Venice: September 1641

Pages 207-221

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 25, 1640-1642. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1924.

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September 1641

Sept. 5.
Senato, Sereta. Deliberazioni Corti. Venetian Archives.
249. To the Ambassador in England.
We have received your letters of the 16th ult. If on the arrival of these presents the king has left for Scotland and the queen for Bristol you are to leave London and to stay in some country place, to dwell there with satisfaction to yourself and in peace of mind, thus avoiding incidents and accidents which may occur during the absence of the Court. You will stay there until further order from us, advising us from time to time of the king's journeys and of the measures he takes, as well as of those of the queen and of all other particulars worthy of our notice, with your customary diligence. We enclose a sheet of advices.
Ayes, 113. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
Sept. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
250. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
This week more than one courier has reached the queen with letters from his Majesty. She is staying at Otlant. All of them give her an account of the beginnings of the parliament of Scotland, not without hope of an excellent and advantageous end. That his Majesty had taken this opportunity by the most lavish display of affection for his people there to fulfill absolutely the expectations of everybody, and that with the full consent of all they have decided to maintain for the service of his Majesty 5000 foot and 1000 horse, paid, to be employed wherever and against whomsoever may best suit his convenience. Subsequently they displayed a general readiness to supply promptly such larger number of troops as the occasion might require. He reports that in response to this display of affection and for the purpose of buying back the affection of those who have in the past shown but scant inclination to serve him, he has distributed many vacant offices and those among the most important, for the benefit of those very persons who were the prime movers of the late revolt, in the confident expectation that such means will suffice to dispose them to support his interests with all their might, and to render them dependent upon him, without exception.
The queen shows herself perfectly reassured by such news, feeling persuaded that it will be enough to encourage those English also who although at heart supporters of his Majesty's greatness, have not had the courage to declare themselves hitherto because of their misgivings ; while on the other hand it will abase the pride of the most seditious and induce them moreover to try and secure themselves by acts of penitence and better faith.
But those who judge of the intentions of the Scots more deliberately are not altogether satisfied in their minds. They believe the declaration about assisting his Majesty to be insincere, and suspect that it covers other secret designs which have not appeared ; or else that if the king wishes to put the matter to the proof he will encounter such great difficulties as to destroy all the fruit of his first hopes. They know that the trial of the imprisoned Earl of Montrose is being proceeded with, for having endeavoured to promote his Majesty's interests in that kingdom, and that the Duke of Lenos, the Marquis Hamilton, Douglas and other servants of the king who refused to sign the Covenant, have not been allowed to take part in the parliament, before they solemnly bound themselves to observe everything that that confederation contains. The king agreed to this in order not to lose the votes of these dependents of his and at the same time to give unequivocal proof to the people there of the sincerity of his reconciliation with them.
Then again, the Scottish commissioners, who are still staying on here, have brought fresh assurances to the parliament that within the term appointed, namely yesterday, they will withdraw their troops from their quarters in England. They have asked permission to pass with their artillery through the town of Berwick, declaring that it is impossible to take it to Scotland by the high road. Accordingly this fresh demand has been granted although it is recognised as very unsafe to allow a foreign army, admirably disciplined and well provided with artillery to enter that important fortress. But the desire to avoid giving the Scots any reason for delaying their departure has led them to disregard this very proper and important consideration, in the confident hope of relief from the menace of those forces.
With actions so self contradictory what will actually happen seems more doubtful than ever. It may well be doubted whether the king himself and his councillors, who are the architects of this machine, are able to predict to themselves what form it will take. However, the decisions taken at the end of the parliament in Scotland will supply the rule by which things may be judged in the future.
Meanwhile they have published today the agreement made with that nation. If I have time I will forward a translation, though it is very long.
