Venice: December 1641

Pages 253-266

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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December 1641

Dec. 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Haya. Venetian Archives.
294. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Since the fresh disturbances in Scotland and Ireland they are not so eager here about nominating ambassadors extraordinary for England. By this embassy the prince hoped to arrange finally the marriage of his son and to fetch the princess to this Court. He now hopes to obtain considerable advantages from the circumstances, without instituting fresh negotiations. He has decided to suspend the extraordinary mission and to meet the emergency by despatching with all speed Joachimi, the ordinary ambassador.
The Hague, the 2nd December, 1641.
Dec. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
295. To the Ambassador in London.
We commend your offices in the matter of the currants, especially with the Earl of Arundel. If his efforts are successful you will thank him in the name of the state. For the rest you will point out that the merchants receive every advantage and security in their private affairs. That past experience shows how monoplies in London have disturbed trade generally and the good of the few has in this way been preferred before the interests of his Majesty himself and those of all his subjects. Further that the republic is disposed to give the most just satisfaction to all.
That a copy of the letters of the Ambassador in London on the currant trade be furnished to the Five Savii sopra Mercanzia, in order that they may give their opinion on oath as to the manner of removing the appeals of English merchants from this city and their grievances, in conformity with the contents of those letters, in order to afford greater facilities to the currant trade.
Ayes, 108. Noes, 1. Neutral, 2.
Dec. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
296. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king entered this city yesterday as expected. The pomp and circumstance in this connection give rise to hopes that the aspect of affairs here may yet change, and so it may be useful to report everything in detail.
At Tibols, 12 miles from here, his Majesty was met by the queen, the princes and the most loyal and trusted lords of the realm. Four miles outside London the mayor came out with the aldermen and 600 horsemen of the most substantial citizens, with numerous liveries and richly dressed. All the streets were decorated. The magistrates of the city and the Guilds lined them for a great distance assisted by the rest of the people, who all gathered there and rendered the entry the more remarkable.
A short distance out, the king left his coach and mounted a horse, as did the prince and other Lords, in order to show himself better in his passage through the city. When he entered he was received everywhere with universal acclamations, while he was careful to thank the people by gesture and speech, thus causing a renewal of the shouts of welcome. He alighted first at the Guildhall (casa della villa) a thing never done by any of his predecessors, where he had a brave reception, with the queen and all his company. After the banquet he fully satisfied the expectations of the city by his courtesy, he restored to them as a sign of his favour, the town of Londonderry in Ireland, which had been taken from them some years ago by the deceased lieutenant.
After these compliments his Majesty was escorted with the same company and order to his royal palace by torchlight, always amid the same shouts and acclamations.
Alarmed by these demonstrations the parliamentarians of the Lower House, being especially fearful that the support of the people may fail them, are examining all the ways by which they can best cast discredit upon the present and past actions of his Majesty. To this end they have proposed in parliament to draw up a paper, to be published, with all the disorders which have taken place in the government since his accession up to the present, feeling sure that when the people hear of past disorders and the remedies proposed for the future, their zeal for the procedure of the parliamentarians will be confirmed, while they will be estranged from the king, and so it will be easier for them to realise fully the designs which this violent move is intended to accomplish. Nevertheless they have had long debates over this seditious proposal, which has met with strong opposition. It was only carried by ten votes, and it is doubtful even yet if it will be carried out, becuase many have protested roundly denouncing the step as mischievous and in no way calculated to benefit the state.
The discussion on this important question is to be continued in parliament today, and everyone is closely watching what the result will be, as an indication of what the future will bring.
With the king returned the Prince Palatine, and the Marquis Hamilton also, who enjoys the old confidence and affection of his Majesty even after all the things that have happened.
2000 infantry have been marched to the coast this week, so that they may be quickly transported to Ireland. News arrived from there yesterday that the rebels have cut in pieces a number of Scots living in the country, who had united to resist them, that they have burned several villages and are at present erecting fortifications at two ports (fn. 1) where succours for the other side might be expected to land. The gentleman I sent to Scotland returned on Sunday. He tells me that when the king read my letter in his presence he seemed much moved. He asked for further particulars, and then said that he was not to blame. He considered the incident very serious. He was coming to London and would wish me to have the most complete satisfaction. He showed great courtesy to my gentleman and spoke very kindly of me. The gentleman had scarcely got downstairs when the king sent after him and made him repeat the account of the matter when his Majesty reiterated his former expressions.
