroughly nauseated and disgusted the people are with the Protector's methods of government, and because it is so antipathetic they refuse to consent to his wishes. If they submit in matters which do not affect their consciences, it is from fear alone, not from affection or inclination. However, Cromwell thinks nothing of these scruples and laughs at them, for as he wields force enough to keep the people in hand he means to do as he wishes. Accordingly he will nominate others, who being of a more cruel and barbarous disposition, and there is no lack of such here, will do as he desires without the slightest remorse. If he alone could undertake the work, with his unbridled greed he would gladly do so, and he would not have tarried so long about it, but the laws of this country absolutely forbid such absolute authority in such cases, and as he has sworn to conform to them he cannot do otherwise without affording fresh cause for discontent to the people and driving them to some virile action which would upset everything and result in utter destruction.
Marshal d'Omont embarked at Mardich with the troops as reported and proceeded to Ostend, counting on the intelligence there, but with what results cannot yet be definitely ascertained, as reports here differ. The Court publishes that the marshal's hopes have vanished and wishes it to be believed that he has returned to Mardich; but the merchants declare the contrary and maintain that the understanding with the Ostenders was a ruse devised to draw the enemy into their nets, and that when Omont landed his men and entered the town in triumph, they were surprised by the Spaniards and captured so that not a single man got away. No one can say which of these tales is true and authentic news is eagerly awaited by all.
The merchants' version receives support from the lack of the ordinary mail from Flanders this week, although the wind has been entirely favourable for England. Some conjecture that the Spaniards, seizing the opportunity of this success, in which one half of the men are said to be French and the other half English, and considering that no relief can cross the sea from England while the wind remains contrary, and which at present is detaining in the river the troops embarked for Mardich, are intending to recover that fort and detain the letters so that their plans may not be known. They also maintain that although the Protector had news of the affair he had it announced differently in order not to discourage the departing troops and that he wished them to cross before he makes the truth known.
The Ambassador Locart left the day before yesterday and will cross to Calais with the first wind, returning to the Most Christian Court or to the army, according to circumstances. It is impossible to find out what business he conducted here as it was all transacted under four or six eyes only. It is believed however that he takes with him the Protector's decision to persevere energetically in concert with the French and instructions to arrange some considerable enterprise, which in any case will be undertaken against the coast towns of Flanders, unless it pleases God to allow the Spaniards to recover Mardich and Borburch and thereby deliver Catholicism from the scourge which threatens it. This mad dog nation
(questa natione arrabiata), which professes such false and wicked doctrines, keeps gaining a firmer footing in the Catholic states, and it desires nothing better than the utter destruction of the Holy Apostolic See and of all those who depend on it.
The malady reported persists in this city and the country as well, and constantly grows worse owing to the extraordinary weather. This month bitter cold winds have been blowing from the north without intermission preventing the entry into this river of all the things that can only be brought by sea, notably of coal which, in consequence, has become exceedingly dear. The Protector caused last Wednesday to be celebrated with a solemn and general fast and humiliation before God. The people spent the time in church, with sermons and other devotions to implore the Divine mercy in the present calamities which afflict this nation.
London, the 17th May, 1658.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
173. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador here who exercises equally the functions of ambassador and soldier, passes so hurriedly from the Court to the camp and from the camp to London that it often happens he is believed to be in France when he is in England. This has happened recently and it is impossible to find out the motives for the journey although it is generally attributed to the occurrences and agreements of the present campaign and chiefly for the passage of the fresh troops, which are expected to disembark soon.
Abbeville, the 20th May, 1658.
[Italian.]
May 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
174. Girolamo Giavarina, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Discussions in the electoral College. The Spaniards are not heard at all, and do nothing, ta the general astonishment. The nuncio here betrays his agitation more than any one else, to such a point that the other day in conversation with one of the ministers of the electors he worked himself up so much as to affect his health. He declared that they neither observed nor cared about the ever increasing strength of the heretics. They will not give power to one who might stand in their path. That Flanders will fall into the hands of the English, and that these and the others will one day be seen at the walls of Rome unless something more strenuous is done to prevent it.
Frankfort, the 21st May, 1658.