The decision of last week to send three members to the king has been changed and a new course decided upon, namely to choose six commissioners, four of the Upper and two of the Lower Chamber. This has been done. (fn. 1) They are to go to the king and to ask his leave to take part and treat with the parliament of Scotland in the capacity of ministers of this parliament, as the Scots did here. They take instructions to have ratified the treaty of pacification between the two kingdoms by an act of that parliament ; to assure them by lavish expressions of the perfect friendliness of the English ; to come to a thorough understanding with the Scots ; to dismiss from the minds of that people every suspicious thought and everything contrary to this declaration ; to report everything that takes place ; to frustrate by their offices any deliberations prejudicial to the liberty and quiet of this kingdom ; and finally to carry out any further commands that may be given them by the parliament here.
The most remarkable point about these instructions is the tone of absolute command which they use on this occasion, clearly showing that this parliament considers itself a despotic master, in no wise dependent upon their natural prince. Nevertheless this decree with all the rest touching the despatch of the commissioners, has been carried through while the majority of the members were away in the country ; so that it may be called the work of those alone who study at any cost to preserve authority for themselves and to keep the king in his present state of subjection.
Deputies have been sent by the Lower Chamber to York, with instructions to make careful enquiry about the disposition of those northern peoples, and to urge the Earl of Holland to dismiss the remainder of those troops, the cavalry in particular, about whom the parliamentarians cannot dismiss their suspicions. (fn. 2) Being now persuaded that the Scots will go without resistance, they do not now show that hesitation about his Majesty's proceedings which they betrayed these past days.
Serious difficulties are occurring over the collection of the tax imposed, and what disturbs them most, it does not nearly reach the amount estimated. To remedy this they have decided to send commissioners through all the counties, their chief aim being to obtain a more copious return. This is appropriated to certain merchants of Amsterdam and others, who by order of the parliament, undertook to pay the Scots 400,000l. of this money in instalments in five weeks.
No news has come about the embarcation of the Queen Mother, and it is still uncertain whether she will proceed to Holland or Flanders. Her decisions have been as inconstant as the weather here, in which nothing is ever certain.
The plague keeps increasing in this city. Many districts are already shut up and 200,000 persons have gone away from here. All the ambassadors have gone. I shall do the same so soon as I have secured a dwelling that will hold my household and where I can discharge my duties with the least difficulty. This obligation to keep up two houses simultaneously increases the discomfort and the expense, all being due to my extraordinary sojourn in this country. I hope your Excellencies will take this into consideration.
London, the 6th September, 1641.
Postscript : As I am sealing this a confidant of mine at the Court informs me that a courier has reached the queen this night confirming the abandonment by the Scots of their position at Newcastle, and the withdrawal to their own country ; but that General Lesle has offered the king his personal services with the most solemn protestations of loyalty and devotion ; and that these letters bring other good news. Her Majesty is extremely rejoiced about it. I have not yet been able to discover the particulars, because the Court is so far away, but I will do so, and send word next week of anything worthy of note.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
251. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador presented the enclosed paper to the Diet, which has started very well. (fn. 3) He objected to the publication of the exclusion of the Palatine House from the amnesty as premature, since without a general peace there would be no amnesty. He asked that the Palatine princes and their dominions should be included and that the question of the electoral vote should be referred to special negotiation. He said he would await their decision. To this paper the emperor replied by a decree declaring that as the exclusion of the Palatine House from the amnesty was due to their business being referred to special negotiations, the general negotiations need not be delayed on that account, but should rather be promoted and concluded before the end of the Diet. The English ambassador does not seem content with this decree and he at once sent a courier to England to learn his king's decision. It is supposed that he will have created a bad impression, so that we hear the emperor has sent the Baron di Traun to counteract it, and to prevent that crown from taking hostile measures by holding out hopes to it of the restoration of the Palatine.
Vienna, the 7th September, 1641.
Enclosure. 252. Memoriale presentatum Legatis Serenissimi Electoris Moguntini ab Anglico legato, die Augusti decimo, 1641.
Amnistia eo quo proposita est modo est ex directa consequentia Domus Electoralis Palatinae exclusio.
Relatio ad privatum tractatum et si successurus sit tamen negativae in comitiis Imperialibus constitutioni aequalis ponderis nullo modo haberi potest.