Although I have not paid my respects yet on the king's return, I will do so at a suitable opportunity, as I do not think it well to omit these first duties. The Spanish ambassador, though equally affronted by the opening of his despatches, intends to perform them, and the king certainly had no part in this act, which he has shown that he bitterly resents.
London, the 7th December, 1641.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispaeci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
297. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
They are drawing up new instructions for the Ambassador Joachimi, who will leave shortly for England, to resume his ordinary embassy, to enable him to respond if they institute proposals for an alliance with this state.
The Hague, the 9th December, 1641.
Dec. 10.
Cinque Savii alla Mercanzia. Risposte, Venetian Archives.
298. With regard to the reference by the Senate about the dispute between John Obson and Angelo Bonicelli, we have to report that it originated in the formation of a company by Bonicelli and some English merchants, among whom were Venetian Rodolfo Simes, then living at Venice, and Obson, who was then at Zante. The capital amounted to some 40,000 reals, one half on account of the English and the other half of Bonicelli. About the year 1630 Bonicelli came to Venice and found that Simes had died of the plague. Obson arrived there soon after and the quarrel over the accounts then began. A long drawn out lawsuit was started. Obson demanded that Bonicelli should account for 10,000 reals sent to Zante by Simes. Subsequently, wishing to depart for England, Obson, by means of the English Secretary, obtained the postponement of the suit until his return, giving pledges that he would respect the sentence when given. Obson has failed to keep this engagement. Finally the arbiters gave judgment for the payment to Bonicelli of 30,438 ducats, disallowing Obson's counter claim for 10,000 reals. This sentence was confirmed by the Avogador Bondumier and by the Council of Forty. Thereupon Obson brought a criminal action against Bonicelli for defrauding the Company of 10,000 reals. But the suit was dismissed and the Company was condemned to pay to Bonicelli the amount mentioned above. A further appeal made by Obson was disallowed. Finally, through the interposition of his king the state appointed judges to decide the question, and on the 4th September last the matter was settled by a judgment reversing the others (con contraditorio giuditio).
By virtue of this arbitrary sentence Bonicelli remitted the money to be paid to Obson by letters of exchange. The agent of the English merchants had a dispute with Bonicelli about the money being paid at Venice. Bonicelli obtained a verdict in his favour without difficulty, and this is not liable to appeal, as the merchants admit.
Obson's complaint is that the arbiters would not admit his proofs to substantiate the claim for 10,000 reals, and because Bonicelli claims that he is liable for the whole amount of the debt covered by the sentence.
Dated at the office, the 10th December, 1641.
Antonio Venier, Savii
Lorenzo Dolfin,
Zuanne Moro,
Francesco Corner,
Dec. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
299. To the Ambassador in London.
We are assured by the Five Savii alla Mercanzia that the merchant Obson resorted to several tribunals and from each of them he received the justice meted out to all, particularly to foreigners. But if right is not on his side judgment cannot be in his favour. The enclosed paper will supply the particulars, upon which you will formulate your replies, in general terms. We may possibly send more next week. We enclose the usual sheet of advices.
Ayes, 112. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
Dec. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
300. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Following up the sentiments expressed to my gentleman about the accident of the letters, his Majesty asked for detailed information almost immediately on his arrival here. He lamented the event extremely to his ministers and declared in the presence of the whole Court that he would give your Excellencies and your minister every satisfaction desired. He also expressed his personal disgust to the Earl of Oland. On Sunday he sent for Lord Fildinch and ordered him, without further delay, to come to this embassy to apologise for the incident, and to declare that the republic is a great prince whose friendliness to this crown he fully recognises, that my service is pleasing to him and that he wishes to show the world the regard he bears for your Excellencies.
All the ambassadors have paid their respects to his Majesty. The Spaniard after doing so remonstrated strongly about the opening of his letters, to which, as was remarked, the king replied temperately.