[Italian.]
May 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
175. Giovanni Battista Ballarino, Venetian Secretary at the Porte, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of England, who certainly has courage, went to audience of the first Vizier and complained about the Barbary corsairs, claiming restitution of the ships and compensation for the losses. Finally after he had spoken very strongly but with modesty, he agreed to accept an ordinary command, though no one knows how far it will be carried out.
Adrianople, the 22nd May, 1658.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
176. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
By the nomination of other persons the places have been filled of those who excused themselves to the Protector from sitting on the newly appointed tribunal of Justice. A public proclamation was issued for the beginning of this week (fn. 4) and in accordance with the body held its first meeting yesterday. Nothing was done at this beyond the choice of the officials to serve the Court, and after an enquiry into the power and authority of the judges they adjourned until Monday next, when they will devote themselves to matters of greater consequence. Meanwhile many gentlemen of quality, suspected of complicity in the recently discovered conspiracy who were arrested and subsequently released on finding sureties, have been sent to the Tower at the opening of this tribunal so that they may be examined and dealt with according to the measure of their innocence or guilt. Since this Court of Justice claims to try all those of whom the government has suspicions, to afford a valid pretext for securing their persons, they have announced at the palace this week that they have discovered another conspiracy, contrived by those who wish, to upset the present repose of this nation, and the mine was to have been fired in a few days, if it had not been found and rendered harmless.
It is true that the partisans of King Charles are constantly meditating some rising in this kingdom, but it is also a fact that the Protector frequently causes conspiracies to spring up suddenly to give him an opportunity of imprisoning those whom he does not love or views unfavourably, and to display his vigilance and his earnest desire to preserve the peace and tranquillity of his people, which he displays in order to induce them to obey him blindly and make the contributions in money which he is always demanding of them in the way of taxes. This last conspiracy is firmly believed to be fictitious for the reasons given, and this general opinion is confirmed by the unlawful treatment of some who show no sympathy for either party who are not open to suspicion but of whom they wish to get rid in order to lay hands on their rich possessions. Such procedure is more worthy of barbarians than of Christians, and I will venture to give your Serenity a short account of the arts they use. I ask indulgence for doing so, for though it partakes of the mythical, it is nevertheless true and beyond question.
To the house of a very rich gentleman in the country they recently sent some casks, with letters directed to him. These were left while he was away hunting, saying that it was a consignment of wine sent to the gentleman by some friend in London. When the gentleman returned and saw the present he at once gave orders for a cask to be broached. But in this and the others they found nothing but gunpowder, while the letters contained commissions of the king of Scotland. When the first cask was opened and the gentleman saw the trick which had been played on him, he at once sent for some officer of the parish, telling him what had happened and causing the other casks and the letters to be opened in his presence. In this way he saved himself from imprisonment, as a few hours later soldiers came to search his house and would have arrested him on finding the gunpowder, etc., had not the officer borne witness to what had happened. Similar scurvy tricks have been played on others in this city and elsewhere, some with and others without success, as many of the hunted have proved smarter than the hunters.

On Saturday last week, after dinner, an express courier arrived from the Ambassador Locart at Mardich, with news of his safe arrival at that place and an account of what happened at Ostend, which is confirmed by the duplicate letters of Flanders which arrived to-day, supplementing those of the last and the present week. They confirm what the merchants reported. 1600 soldiers, both French and English, the majority officers, were taken prisoners, some frigates of this state, and a number of sailors, who had been lent to the marshal for the landing, the flagship alone losing 70, and the others a smaller number. (fn. 5) The marshal was expected at Antwerp castle, and they say that the Spaniards are asking 200,000 crowns for his ransom.
The sum paid by the French for the promised intelligence in the town, of which they say the Protector supplied a great part, although this is denied at the palace, where the precise amount cannot be ascertained, has already been turned over to the Dutch by the Spaniards at the bank of Amsterdam. Three hostages were given by the Ostenders, but they were only common soldiers disguised in fine clothes and given false names to make them seem leading gentlemen.