Si vero non succedat tunc haec amnistia est ejusdem absoluta exclusio ab Imperio et revera omnes futuros tractatus excludit. Haec amnistia meliori modo habita excludens conditionaliter est propugnaculum pretensionibus Ducis Bavariae, omniumque quarum hac in re interest ad quod semper recurrere possunt et vigore legis Imperialis sese corroborare.
Tempus publicationis ejusdem mihi suspectum est nullam ejus necessitatem usque ad comitiorum recessum videndo : Si quidem ea frui nemo potest usque ad generalem in Germania Pacificationem et proposito tractatui directe opposita videtur.
Id circo ut usque ad tractatus exitum suspendatur peto eo fine ut quid quid in eo conclusum fuerit in Imperialibus Comitiis recipi et confirmari possit quia a privatis tractatibus in negotio tanti momenti dependere non possumus.
Ut in hac amnistia si jam publicaretur Palatinea familiae personae ac ditiones comprehendantur et relatio ad tractatum quo ad dignitatem solum restringatur.
In his talem expecto resolutionem quae simul tractatum et pacem publicam promovere possit ne adversus earn propter implicitatem Domus Palatinae exclusionem protestandi occasio detur.
Sept. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
253. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The ordinary ambassador of these Provinces has arrived from England. He received permission to return during the king's stay in Scotland.
Another arrival is the Countess of Arundel. Her coming heralds that of the queen mother, although some insist that she is still undecided whether she shall sail from Dover for this country, or whether she shall embark for Flanders and go on to Cologne by that route.
The Hague, the 9th September, 1641.
Sept. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
254. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In letters which reached parliament on Monday, General the Earl of Holland gives them fresh assurances of the withdrawal of the Scottish army from this kingdom. He declares that before they went they destroyed the trenches and fortifications added at Newcastle and elsewhere. That Lesle transported his troops and guns also across the River Tine in boats, although with the permission granted he might have taken them comfortably across the bridge at Berwick. The earl states that these forces have halted at the frontier and have stationed themselves there in a body, declaring that when the English have dismissed the remainder of their troops and the garrison of Berwick, the Scots will disband also, except 5000 foot and 1000 horse whom they propose to keep on the plea of serving his Majesty. The true object of this decision does not yet appear. Everyone forms his own opinion about it, coloured by his private sympathies and prejudices.
The people acclaim this happy news with unmixed gladness. The parliamentarians also have in great measure dismissed their fears that the presence of the king is calculated to induce that nation to support the dashing measures which his Majesty is universally credited with cherishing in his breast, namely of throwing off the yoke of the new laws, and the continuation of this parliament in particular, which deprives him of the ornaments of command and of all reputation.
The queen also and all the Court express the utmost satisfaction about the glory of those forces. They proclaim it, contrary to the general opinion, as the most opportune circumstance for restoring the king to the throne of his ancient authority. As the grounds for these hopes are not apparent those of most experience are divided between doubt and mistrust, and it is only natural that everyone should remark upon an action of such importance being seized upon as advantageous by both sides. Speculative persons discuss the matter freely but I will not weary your Excellencies with a matter which the event alone can make clear.
The English general has these last days disbanded eight regiments of infantry and the same number of cavalry. He reports that he would have dismissed the rest but for the lack of cash to pay the troops to whom 800,000 ducats are due. He therefore presses for this provision to be made, and they are very busy over this since the parliamentarians are most anxious to see these forces disbanded at the earliest possible moment, not only for their peace of mind, but for the relief of the public purse, which has been greatly impoverished by recent expenditure, As this outlay weighs heavily upon the people, the deliberations and the continuance of this parliament seem less admirable to them.
Parliament is still sitting in Scotland. It will end within two weeks and this is awaited with curiosity. They speak of the king's return to this city as uncertain. Many believe that he will keep at a distance until he has made experiment whether it be possible for him to subdue the tenacity of the most seditious by negotiation or by other means. Meanwhile in order to secure the interest of General Lesle for his service he has given him the title of Marquis (fn. 4) and that officer expresses the most favourable disposition.