To avoid lack of manners I also expressed to his Majesty on Monday my satisfaction at his return. I thought it best to say nothing about the packets but to leave it to him, to leave him more at liberty to express his sentiments. After thanking me warmly he said he had heard of the incident. His displeasure could not be greater. The only relief was that he was not present. He asked for the fullest particulars, and said he was determined, should I not be satisfied with the demonstrations made by parliament, to give me all the satisfaction that I might desire that remained in his power. He asked me repeatedly what I required, declaring he was ready to grant anything. I told him I expected nothing less of his generosity. But my duty compelled me to report the incident to your Excellencies and I must await your instructions. To this the king replied, I have ordered Fildinch to proceed to Venice without delay, and he will go with all speed. He will have orders to give every satisfaction to the republic. He will take letters of credence, and I shall give him letters with declarations in the same sense, all to show my regard for the republic and my content with you. He repeated twice that Fildinch would go soon and would take these letters. He said he would send the letters on the following day, and I am advised that the courier is leaving with them today. Meanwhile the eagerness of his Majesty to remedy this incident has caused remark throughout the Court, and serves to enhance the greatness of the Senate, especially as I do not hear that they have given the Spanish ambassador any redress for the injury.
London, the 13th December, 1641.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
301. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Nothing much has happened this week, the sittings of parliament being mostly consumed in discussions and long disputes rather than in deciding anything of importance. The most remarkable thing at the moment is the king's intimation to parliament to desist from the practice of having themselves guarded by numerous armed squadrons, which they had introduced during his absence, ostensibly for their safety, as the king considers it unnecessary and very injurious to the convenience of his people.
The members of the Lower House strongly objected to this decision but although they tried to prevent its execution, they have at last made up their minds to obey, after some resistance. This is an indication that now the support of the Scottish forces has ceased as well as their hope of backing from this city, even the most obstinate are preparing to resume their former modesty, and that his Majesty may be able to resume the just possession of the authority enjoyed by his predecessors. With regard to the remonstrance touching the disorders under the late government, after numerous debates they have decided, to abandon the idea of sending it to the Upper House for approval or to have it printed. They have merely decided to present it to his Majesty so that he may decide what is best for the service of his subjects, with the approval of parliament. A deputation will take it to the king today, and it is hoped that this publication against the late government may not have the effect in prejudicing his Majesty's subjects against him that those who sharpened this arrow may have imagined.
Six deputies of Scotland are expected in this city. They are said to be charged to arrange about the assistance that has been decided by the two parliaments in favour of the Palatine House. But those best acquainted with the present condition of these realms believe it impossible to carry it out and they believe that the sole object of this move is to support the negotiations of the ambassador at the Imperial Court, which the French ambassador here is doing his utmost to discredit and to make appear hopeless.
A courier arrived two days ago from Ireland with the report that the rebels daily increase in numbers and are doing most serious hurt to the Protestants in their advance, and that yet another province has revolted and is exhibiting the same designs as the other. (fn. 2)
Here, despite the efforts to send help, they meet with insuperable difficulties and but scant hopes remain of reducing that people to quiet by force.
The queen's confessor has come out of the Tower, but is obliged to present himself to parliament when called upon. His crimes have dissolved away and are recognised by the unprejudiced as due to hate and malignant invention.
Dissatisfied with the first Secretary of State his Majesty has deprived him of the office of Treasurer of the Household, which he enjoyed, and has even appointed the second secretary (ha fatto la nominatione ancora del secondo segretario), with the intention of striking that disaffected official yet more shrewdly. (fn. 3)
London, the 13th December, 1641.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
302. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When the affair of the opened letters occured on the 21st ult. I made report the next day and gave the despatch to my gentleman, to be taken to Flanders. When he arrived at Dover he found the ordinary of Antwerp ready to sail, and to save trouble and expense he gave the packet to the Master of the Posts at Dover, (fn. 4) who in his presence put it into the bag with the rest of the letters and promised that it should be faithfully taken across. For greater security my gentleman stayed at Dover until he saw the messenger embark. I now learn to my infinite mortification that the courier has not done his duty, but that he took the packet out of the bag and gave it back to the master of the Posts at Dover, who kept it back until the following week. I cannot state the true reason for this action, but I am afraid it is due to the diligence of Lord Fildinch, who wants the news to reach his secretary first. Today I shall complain to his Majesty about the Master of the Posts and try and make him render account. I report this to show the violence of Fildinch's procedure, due to the hope that if his report arrives first your resentment will be less and you will not insist on the punishment of the delinquents as they deserve.
