Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 26, 1642-1643. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1925.
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July 1642, 16-31
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
94. To the Ambassador in England.
Commendation of his efforts. Nothing to add in the way of instructions except to continue his meritorious procedure. Acknowledge his letters of the 20th and 27th June. Enclose sheets of advices for two weeks. He has recognised the importance of the offices of the French ambassador, and it is necessary to keep a close watch on them. Have received information that Ro is returning home, there being nothing to detain him.
Vote of 300 ducats for couriers and the carriage of letters ; to be paid to the ambassador's agents.
Ayes, 108. Noes, 0. Neutral, 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
95. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
While the well disposed parliamentarians were labouring to lead those less friendly towards an unfettered respect for his Majesty, with the idea of resuming afterwards the thread of negotiations for an accommodation, a fresh declaration of the king arrived on Saturday which has interrupted the course of that beneficent work. This paper states that the late decisions of parliament touching the control of the troops are the result of interested passion, founded upon violence and utterly repugnant to the laws of the crown. He protests that he will never permit them to be carried out, and that he is equally disposed to ensure for himself those rights for which he has so far sighed in vain, against the authors of such seditious plans, as well as against the disobedience of the governor of Uls. He commands all under the threat of severe punishment, not to obey such decrees, and finally he charges the parish clergy to publish it on the following day making it known to everyone, which has been promptly done.
Parliament, on its side, heard this news with great indignation, and it has cut short the propagating work of those who desired to see the termination of these conflicts without greater disturbances. Carried away by furious indignation parliament has caused the arrest of the ministers who were only doing their duty in fulfilling the commands of his Majesty. They have also issued another manifesto, in answer to the king's, full of audacity and contradicting his Majesty's assertions.
In addition to this, with malignant invention, they have forged and had published a letter of Pope Gregory XIII to the king, with his reply, in order to create the impression that they were written at the time when the king went to Spain for the final conclusion of the marriage with the Infanta, (fn. 1) all with the object of confirming the hatred of the disaffected towards his royal person, and at the same time to justify their present license by the pretext of religion. The promoters of this being now so deeply committed, seem to have given up all hope of an accommodation, [maintaining] a prudent reserve by means of dissimulation, and his Majesty's efforts are now directed to trying to reduce them by force.
With this object he is busy increasing his forces. He has distributed patents for the levy of 2000 horse. As I reported, private gentlemen and members of parliament who have openly declared themselves followers of the king's party, have offered to maintain these.
He has given the command of this cavalry to the Prince of Wales. This body, divided into four regiments, will be reinforced when necessary from many quarters, at York, to offer a willing and loyal service.
To sound by a more searching proof the disposition of the people of York, he gave orders that yesterday all should assemble at the place where they met last week to the end that he might inform them of his own intentions and by a renewal of his gracious offices inspire them to second his designs and at the same time afford him an assurance of powerful assistance in the present emergency. The partisans of his Majesty hope that he will obtain results of consequence from this assembly, but others are of a different opinion. Amid all these uncertainties we languish here in eager anticipation of more precise news about an event of so much importance.
The county of Cornwall, which is prolific in the most warlike men of the kingdom (che e fecondo degli uomini piu bellicosi del Regno) has sent its deputy on a special mission on purpose to petition his Majesty not to allow further progress towards their end of the unlawful attempts of those who aim at the destruction of the Protestant religion, of the laws and at the diminution of the royal authority. They offer for his service to devote their lives with their entire fortunes for the attainment of so righteous an end. As a similar disposition makes itself loudly heard in other counties those with most experience agree in the opinion that unless this feeling which discloses itself in the country, so favourable to his Majesty's interests, is diverted by some fresh accident, it will not prove difficult for him to collect in a short period a corps d' armée strong enough to humble the pride of those who, taking counsel of despair have no wish to come to terms however evident the prejudice may be (et altamente risuonando in altre Provincie le medesime partiali inclinationi concorre l' opinione dei piu prattici che quando da nuovo accidente non sia condotta questa dispositione favorevole che si scuopre nel paese agli interessi di Sua Maesta, difficile non sia per riuscirle di unire in brevi periodi un corpo d' esercito valevole ad humiliar l' orgoglio di quelli che consigliati dalla disperatione non curano d' accordarsi a qualsisia ben che evidente pregiudicio). However, the only certainty resides in the results as amid such great irregularities there is no room for a sound judgment.