The six commissioners sent from parliament here to that of Scotland, on reaching Berwick decided to send word of their commissions to his Majesty before they proceeded any further. He, recognising the consequences of this mission, roundly refused them permission to act or treat as public persons with the Scots, promising that he himself will obtain the ratification in that parliament of all the articles arranged between the two nations. The deputies have informed parliament of the reply. Although it has perturbed them greatly they have not yet decided upon any other course of action and it is believed that they will let the matter drop.
Meantime but few members attend the debates. Those of the Upper Chamber are reduced to twelve, and in the Lower, out of 500 only 80 put in an appearance. All the rest have absented themselves, owing to the plague or to other reasons. It is stated that in a few days they will pass a resolution to postpone the new session for six weeks. In that time the king will have an opportunity for taking such steps as circumstances may suggest to be most advantageous to him.
To obtain fresh declarations in favour of his interests the Palatine has made a strong appeal for help to the parliament of Scotland also. The king supported it by his cordial recommendation and procured the appointment of the Duke of Lenos and the Marquis of Hamilton, with instructions to enquire into the matter, and subsequently to propose to parliament what they consider most feasible and useful for the Palatine House, towards which the Scots study to display the most friendly disposition. But this will not be very helpful unless it is followed up by deeds in conformity, and that will not be easy in the present crisis of these kingdoms.
After further debate it was decided in parliament on Saturday to advise the king to suspend the levies of troops granted to France and Spain, and not to permit any in the future. In virtue of this decision they forbad the use of the licences granted to the ambassadors. The Catholic ambassador resents this change more than the Most Christian one. The ambassadors of Portugal, on the other hand, approve and express great satisfaction. They declare that this decision will render vain all the efforts of the Spaniards in the offensive which they are preparing against the Duke of Braganza, their master, for whose hurt were destined the 4000 Irish who were to proceed to Spain.
On the same day parliament chose commissioners for all the counties with orders to visit the houses of Catholics and disarm them completely. This has been done with the aim, more particularly, of keeping the people steadfast in their support of the parliamentarians, and of keeping up the hatred against those who profess the true faith, rather than from any well grounded suspicion against the Catholics.
Several despatches of the Ambassador Ro have arrived, but nothing has transpired as to their contents, since they were all sent unopened to the king in Scotland ; so that I cannot report anything about his negotiations. I hope you will excuse this deficiency, which arises from the king and all the ministers being far away.
On Saturday the French ambassador returned from the country to this city on private affairs. On the following day a dangerous disturbance took place at his house, due to the violence of the people. They detest all foreigners exceedingly, but the French in particular, and will not let them be safe even in their own dwellings. On this occasion the household as well as the house of the ambassador suffered. When parliament heard of the incident they sent six members to express their regret, promising every satisfaction and the punishment of the culprits. Ten of them have been arrested. (fn. 5) I report this to show the licence of the people here. However my house has enjoyed perfect quiet up to the present, and I hope it will continue to do so. I do everything in my power to this end for the interest of the state and my own private advantage.
The plague is increasing and what is more important it has this week devastated many houses of great importance (ha questa settimana sacheggiate molte case ben principali). I am still here because I am unable to get elsewhere, owing to the difficulty of finding a residence in the country, which are eagerly sought after by everybody.
I have your Excellencies' letters of the 17th and 23rd ult. I recognise the prudence of your commands. I hope you will have observed my cautious procedure, in which I have upheld the dignity of my office while retaining the regard of the princes here as well as the favour of the parliamentarians.
London, the 13th September, 1641.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
255. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the Scots have disbanded the major portion of their army yet the parliamentarians here are not without apprehension about his Majesty's intentions and those of that nation as well. Reports circulate here that the Scots and the common people especially, display the greatest attachment to the king, while on his side he leaves nothing undone to cultivate this popularity.
This news has caused great alarm to those who vigorously opposed the king's interests in parliament, and this week the leaders of the party, who are the earls of Essex, Warwick and Newport and some others have held long conferences in the house of the earl of Northumberland. The particulars of these discussions have not transpired, but all agree that they have turned upon the best means of resisting any attempt which the king might make on his return. Nothing certain is known about this, and matters remain in the balance as before, with uncertainty as to the end and the means which his Majesty will choose to free himself from the parliament lasting for ever, which is the point that just offends the teeth of his prerogative.