The event is of importance, as if the French and English had succeeded in getting possession of that town all Flanders would have been imperilled, while it is a great thing for the Spaniards to have smashed the first design of the enemy. It also reduces the infantry in the Most Christian army, in which it is not very strong; and with the intelligence so bad there is little chance of their being reinforced from here. With the change of wind the troops from this side will have crossed, but the Protector does not like to lose his men so wretchedly and prefers to learn caution at the expense of others rather than his own. Yet it seems certain that some enterprise will be pushed with vigour, in accordance with the agreement made between France and England last year, and while bad fortune pursues the French it is the more likely because it is said that the treaty will not last more than three years.
The post of general to the English troops in Flanders has not yet been awarded, but appearances indicate that it will be given to Sir [William] Locart, as all the soldiers want him, and to satisfy them he has been given the command pro interim, though without the title of general. Morgan, who is a claimant for the title, will continue as governor of Mardich, for which place he left yesterday.
The calling of the new parliament seems to be postponed until they have fairly started the court of Justice; so they have revoked the orders sent to Scotland, Ireland, and the more remote counties, for the nomination of members to send to that assembly.
While the ships of this state found it easy to make agreements and obtain their demands from Algiers, Tunis, and other places in Barbary, it seems that they have met with difficulties at Tripoli, as those infidels are unwilling to include in the adjustment the ship of this mart which they captured last year. If they remain obstinate force will undoubtedly be used against them, such being the Protector's orders, and from this perhaps some advantage will result for the most serene republic, which will at least prevent the Tripolitans from assisting the Turks with their ships.
Besides the letters sent to his Highness by the Grand Duke of Tuscany with complaints against the warships of this nation at Leghorn, the Resident of Florence here has orders to repeat the remonstrance, complaining strongly that these ships have insisted on taking, in the very port, some Spanish bark coming from Naples, besides the Sardinia ship reported, so that the castle was forced to fire on the English. The commander of the ships excuses himself by saying that the Spanish ship was not in port but at sea, where he was at liberty to take it without anyone objecting. The Resident presses for an audience, but does not know when he will get it. (fn. 6) Practically all the foreign ministers here are in the same plight, as for several months past they have not been able to see either the Protector or the secretary; the Most Christian ambassador alone has seen the Protector on a single occasion, out of the many he has asked for, although it ought to be easier for him to obtain access, seeing the close bonds of interest that unite his master with this government. Domestic affairs, to which alone they attend, cause all this disorder and wrong, which is unparalleled in any other part of the world.
London, the 24th May, 1658.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia. Venetian
Archives.
177. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The States of Holland, fearing to increase the jealousy of the Protector by allowing the brothers of the king of England to continue their residence at the Hague, have had tactful representations on the subject made to the Princess of Orange, their sister, and shortly afterwards they departed.
Montmeglie, the 27th May, 1658.
[Italian.]
May 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
178. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The partisans of King Charles still sojourn secretly in these realms in great numbers, and as they are only seeking for means to reduce the present rule in England to disorder, the last conspiracy was no sooner discovered than they began to devise another, which only just failed to take effect, though if it had, the consequencies would doubtless have been most cruel and bloody. The setting up of the court of Justice is a bitter pill to the royalists, since they are aware that the sole purpose of its constitution is to try and execute all those who are known to be partisans of the king of Scotland. To rescue from their impending fate those comrades already in the hands of the law, among whom are many gentlemen of quality, they decided to make a supreme effort, risking their persons and lives without regard for the consequences. Some of the most consequential and respected among them, having met secretly together, decided that on Saturday last at midnight their mine should be fired. Their agents, scattered in all parts of the city, supported by others who had been secretly won over, at a concerted signal were to enter the inns where the cavalry horses are kept, and taking possession of the animals, cut the throats of the soldiers found sleeping there, surprising the guards at their posts and setting fire to the city at different places to force the people to hasten thither, and so accomplish their desire to throw everything upside down, free this nation from the present servitude and open a way for their natural prince to return in triumph to London. But it did not please God to put an end to the miseries of this people, whether because of their sins or for some reason inscrutable to man, and as He allowed a Judas among the twelve Apostles, so among the twelve men who devised this plot there was one, moved by fear or pusillanimity, who revealed the plan to the Protector, (fn. 7) and thus cut short the hopes of a boon which is undoubtedly desired by the majority of the people.
