Researching Early Modern History

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Research blog entry 5 – T.D. Jacobs

Having gone through the first hand account of the first Dutch embassy to the Commonwealth provided by Lodewijck Huygen’s ‘English Journal,’ I have detoured to the records contained in the Calendar of State Papers, Venice, available at British History Online. My reason for doing so was to cover the relatively brief gap in the Dutch records, caused by the first Anglo-Dutch War. These translated and published “summaries” culled from the Venetian archives offer a wealth of information regarding ambassadorial protocol in Interregnum England. Unfortunately, they offer rather less regarding the King of England’s diplomatic activities in his own surroundings, at least as far as I’ve read up to this point. However, it is clear that Charles II was hampered in his efforts to turn the rupture with the Dutch to his advantage by his impoverished circumstances in France, and that the French were, in turn, hampered in their negotiations with Parliament by his presence there. Indeed, it seems that majority of his diplomatic efforts were taking place at other courts.

For example, the Venetians were prepared to have their ambassador in Paris, Giovanni Sagredo, pay his respects to Charles, for as Sagredo pointed out in a letter to the Doge and Senate dated March 25, 1653, “The new government in England seems to be solidly established, yet sudden accidents are apt to happen.” But there was no longer any talk of sending Charles his own Venetian representative. I have just now come to the portion in the records concerning the military’s dismissal of Parliament, and I wonder how the resultant disarray may affect the attitudes of foreign ministers in Paris towards Charles. I intend to continue working with the Venetian records until the end of the period because the secretary dispatched to London, Lorenzo Paulucci, has proven extremely observant regarding diplomatic procedures and protocol there – perhaps in part because he is not a seasoned diplomat and perhaps in part because he was deliberately sent without credentials initially, thus providing information on how things worked outside of normative sources. I estimate that it will take me another eight full working days to complete this, and I consider it a good use of my time.

References:

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 28, 1647-1652. Allen B Hinds, ed. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1927.

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 29, 1653-1654. Allen B Hinds, ed. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1929.

Huygens, Lodewijck. The English Journal, 1651-1652. A.G.H. Bachrach and R.G. Collmer, eds. trans. Leiden: Brill and Leiden University Press, 1982.


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