At the Court they seem remarkably pleased and the queen displays her gladness more than any one else, though so far no one knows the reason for it.
Meanwhile, with his Majesty's permission, the parliament of Scotland has sent Baron Metland to the English general, the Earl of Holland, requiring him to delay no longer in the disbanding of his troops, removing the garrisons of Carlisle and Berwick and dismantling the new fortifications added to those important places. The earl gave a firm promise that by the 28th inst. everything should be done, and to this end they are busy collecting the money to pay the troops, who refuse to leave the colours without this just satisfaction.
The demands for fresh payments have been repeated in this city and in all the provinces, but the people, fatigued by the multiplicity of so many extraordinary taxes, do not show that promptitude that the occasion demands, and parliament is losing the great credit which it enjoyed universally, since it appears that instead of relief it has brought expenses and discomfort to the people (et il parlamento decade appresso l' universale del primo gran credito, parendo che in vece di sollevo ha prodotto spese et incommodi a' sudditi).
On the other hand parliament, anxious to maintain its popularity, does its utmost to advertise the results of its deliberations. Last Monday by order they caused bonfires to be lighted in this city and throughout the country and a public fast to be observed, as a token of rejoicing at the departure of the Scottish army from the kingdom.
Orders have been sent to the General, earl of Holland to send here the troops with all the provisions and munitions of war which are in Carlisle and Berwick ; and they have hurriedly sent off a number of ships to those parts to transport them. The real object of this sudden decision has not yet appeared, and it causes much remark.
Although many of the members are still absent, yet in the session on Monday it was proposed in parliament to alter the liturgy established in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and commissioners have been chosen for the purpose of recommending the method of the reform. This will certainly give rise to serious controversy and very great difficulties, with some danger of serious disturbance. Those who profess the Protestant faith let it be freely understood that they will rather embrace the Catholic religion, which is odious to them, than change a jot in the ancient use or to introduce the rigorous observance of the dogmas of Calvin, which the Puritans are trying to introduce as the most efficacious means of preventing the people from tolerating the monarchy any longer.
Something was said in parliament again these last days about adjourning for six weeks. But the fresh suspicions aroused against the king and the absence of those who incline to give pause to their deliberations, have prevented the subject from coming to a head. It will be raised again today and if carried it would be of great advantage to the interests of the king.
Following the example of the prohibition of levies to France and Spain, it has been decided in Scotland also not to allow them to any prince before they hear what turn the negotiations of the Ambassador Ro on behalf of the Palatine House have taken. A declaration has been made that the Scots also will assist that cause with all the forces of that kingdom. But this pronouncement will not assist those princes very much, as present urgencies require it to be translated into action, whereas the sole aim is to intimidate the Austrians, with little desire and less power to do anything at the moment.
The Spanish ambassador, who is staying near the Court, is doing his utmost for the removal of the prohibition against the passage of the Irish to Spain. He has sent letters to his Majesty of the king, his master, promising that the interests of the Palatine family shall not be opposed from his side in the Diet of Ratisbon, and that he will even make strong representations in their favour ; but right minded men attach little faith to this.
The French ambassador also has repeated in writing his request that the English levies granted may not be stopped. So far he has met with no success, except on the condition that the Most Christian shall bind himself by a written declaration, to be represented at the Diet of Ratisbon, that he will never agree to any treaty of peace which does not include the restoration of the Palatine House. But the French ambassador will not listen to any such proposal. He declares that if England is disposed to make an alliance with France for the interests of his nephews, and to pledge himself likewise to break with the House of Austria, the king, his master, will give powerful assistance to the Palatine in men and money, sufficient to procure better fortune.
As the pope does not seem disposed to promote M. di Montegu to the Cardinalate, as recommended by the queen here, her Majesty has made another nomination, the French Bishop of Angolem, Mons. di Peron, a man of great rank and ability.
Many ships from Spain have arrived this week and have brought rich provision of silver, destined for the requirements of Flanders.