London, the 13th December, 1641.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Dec. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
303. Thadio Vico, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has presented a new paper to the Congress. He called on me yesterday and said he was aware of their conspiracy to procrastinate and wait for what time would bring. He commended the zeal shown by the emperor in the matter, but said he was so bound by these two knots of Spain and Bavaria that he might not be a free agent. The ambassador said he had decided to present another categorical demand to the Congress and his Majesty, with a time limit, and if they did not respond, he would leave at once for England. He went on : They believe here that they can twist me as they please, but they will realise at last that I am not a buffalo. They think that these new disturbances in Ireland, which certainly are not negligable but which will be put down, are likely to keep us busy and they even want to force us to submit to demands which might cause a breach with France, so as to keep us further distracted from this subject. But they make a great mistake about the issue if God wills to protect this just cause, as I believe He will.
Vienna, the 14th December, 1641.
Dec. 14.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
304. The Resident of England came into the Collegio and said :
I come with shame to report what I would rather had not happened. He then presented a memorial.
The doge replied, the first fault might have been attributed to carelessness, but its repetition leaves no doubt about malicious inadvertence. We regret to hear it, because the rights of nations are not recognised or the respect which is due to ambassadors. These Signors have heard and will give the matter their consideration.
The Resident replied that the evil had brought its remedy with the protest already made. This will be accepted by the republic as evidence of his Majesty's good intentions.
With this the Resident made his bow and went out. (fn. 5)
The Memorial.
Owing to the disturbances in Ireland some members of the Lower House were appointed to examine letters coming from abroad, it being understood that those directed to foreign ministers should not be touched. In order to protect the packet of your Serenity's minister from any carelessness or mistake, our ambassador wished to be present, to which he had a right as a peer of the realm, and from his devotion to the republic. When he asked for the letters of the Venetian ambassador he found the cover already broken, so he refused to take it. All the commissioners and other persons of distinction who were present subsequently assured him that it had been done by pure accident, and asked him to take the packet to the ambassador and apologise. He did this, being accompanied by another gentleman. They found his Excellency much incensed at what had been done but were able to appease him by their apologies, protestations and requests. But when, in the following week another packet was violated by the commissioners, and the seal of St. Mark removed, his Excellency could no longer contain himself and presented a paper to the royal Council, denouncing the commissioners as violators of the law of nations. The Council took the paper to the House of Lords, greatly magnifying the act which was universally condemned. They directed that every effort should be made to discover those who had been guilty of this infringement of the public faith, but the efforts made were without success. So to give satisfaction to the ambassador the House of Lords published a protest against this action as done contrary to the public intention, which protest was afterwards presented to his Excellency by four leading men, as your Serenity has probably heard. Nothing therefore remains to me but to beg your Serenity to accept the representations set forth in that protest, and to assure you of the perfect friendliness of the parliament, and its intention to discover and punish the culprits, and also that his Majesty on his return, will not fail to give the most complete satisfaction.
Dec. 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
305. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The day after the king entered this city he went on with all the court to Hampton Court, with the intention of staying there during the winter season, and only come here to see the ambassadors and other necessary functions.
The citizens and merchants of London who in his past absence have noticed the loss which results to the trade of this great city by the court being far away, decided to send on Friday to Hampton Court the mayor and aldermen, charged to present to his Majesty in the name of the community fresh protestations of the loyalty and obedience of the people, and beseeching him to dismiss from his thoughts the memory of certain offences which he had received in the past, and to come back and live here, promising to assist him with all their power and upon every occasion.
The king, anxious to secure to himself the affection of his subjects and of this city in particular, which was the most forward and seditious towards him, seized the opportunity and told him : that he considered London the chief limb of his crown, and that upon which his greatness rested. He was disposed to do anything to further the interests of inhabitants, and to achieve this he would not refuse to incur any kind of danger. He promised to return on Monday to live in the city, as he has done, and, in the presence of the queen, as a token of regard, he knighted all the aldermen, whom he afterwards sumptuously entertained. (fn. 6)
These men, who are leaders of position among the people returned to London quite delighted and praised his Majesty's goodness to the skies. This has aroused a universal feeling of devotion towards these princes and destroyed the aversion which they have shown towards them in the past. As this has served as the most powerful means for enabling parliament to keep the king in the constraint reported, so at the moment there is a gleam of hope that a perseverance in such declarations of the people may serve as a useful instrument for restoring the king's original authority, and he has already begun to exercise it again, as you shall hear.