The earl of Comberland has been selected for the command of the infantry. Although he has not had the benefit of the requisite military experience yet he unites in his person the advantages of a great fortune, distinguished birth and a considerable following in the northern parts, a consideration of the greatest consequence in the present circumstances.
In the counties of Lancaster and Lester the lieutenants selected by the king are taking steps to consolidate their hold upon the government there, and owing to the size of the district, which is thickly populated, this is a matter of great consequence.
The earl of Stanford, on the other hand, from having attempted in the town of Lester to alienate the people from their loyalty to the king, and from having taken to one of his country houses (fn. 2) the munitions of war which were kept in that town for ordinary requirements, has become subject to his Majesty's displeasure, who on this account has had him proclaimed guilty of treason. This has aroused the indignation of the parliamentarians of his party, and in order to provide a counterpoise to this procedure they pretend to proclaim as traitors those who by virtue of the laws and of the king's commands oppose the execution of the decrees of parliament.
His Majesty is making the most strenuous efforts to bring the naval forces under his control, but so far there is no apparent hope to promise him easy success in this design. To this end he sent these last days to the Downs Sir John Peninton, who for long held the office of Vice Admiral and directed orders to the earl of Warwick to hand over the command to him. But the earl paid scant respect to his Majesty's commands, and backed up by the liberal promises of parliament he refused to obey. To make quite sure of the goodwill of the captains of ships he changed five who manifested a disposition to put themselves under the command of Peninton. It is stated, all the same, that the latter will put to sea with three royal ships (fn. 3) ... Holland and others belonging to merchants which are in the northern ports, to make an attempt subsequently, with a stronger hand (con mano piu forte) to persuade the captains of the fleet to take sides with the king.
Meanwhile a ship sent by the queen to his Majesty has arrived in the waters of Uls from Holland, after having experienced a furious storm. It has brought cannons, gunpowder, arms, saddles and other munitions of war. When it approached these shores it was attacked by ships of the fleet which were waiting to seize it ; but the captain, full of zeal for the royal service, avoided the snares of the hostile ships and courageously ran his ship on to the shore on to the sands there. Although this involved injury to the ship and detriment to the gunpowder, yet he pushed so far on to the land that he shook off the danger from the efforts of the fleet and afforded his Majesty the opportunity to recover all the munitions.
This captain reports that the Palatine Princes Rupert and Maurice embarked on another ship to cross over to this side, but were driven back by contrary winds, (fn. 4) but they will very soon appear in these waters. Accordingly they are expected at York although when the promise of an accommodation seemed about to dawn they were commanded to postpone their embarcation until further order. On receiving word of the arrival of these munitions the king proceeded to the neighbourhood of Uls, attended by a thousand horsemen and 1500 men on foot, ostensibly to provide a safe conduct for the munitions. But the governor, who watches his Majesty's proceedings with the utmost vigilance, suspecting that this sudden move was made with the secret intention of investing the fortress, sent a courier here with the most urgent demands for succour to be sent with all despatch, in men and money, capable of offering a strenuous resistance to any impression that the king might possibly attempt. A report of such consequence was heard with apprehension and they decided to embark 500 men of the new levies, to be transported to that place without delay, since the parliamentarians here are convinced that his Majesty is devoting all his attention to the capture of that town, and consequently they are possessed with impatience, waiting for more authentic reports of what may have happened.
Since the Marquis of Amilton expressed to his Majesty, by public testimony, the fullest protestations of loyal service and offered to maintain at his own cost 60 horse, he has suddenly announced his dissatisfaction with his Majesty, on the pretence that the king did not agree to the prompt payment of certain money which the marquis claimed. This nobleman has given way to his irritation and proceeded to Scotland. The king is annoyed. Speculative persons suspect that he cherishes in his heart irrevocable designs to secure for himself an estate beyond that of a private individual and he may be going a begging to facilitate his other ancient and more secret proposals (non senza gelosia nei speculativi che conservando egli nel cuore irrevocabili disegni di procurarsi fortuna piu che privata habbia a mendicare d' agevolarsi altre vecchie piu secrete proponimenti suoi). However he has withdrawn to a pleasure house of his near Edinburgh, (fn. 5) and it does not appear that he has so far instituted any movement to the prejudice of this royal house.