Urged by fresh invitations from the Prince of Orange the Queen Mother seized the opportunity of a favourable wind and crossed on Saturday to Holland. She had waited several days at Dover for some specific declaration from the Cardinal Infant that the passports granted would suffice for the safety of her servants, who seemed to be excepted in them. They say she will stay some days at a house of the Prince of Orange to make up her mind what she will do next. I hope tomorrow to get away from the perils of this city and to betake myself to a safe place near the other ambassadors and the Court too.
London, the 20th September, 1641.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
256. To the Ambassador in England.
We have received your letters of the 23rd ult. We note that matters are growing worse in the kingdom. We trust that you will escape the plague. We approve of your replies about Zante and Cephalonia, and you will repeat the same things wherever there is occasion to do so. You will observe the proceedings of those who are concerned and prevent anything that is likely to prejudice the interests of the state. We enclose a sheet of advices.
Ayes, 113. Noes, 2. Neutral, 7.
Sept. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
257. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen mother arrived in Zeeland three days ago and the earl of Arundel with her. She proceeded to Dort and was met there by the Prince of Orange. She left for Gorcum the day before yesterday and will rest a few days there before going straight to Cologne. The States received her with but little ceremony and are making only mediocre demonstrations.
The Hague, the 23rd September, 1641.
Sept. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
258. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
While impatiently waiting for the owner who rented me a house in the country, to make way and allow me to take my household away from the trials of this city, your Excellencies' letters of the 6th inst. reached me, directing me to do this very thing, and to remain until further order. I will obey as soon as I can, and I will also abstain from visiting the queen at Otland, as the other ambassadors do, or from going there or to any place near for the usual complimentary offices, without express instructions. Meanwhile, to avoid hostile comment I will feign to be indisposed in body, as I am seriously in mind, over an affair in which I have no share but trouble and mortification. May the issue result in general applause.
I will now relate the result of the affair of the chaplain. His arrest was due solely to the preacher, who imprisoned many others ; and that he was not immediately released was due to the prejudice of the Secretary of State against the Catholics, who did not at the time obey the orders given. The king and parliament publicly expressed their dissatisfaction at this, and many members came to this house to assure me of this and that there was no foreign minister whom they would wish to respect more, telling me freely that they had more sympathy with the republic than with monarchies. I replied suitably.
After matters were arranged as reported, before I was to have my public audience of the king, the earl of Warwick came to this house by order of the king and parliament, who was to conduct me later to the palace. He expressed regret at the imprisonment of the priest, promised me every honourable means of redress and handed me the warrant under the great seal cancelling the sentence against the priest, setting him at liberty and charging the Recorder and Sheriffs (chievini) of London to publish this in the presence of the judges who had condemned him, and that the Sheriffs should then conduct him to this house. As the judges only meet four times a year by law parliament has made a special act for holding the sessions immediately, so that the cancelling may be as public as the sentence. These particulars are at the end of the warrant which I enclose so that your Excellencies may see that the prisoner has been released without any conditions whatever and with every circumstance of honour. I thanked the earl and at once sent the warrant to the Recorder and Sheriffs. After reading it carefully they said they would obey promptly. The prisoner should be set free, the sentence annulled, they would summon the meeting for the announcement and they would bring me the priest as directed. As the judges were away in the country on their circuit, according to their custom, they would send after them to return without delay to fulfill the commands of his Majesty and parliament. So they sent a courier, who brought back word that the judges were ready to return, but if they came at once they would interrupt the course of justice in the country, causing discontent among the people and personal loss to themselves as they derive great profit from this exercise (con grave discapito delle loro borse, molto proffitando in quest' esercitio). Accordingly they begged the Recorder and Sheriffs to ask that these Sessions may be postponed until the ordinary term of Michaelmas and not to inflict such serious inconvenience and loss upon them in a matter of no consequence, as it was only a ceremony for the greater security of the priest, who would suffer no hurt from this brief delay. So they begged me to support this delay, and thus oblige not only themselves and the judges, but also many accused persons, who had been arrested since the last sessions, including some priests. If these extraordinary sessions were made these would all be condemned to death, and there would be no time to relieve them. My priest would be free all the same. He would live at this house and could go about anywhere in safety. The publication was only a matter of regard. They told me that I was not a minister to cut short the lives of so many men for a satisfaction of no consequence or to suffer my name to be tainted with such lack of charity. Moreover if the act was performed at the ordinary sessions it would be the more conspicuous owing to the crowd present.