A few hours before the rising was to take place, in which, they say, some thousands of persons of all kinds were to take part, his Highness obtained knowledge of it, and orders were immediately issued to double and triple all the guards. For two days and two nights on end troops were marched about London, fully armed and in their cuirasses, other cavalry being sent to guard the adjacent places in which a rising was feared, in short, there was a formidable alarm, agitating everyone. Many persons suspected of complicity in this affair have been arrested, including a number of tradesmen, especially butchers, who were to have done most execution that night so they say. A quantity of arms, with other warlike tools and materials, have been found and taken in divers houses, many horses seized, in short, great energy and watchfulness are being exercised to prevent any sort of disturbance.
As the examination and depositions of those arrested have not revealed much, since they have disclosed nothing of importance, the Protector is very apprehensive that some spark may remain undiscovered which may suddenly burst into flame at a better opportunity and cause him fresh trouble. He has been so disturbed that from last Saturday until now he has only passed one night in bed and had very little rest. There is indeed good reason for fearing some fresh attempt of the royalists, for it is clear that they cannot suffer this court of Justice, and will be true to themselves by seeking every means to secure their intent. They are at present encouraged in their hopes of seeing the whole people rise in their favour once they can begin to put their designs into motion. This is based upon remarks made publicly by more than one person, of a piquant and mordant description, showing the scant respect of the people for Cromwell and the complete absence of affection. While the guards were parading London many asked them what all the fuss was about, affecting ignorance of what had been discovered, and when told, they cried aloud, “Kill, kill this villain of a Protector,” an audacious utterance affording food for reflection. In addition to all this it is said that King Charles has several stores of arms, gunpowder, and other munitions in London, in secret places which the Protector has been unable to discover, and only known to his Majesty's general, who is staying incognito in this city, and a few of his dependents, on whose tried loyalty he can rely, to be all ready for use when fortune shall provide a favourable occasion for the House of Stuart and for the relief of the whole people.
The new tribunal of Justice has held further sittings, but nothing of consequence has happened except the nomination as president of Mr. Lille, one of the keepers of the seal, (fn. 8) Apparently they are temporising until the civil judges can take part. They are chosen as members, but they cannot be free until next week as they are at present engaged with civil cases for the current term, which ends next Monday.
From what happens one is gradually learning the reasons for the coming of the Ambassador Locart, which tend in the direction I reported a fortnight ago, although the failure at Ostend made it reasonable to suppose some cooling in the relations between France and England; but recent news from across the water show that they are more constant and rooted than ever.
Letters from Locart, which arrived here by express on Sunday, inform the Protector that the English of Mardich have captured a small fort situated on the channel leading to Dunkirk, and following their example the French had easily taken possession of another on the same stream. These were of no slight consequence as they enabled the united forces to approach nearer to the town and start siege operations there. More recent letters report a formal siege by the English and French, lines of circumvallation being already drawn, and all approaches by which succour might come being cut off. They are hopeful of taking the place although it has 7000 combatants inside, and if they do not run short of provisions these will no doubt give a lot of trouble to the aggressors and offer a more stubborn resistance than the enemy imagines.
On the receipt of the first news 1000 picked soldiers were immediately embarked on Monday, in addition to those already sent, and favoured by the wind, they left the Thames for Mardich without the loss of a moment. After these, they sent a number of barques with corn, hay and straw for the horses, besides a quantity of food for the infantry. A proclamation was subsequently published by order of his Highness in London and all the seaports of the realm, exhorting merchants and all others to use the greatest diligence in transporting across the sea during the siege all sorts of bread, beer, beef, butter, cheese, hay, barley, and all manner of provision for man and horse, in the assurance that it will be well pleasing to the republic, and that all commodities shipped to Mardich will be promptly paid for in cash.