The Lower House presented the remonstrance reported to his Majesty by twelve deputies, with the request that he would permit the punishment of the authors of past disorders, which means the ministers most in his favour. They further asked that the vacant offices of Great Steward and Lord Treasurer should be bestowed on the Earls of Pembruch and Salsberi, who are Puritans, ill disposed towards his Majesty and strong partisans of the parliament. The king, although very sensible of the reflection upon the prudence of his government, and about his absolute prerogative of appointing to offices, accepted the paper without alteration and made a general reply. But on the other hand, on the next day he nominated as Great Steward the Duke of Richemont, formerly Lenos, one of those accused of being responsible for past disorders, showing his constant determination not to consent to any further encroachment upon his royal rights. The disaffected parliamentarians are highly incensed at this and threaten further attacks and changes.
In addition to depriving the first secretary of the office of treasurer of the Household and appointing another as second secretary, the king has deprived him of the secretaryship itself. (fn. 7) At the palace they talk freely of changing many of the leading ministers soon, as well as servants of the Court, who in the late disturbances have publicly conspired against the intentions and interests of his Majesty.
Those concerned are very uneasy about this and about other steps which may be expected in the future. In order to avert the danger and peril from their heads they are plotting secretly and endeavouring by fresh devices to render his Majesty's actions odious to the people and to restore parliament to its former credit.
The French ambassador has tried to introduce overtures for an adjustment ; but the king has not welcomed his interposition, as owing to the ambassador's close relations with the leaders of the Puritans the king considers him more likely to promote the interests of that party than his own. The king also cherishes a secret grudge against this minister personally and equally against the present policy of France, which he suspects of secretly encouraging trouble. And so amid these ups and downs there is no place for any sound judgment as to how these suspicions and mistrusts will end.
M. d' Enflit has arrived from Holland in a private capacity. The report is confirmed that the real reason for his journey is to promote a marriage between the Prince of Wales and the eldest daughter of the Prince of Orange.
The Prince of Razvil, also, a Pole, has landed at Dover. He is expected at Court to arrange a marriage between himself and the second daughter of the Princess Palatine. (fn. 8)
Numerous waggons laden with munitions of war have travelled towards the sea ports to be taken across to Ireland this week. No news has come thence since the last reported, although long discussions are being held about events there, but no decision has been yet announced.
I have complained to the king about the delay of my letters by the Master of the Posts at Dover. He assured me that he would make a vigorous demonstration of his displeasure. He asked for a written statement and sent the secretary of state here for a memorial. I hear that this postmaster has been summoned to Court and the one at Dover has orders to appear to render account of his fault.
London, the 20th December, 1641.
Postscript :—I learn that the Dover postmaster has arrived and has been committed to prison. (fn. 9)
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
306. Thadio Vico, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
They never cease their blandishment to persuade the English ambassador that they mean to give satisfaction to the Palatine, to avoid increasing his irritation. Meanwhile in order to confirm him in this view they are asking that in addition to the full powers from the king he will have others sent from the two parliaments of England and Scotland as well. They tell him this is necessary because these same parliaments have declared their wish to embrace and assist this cause. They also ask for the ultimate wishes of those bodies and what conditions they are prepared to accept on behalf of the Palatine, to assist their negotiations and the settlement of the question. The ambassador sees through it all, but I do not know what he replied or what he proposes to do.
Vienna, the 20th December, 1641.
Dec. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
307. To the Ambassador in London.
We rejoice at the king's return. You will express the satisfaction of the republic at this event to the king himself at a special audience, assuring him of the republic's affection. We enclose sheet of advices.
Ayes, 137. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
Dec. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
308. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Released from his prison in Germany Prince Rupert has arrived here. He expresses much satisfaction at the honourable treatment which he received at the Imperial Court. The Princess, his mother, is extremely consoled at his return. Her pleasure has been redoubled by the recent favourable declaration of the Scottish parliament to assist the Palatine, her son, with 10,000 men paid.
The Hague, the 26th December, 1641.