Feeling the force of these arguments and reflecting that if the judges wished to postpone their return they could do so under other pretexts, I decided to oblige them, and so this public act will undoubtedly take place on the day after Michaelmas.
In the meantime the priest has been released, and is now celebrating mass publicly in this house. (fn. 6) As I do not know the intentions of your Excellencies I will keep him until your instructions arrive, so that you may be assured that the restitution has been free and entirely unconditional.
I send these particulars to remove all doubts and to show that if the incident was unavoidable and due perhaps to my ill fortune alone the remedy has been complete, and no hurt has been done to the dignity of my office. As it has rather increased its credit I hope that your Excellencies will be satisfied.
Some members of the households of the Ambassadors of Spain and Portugal have also been arrested, and although they have taken steps to obtain satisfaction, not only have they failed to get it, but they have had great trouble in obtaining the release of their servants. This shows that these accidents have not happened to me only, but to others as well.
London, the 27th September, 1641.
Enclosure. 259. Carolus D.G. etc. omnibus ad quos etc. Cum ad sessionem tenutam per civitatem London apud justice Hall in le Olde Bayly in parochia Sancti Sepulchri in Warda de Faringdon extra London predictam die Mercurii scilicet vicesimo primo die Julii anno Regni nostro decimo septimo coram Edmundo Wright milite, Major : civitatis nostrae London, Edwardo Bromfeilde, milite, Thoma Gardiner armigero, Recordatore Civitatis predictae et aliis sociis suis Justiciariis nostris etc. ad inquirendas etc. de quibuscunque proditionibus etc. ac ad eadem proditiones et alia premissa audienda et terminanda etc. presentatum fuit quod Cutbertus Clopton nuper de London clericus alias dictus Cutbertus Greene, reciting the sentence passed against him to be executed at Tyburn and the king's free pardon granted to him with provision that he shall not be molested again for the alleged offence.
Letters patent dated at Westminster on the 28th July in the 17th year of the reign. (fn. 7)
[per ipsum Regem.
[Latin ; copy ; 3 pages.]
Sept. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
260. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After many disputes the perils of the plague have at last persuaded the most daring of the parliamentarians to agree to some pause in the sitting of parliament. On Friday in last week they decided unanimously to prorogue it until the first days of November next, on the supposition that with the cold weather approaching this sickness will be abating, which has given such just cause for everyone to leave their dwellings here.
Meanwhile they have constituted a magistracy of forty members that is ten of the Upper Chamber and thirty of the Lower who are to represent the majesty of parliament, with authority to accept petitions, treat with the Scots as required, provide the fortresses and the soldiers with food and munitions of war, and to convoke the whole parliament in case of need.
The Court has learned with great satisfaction of this decision to give up their debates for the time, as it is considered more likely to help the king to win over by promises and in other ways those members who have been most prominent in attacking his interests, and at the same time to show the people that the violent measures which have been taken in the past have been inspired rather by personal passion than by regard for the welfare of the realm. Such ideas are now circulating among many in the country and if they should get a firmer hold they might cause inconvenience to those who have given rein to licence under the pretext of zeal for the public liberty.
Prudent men and those well affected to his Majesty's service by no means like this innovation of setting up a tribunal for maintaining parliamentary authority always in vigour, as they consider that it contains the seed of hurtful consequences in the future and that it comprises a secret intention to approach the Dutch form of government, for which the people here show far too much inclination.