If the place is taken, by virtue of the agreement between France and the Protector, of which I forwarded a summary to Your Excellencies, it should be left in the hands of the Most Christian; but one learns that Cromwell claims to have it for himself, to give him a footing across the water, and enable him to prosecute his vast designs. If, as is usual, his appetite grows with what it feeds on the French may one day repent of having made such an arrangement with him, and may be forced to try and put things right again if they can find a way to do so. If the Protector did not have designs on Dunkirk he would not be so eager in despatching ministers and the things just mentioned. The town will also be invested at sea by the ships already at Mardich and by others which are being sent. But it might easily happen that the English and French took to quarrelling over this point, as happened over Ostend, for it is well known that before they had got the wolf the Cardinal and the Protector began to dispute about his skin. Mazarini had ordered d'Ormont not to employ Englishmen to garrison that town, while Cromwell claimed to have it absolutely, saying that this had been promised in the past agreements. So it is clear that these two nations, although united against Spain, preserve their natural antipathy, which might easily be converted one day into open hostility and cause the advantages which the French allow the English to enjoy to turn to their injury and prejudice.
London, the 31st May, 1658.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
179. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
To arouse enthusiasm in the forces on the coast of Flanders and to stimulate the siege of Dunkirk the Most Christian Court has proceeded to Cales. Thus the king and cardinal have drawn near to the clash of arms, and stayed some days at Mardich, whence they are supposed to have returned to Cales. When the Protector heard of his Majesty's approach, and knowing that Cales was out of everything, he at once sent across the sea a quantity of flesh, poultry and other commodities of which the Court might be short. Besides this, he appointed his son-in-law, the earl of Falconbrige, to go with all speed to pay his respects to the Most Christian and offer to supply him with all the provisions he might require. He will start on Monday, going with great pomp and a numerous suite. It is not known in what capacity he will go, but some say it will be as ambassador extraordinary. Besides compliments, he will doubtless take assurances of continued friendship and understanding, and any negotiations he may be charged with will be devoted to arrangements for the present campaign.
Owing to unfavourable winds the troops embarked for Sweden to fill up the levies granted to that monarch have not been able to leave the Thames. They have been held up seven entire weeks, waiting for an opportunity to move, with serious loss to the officers who enlisted them. Besides this, the Swedish commissioner Barchman has suddenly left London, being charged to proceed with all speed to join his master in Germany, to communicate orally what he has not ventured to commit to paper. He left a report that he has gone on his private affairs, but I know on good authority that it is solely in order to assure the Swede of the friendly disposition of the Protector and to promise him an alliance against the house of Austria.
I have been told in confidence that Barchman takes an offer of money to stir up trouble in Germany, as there is nothing that they so eagerly desire here as to see that Court involved, and they would rather see anyone chosen emperor than the king of Hungary, as thus it would be possible to make a bolder stand against the great power of the house of Austria, which its adversaries might hope to bring down and destroy in a short time, if it were thus reduced.
The Protector's sudden decision to promise money to Sweden was stimulated by letters from the king himself informing Cromwell of his inclination to make peace with Poland and with the house of Austria as well, unless his allies supplied him with energetic support. His fear of this happening and his natural desire to bring down that House led the Protector to take this step, although it is his interest and necessity to keep his purse for himself and not promise it to others, since five months have now passed during which the troops here have received none of their regular pay. This might have led to disturbance, but regardless of this, and on the plea of propagating the faith, for which this deluded people, professes so much veneration, he makes the soldiers wait, and encourages the evil intentions of the Swedes, offering new and vigorous reinforcements for the realisation of the design to which they jointly aspire, of one day infecting the whole Catholic world with the false doctrines of Luther and Calvin.