Dec. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
309. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In the present state of affairs with the issue uncertain, each side makes the most subtle efforts to improve its position. The king stands upon his just rights while the others try to render their present authority more stable. Thus his Majesty has sent orders to 210 members of parliament who are absent, to return on the 12th prox. to take part in the session, in the persuasion that with the increase of numbers his party will be strengthened, since it is certain that only those withdrew who most abhor the changes and who disliked being involved in such troublesome disorders, in the continuation of which it would appear that the other side bases its most certain hopes of permanence.
The king has also had printed a proclamation enjoining the rigorous observance of the ancient laws and acts of parliament touching the liturgy of the Church here, at the same time forbidding the introduction of new rites, and charging the parish ministers and those who superintend justice not to permit any other use than that established by Queen Elizabeth, which means the punctual exercise of the Protestant religion and the tacit exclusion of the Puritan. (fn. 10)
The leaders of that sect object to this declaration, recognising that this prudent command of the king, which is supported by the laws which are universally held in great respect, wins him the sympathies of the Protestants while it rebukes the temerity of those who, in his absence unlawfully abrogated the statutes of the land by the orders reported, about destroying images, bowing at the name of Jesus and other ceremonies. These men, moved by prejudice and the well founded apprehension that if his Majesty recovers his authority the blow will fall upon them for what they have done in the past under specious pretexts, have proposed in the Lower House the choice of three generals, one to command at sea, and the others on land, with despotic authority, independent of the king in parliament, to gather troops, collect money, punish guilty persons, in short all the powers of an absolute king, with the intention to appoint their own partisans to these posts and deprive his Majesty and parliament as well of all authority. (fn. 11)
But on a close examination of the project the device became manifest and so far it has not won the approval of prudent men. In any case it has been condemned in debate, and it is certain that even if it passed in the Lower House it would never be accepted in the Upper or by the king, whose assent is necessary, and whose interests are deeply involved.
Meanwhile such attempts cause apprehension to the most devoted servants of his Majesty and to those who sigh impatiently for the troubles of England to recede, since they suspect that these leaders of the Puritans, open enemies of the royal greatness, are fearful for their own safety, and may adopt the most desperate expedients to the detriment of the public peace. For this reason disinterested men are torn between doubts and misgivings over the future.
To appease complaints and to restore its own credit with the people the Lower House has resolved that every one shall have the right to claim his due even from members of parliament, who by law enjoy exemption during parliament as well as their dependents. The Upper House, however, which is more interested than the other in this privilege, which it finds profitable, refuses to pass this bill, on the plea that it will not deprive itself of an ancient prerogative, an action which diminishes its popularity still more.
In the name of the city of London many substantial citizens who profess Puritanism appeared in the Lower House on Tuesday and presented a memorial signed by a large number of poor folk, in which they audaciously repeat the demand that the bishops may be excluded from parliament, severity continued against the Catholics and the vote of Catholic peers suspended. (fn. 12) These withdrew to their country houses some time ago, and they will now return in obedience to his Majesty's invitation.
The paper was received without any notice being taken, and it is not expected to make any impression on the members of moderate opinions, since it appears that the act was inspired by those who, for the encouragement of their party, are seeking by every means to create the impression that everyone is seeking the same objects. Seven priests who have been imprisoned a long time, were condemned to the extreme penalty last week. The French ambassador moved by pity and by a wish to please the queen, pleaded with the king for their lives. He was told that his request could not be granted without the consent of parliament, so he applied privately to the Upper House. They informed the Lower Chamber of the ambassador's request and decided to grant it. When his Majesty learned this he sent orders to the sheriffs to suspend the execution of the sentence. Now parliament repents of the concession and claims that the priests must die, disowning the king's suspension and the promise given to the ambassador, who does not conceal his annoyance. But the king stands firmly by his order to the sheriffs and will not draw back until parliament, having made up its full numbers, decides otherwise by a majority of votes, which does not increase his popularity among the people. (fn. 13)
As the English are still unwilling to serve in the regiments destined for Ireland, they have decided to enlist 5000 Scots in addition to those commanded, so that they may go over without further delay. They have sent someone to Scotland on purpose to speed up this levy, promising that their pay shall be given them promptly as well as the arms and munitions they require.