On the same day the Lower Chamber passed a resolution, which has been printed and published, commanding the ministers of the churches and all and sundry not to observe with the old punctuality the liturgy established in the time of Queen Elizabeth, forbidding them in particular to kneel in church at the name of Jesus, from the sign and use of the cross, from removing the tables or altars from the walls to the middle of the church, and to use them only for the communion ; besides the ceremonies of the vestments of ministers and other matters, all contrary to the decisions of the Upper House, debated these last months and recently published. This causes considerable remark and throws a flood of light on the disagreement between the intentions of the nobility and those of the Lower House. If this is cultivated by the king by devious means as occasion serves, it may afford him an opportunity for destroying this hydra of such troublesome sedition through its own discords, since it is a matter of serious importance and capable of development.
From Scotland his Majesty reports to the queen that the parliament is progressing and seems likely to serve him well. The earl of Arghil has submitted himself humbly, a noble with a great following in that country. At the birth of these disturbances he took the field with 15,000 men to resist his Majesty's intentions. He now promises the most loyal and ready service. General Lesle also continues the like protestations. In sign of his appreciation of this the king says that he has afforded the general many tokens of regard, and in particular that he has taken him with him in his coach through the city of Edinburgh amid the loud acclamations of the people who, in token of their gladness have lighted bonfires and made other demonstrations for this reason alone.
Private letters confirm all this, but they add that the Scots, not content with all that the king has granted them ask that he shall not in future distribute the offices of that crown to any individual before the kingdom has supplied his Majesty with information about the abilities and merits of the persons to whom he proposes to give them. This demand is certainly an indication that even in the midst of all these official signs of affection they do not lose hold of the intention of encroaching more and more upon the royal authority. I am advised that his Majesty is disposed to gratify them even over such an important request, with the sole object of securing the affections of that nation, and so to deprive the English of the hope of enjoying their efficacious assistance any longer.
The Dutch fleet destined for the service of the new king of Portugal has been held up by contrary winds and has put in to the ports here. After taking fresh provisions they will proceed to the coasts of that kingdom as soon as the weather becomes favourable.
London, the 27th September, 1641.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
261. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The earl of Arundel has come here to the Hague. He announces that he will return to England after he has settled his three sons, (fn. 8) whom he has with him for the study of languages at the University of Utrecht. His wife is still accompanying the queen mother on her journey. The day before yesterday her Majesty embarked at Gorcum to proceed on her journey to Cologne. It is uncertain as yet whether she will make a long stay there.
The Hague, the 30th September, 1641.


  • 1. They were the earl of Bedford, Edward lord Howard, Nathaniel Fiennes, Sir William Armin, Sir Philip Stapleton and John Hampden, appointed on the 20th August, o.s. Journal of the House of Lords, Vol. iv., page 372.
  • 2. The commissioners for Scotland were instructed to see the lord General on the way and inform him of this desire of parliament for the disbanding of the army. Journal of the House of Commons, Vol. ii., page 266.
  • 3. "On the 10th of this month I made a short remonstrance against it [the limited amnesty] to the ambassadors to the Elector of Mainz, as directors of the College...desiring them to propose it to their Assembly, which they promised to do and return me an answer ; which they never performed, but rather communicated it with the Imperial ministers, from them to receive a final sentence." Roe's despatch of the 17—27 August, 1641. S.P. For. Germany States.
  • 4. If that was the intention it was not observed. Leslie was created earl of Leven on Friday the 5—15 November, and more formally in parliament at Edinburgh on the following day. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641-3, pages 160, 161. Paul gives the date as 11 October, without quoting his authority. Scots Peerage, Vol. v., page 374.
  • 5. The embassy was in Lincoln's Inn Fields. Six men were convicted and sontenced for this riot to the pillory and a public whipping ; afterwards remitted at the ambassador's intercession. Journal of the House of Lords, Vol. iv., pages 382, 389.
  • 6. According to Salvetti, this was not the case, and the priest was not released until a month later, causing considerable embarrassment to Giustinian who had reported he was free when he was not. Despatch of the 25th October. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 H.
  • 7. Text in Rymer : Fœdera, Vol. ix., page 49.
  • 8. Arundel had only two surviving sons, who were both grown to man's estate. It must mean his grandsons. His eldest surviving son, Henry Frederick Howard, lord Mowbray and Maltravers, had eight sons, of whom the eldest, Thomas, Henry and Philip were of an age to study at Utrecht.