At the instance of the king of Sweden the Protector has sent orders to Jepson, his minister with that sovereign, to proceed with all speed to the elector of Brandenburg and other Protestant princes of Germany to persuade them by his blandishments to make an alliance with that monarch, showing them that the question at stake is the advancement and glory of the common cause of the whole Protestant religion. Last year, in the interest of the same king, Cromwell directed Brascio, his minister to the Hanse Towns, resident at Hamburg, to the Grand Duke of Muscovy, to negotiate peace with Sweden. Arrived in Courland, the minister sent a servant to the Court of Muscovy to obtain a passport, to allow him to travel through the country and arrange where he might meet the Grand Duke and confer with him to set forth the commissions he had from his master. The Muscovite, not knowing the business which the Englishman brought, dismissed the messenger with contumely and refused to admit Brascio, who after a long stay at the court of the duke of Courland, returned to his residence at Hamburg, sending home a report of all that had happened. A long time afterwards the Muscovite learned the reason for the mission of Brascio and sent to inform him that he might come when he would, when he would be welcome, apologising for the discourtesy shown, on the ground of ignorance of his commissions, and forwarding a passport to enable him to make the journey safely and without hindrance. After what had happened, Brascio could not move without fresh orders from the Protector, and he at once sent home a full account of the matter. Owing to the affront by the refusal of the Muscovite to receive his minister his Highness was at first inclined not to let him go back; but owing to the pressing instances of the king of Sweden, several times repeated, through his own ministers here and by letters written by himself and at the instance of the Gothic supporters, he decided that Brascio should go to Muscovy, and sent him fresh instructions for the purpose. Cromwell changed his mind the more readily because it was a question of relieving his ally of a very troublesome war and of making it easier for him to begin another which he desired and which he will always promote.
To-day in London they are holding a review of six regiments of the city trained bands, comprising 10,000 combatants, all brave and seasoned troops, who promise to give a good account of themselves on any emergency.
In obedience to the Protector's orders another fast was observed the day before yesterday in this city and throughout the kingdom, by reason of the sickness, which has greatly diminished these last days, the mortality being no greater than the normal.
Two consuls have been despatched these last weeks, one for Genoa and the other for the Morea. (fn. 9) In addition to their instructions about trade they both have commissions to do what they can for the state. The one for the Morea will pass through Venice, and I am told that he has letters of the Protector to present to your Serenity on his arrival, asking the Senate to protect him in the Morea in all occasions that may present themselves.
London, the 31st May, 1658.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 Bernardi reports that a captain arrived from Jamaica with the news on 21 April N.S., and with him on the ship came Don Francesco de Prencia (? Proenza) who had been taken prisoner. Atti Societa Ligure di Storia Patria. vol. xvi, page 477. Doyly's despatch of 28 Feb. is in Thurloe: State Papers, vol. vi, page 834.
2 Elias Strauss. Urkunden und Actenstucke zur geschichte des Kurfurst F.W. von Brandenburg, Vol. iv, page 856. He had been secretary to Bradshaw, the resident at Hamburg, who resented his acceptance of the appointment without informing his principal. Thurloe: State Papers, vol. vii, page 54.
3 See Mazarin to Bordeaux on, 1 May apud. Avenel: Lettres du Card Mazarin, Vol. viii, page 351. His name is not given.
4 Published May 8, dated May 4 o.s. Firth: Last Days of the Protectorate, Vol. ii, page 71n.
5 Goodson reported the loss of near 100 men in 4 or 5 boats from the Speaker and other frigates. Thurloe: State Papers Vol. vii, page 113. The Mercurius Politicus (May 6–13) says there were 110 English prisoners, but only 4 seamen were missing.
6 The Grand Duke's letters were of 13 April. Salvetti saw Thurloe on 17 May, who at once retorted with counter charges. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962P. ff. 329d., 333.
7 It was revealed by Francis Corker, a pretended royalist and agent of Cromwell. Firth: Last Years of the Protectorate, Vol. ii, page 75.
8 John Lisle, commissioner of the Great Seal. He sat first on 31st May. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962P. f. 345d.
9 According to Salvetti John Incham, a man of excellent family though a merchant, was chosen for Genoa in March, and was to set out on 13 May. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 P. ff. 312d. 327d. The Genoese Resident Bernardi on 25 Feb. mentions the choice of one Pinchman, probably meaning the same person. Atti della Societa Ligure di Storia Patria, Vol. xvi, page 464. Richard Holdipp was chosen at the Court of the Levant Co. on 6 Feb. o.s. to be consul in the Morea. S.P. For Arch., Vol. 151, page 322. Cromwell's letter of recommendation to the Doge is dated 20 April. Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. vii, page 83. Holdipp received a pass for Holland dated 27 April. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1657–8, page 554.


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