The more prudent among the ministers do not altogether approve of the plan of gathering so large a force of Scots in Ireland, because of the fear that when the rebels are reduced and they have become masters of the island, they may then attach it to the dominions of the kingdom of Scotland.
Meanwhile the Earl of Dillon has arrived from Ireland, a man of great influence. He promises his Majesty absolutely that he will bring the people there back to their obedience if he is willing to grant them liberty of conscience, and that their parliament shall not be dependent on the one here. The king with the majority of the Upper House, seems inclined to allow them the free exercise of their religion, but the Lower is absolutely opposed to this demand and has passed fresh resolutions that it shall not be lawful to grant such advantages to anyone in his Majesty's dominions. If they persist in this attitude all hope disappears of seeing those disturbances accommodated without force and much toil.
London, the 27th December, 1641.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
310. Thadio Vico, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
As regards the Palatine affair we hear that the English ambassador has made a statement that if he is certain that in this quarter they will promise to give satisfaction to the Palatine both in the matter of his state and in that of the electoral dignity, then he will be content to listen to the conditions which are desired by Spain and Bavaria and will try and arrange that the Palatine shall yield something of his full claims on both these heads. But with regard to the second undertaking which they require from him, namely that before anything is carried out he shall give assurance of the peace, he says that he is not God Almighty to promise this, but he is ready to promise that once the question of the restoration of the states and vote to the Palatine is settled, then the king of England will undertake to do everything in his power not only to bring about peace, but will make himself the go between and mediator both within and without the empire.
The ambassador intimates that powers from the parliaments are not necessary, and they did not promise help for the Palatine to any but his king, who has supreme power in such matters, and what he promises by his ambassador will be approved by the parliaments.
Vienna, the 28th December, 1641.


  • 1. Probably Dundak captured together with Ardee. Warner : Hist. of the Rebellion and Civil War in Ireland, page 108.
  • 2. Wicklow revolted on the 12—22 November, and Wexford and Carlow soon afterwards followed suit. Warner : Hist, of the Rebellion and Civil War in Ireland, page 119.
  • 3. According to Salvetti, Nicholas was knighted, made a member of the council of state and appointed to Windebank's place as second secretary on Tuesday the 10th December, and Vane was not dismissed till Simday the 15th. Letters of 13th and 20th Dec. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 279621. The king took away the office of Treasurer from him at Newcastle. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641-3, page 178.
  • 4. William Wade.
  • 5. This office would appear to be the result of a resolution of the 16—26 November to appoint a committee to consider a despatch to the Agent at Venice to report the satisfaction given to Giustinian, and so that "he may be the better instructed how to apply himself to the state there to give satisfaction" to the merchants of Venice, lest they should suffer for the opening of the ambassador's letters." Journal of the House of Lords, Vol. iv., page 441.
  • 6. On the 3—13 December at Hampton Court the king knighted Thomas Soames, John Gayer, Jacob Gerrard, John Wollaston, George Garret, aldermen, and George Clerk, sheriff of London. Metcalfe : Book of Knights, page 197.
  • 7. On Sunday, the 15th December.
  • 8. Louise Hollandine, born 18 April, 1622. This is probably the subject of a somewhat obscure reference in a letter of the Princess Palatine of the 2nd January, 1642. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641-3, page 436.
  • 9. William Wade. He was committed to the Gatehouse, and released on bail on Dec. 21—31. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641-3, page 210. In a letter of the 15—25 Dec. the Master of the Ceremonies asked Giustinian to pardon Wade and allow him to return to his post. S.P. For. Venice.
  • 10. Proclamation of the 10—20 Dec. for obedience to the laws ordained for establishing the true religion in England. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641-3, page 193.
  • 11. The Militia Bill, introduced on the 7—17 December.
  • 12. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641-3, pages 195, 196 ; given there as presented on 11-21 Dec., a Saturday. Tuesday was the 24th.
  • 13. Their names were Hammond, John Rivers alias Abbot, Walter Coleman, Edward Cannon, Wilford, Francis Tournon alias Willmore and Fryer. The Commons at first asked for the execution of all but Cannon and Wilford, but on the 31st Dec. o.s. they asked that all should be executed without exception. Journal of the House of Commons, Vol. ii., pages, 339, 340, 365.