In the town of Newcastle, in the mean time, they are having new fortifications added of earthworks for the purpose of rendering it capable of offering a prolonged resistance to any kind of attack from hostile forces.
No reply has yet reached me from the Secretary of State at York touching the affair of the currants. I am informed in the mean time that the king has not as yet given his consent to the document which contains this decree.
London, the 18th July, 1642.
Postscript : Since finishing the above I have heard that in the discussions in parliament this evening they have once more considered the means for establishing a perfect composition with his Majesty. The feelings of most of them were in favour of such a project and it was also decided by a majority of votes to hand over to him the fortress of Uls, a point upon which he lays most stress. An account of this decision was given to the Lower House, but they have not as yet agreed to take it up. Accordingly the execution of this decision still wavers amid uncertainties. If it should be approved by both Houses it might serve as an effective means for facilitating the adjustment. Speculative persons estimate from this accommodating spirit in the nobility the apprehension which the forces and the credit which his Majesty now possesses with his people occasion to men of right sentiments (da questa prontezza della nobilta rimarcano in tanto li speculativi la apprehension che porgono agli uomini di bene sentimento le forze et il credito che hora possede la Maesta Sua appresso i sudditi).
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
96. To the Ambassador in England.
Acknowledge his letters of the 4th inst. Approval of his efforts to prevent the bill about the importation of currants. Although it is general it strikes a severe blow against the interests of the state's subjects of the islands of Zante and Cephalonia. As he is well informed upon what can be represented to the state's advantage and has made use of it with success upon other occasions, feel confident that even now he will be able to prevent the mischief of the publication or approbation, if not in the Lower at least in the Upper House, or if not there at any rate by the king under present circumstances now that, according to his reports, his Majesty seems to be resuming his power and authority, and displays his customary good will towards the republic, with the assistance and works of the ambassador destined to the Signory, as it is noted that he has helped not only in the affair of the currants but also in settling about the reception of the republic's ambassadors in a manner befitting its dignity. Upon this last point he is to take an opportunity when it presents itself, without committing himself to any extent, obtaining the desired result by using tact and as if of his own motion. This will be considered a useful service worthy of his efforts and zeal. His reports upon both matters will be looked for as well as full particulars upon the way in which the French ambassador is negotiating, and if it is by instruction or of his own motion.
Ayes, 114. Noes, 2. Neutral, 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
97. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Court has been busied during the present week with constant movement from place to place, as the king considered it advisable to visit the principal places in the county of York and also to betake himself to those of Lincoln and the other northern parts in order to satisfy himself at closer quarters about the disposition of his people towards him, to arouse their enthusiasm by the honour of his presence, to promote his own service and at the same time to tone down the animosity of a few individuals who regardless of their duty, attach themselves to the Puritan party and fail to co-operate for the advancement of his royal fortunes. This evening they will all be back again at York, and it is said that later on the king means to go to other counties of the country with the same object.
With the provision of arms and munitions which reached him from Holland the king also received a considerable sum of ready money. These military supplies have been withdrawn to a safe place and his Majesty has subsequently issued a manifesto in which he declares that as he has not been able so far to persuade the parliament to give ear to his solicitation, though so thoroughly justified, touching the punishment of the governor of Uls and the handing over of the fortress, impelled by consideration of the respect due to him he has made up his mind to assert his rights by force and he incites the people in the most loving terms, to assist him in this effort.
He has also sent a courteous letter to the parliament to the same effect, together with a further effort, before an appeal is made to arms, to induce them to agree to hand over that town. He gives them a time limit for their reply up to the end of to-day and promises in exchange to embrace with the utmost readiness those means which may be considered most opportune for the establishment of a happy concord in the kingdom. (fn. 6)
After all this the king advanced to within six miles of the fortress of Uls. As a start towards harassing the place, though without laying siege, he took possession of the water dykes, that is to say of some erections by means of which he can, whenever he pleases, admit the water into the marshes in which the town is buried, and in a few hours flood 3 miles of country about it. Upon the highway he has erected a redoubt of earthwork. There he has established 5 small pieces of artillery. (fn. 7) He has this actively guarded by numerous armed bands and prevents the entry of any food stuffs. As the town is not well supplied, he hopes, supposing it is not speedily relieved from the sea, to compel it to surrender, even without effusion of blood, and to submit to his will within a short time.
This most unpleasant news, which arrived here on Monday, made an extraordinary stir in parliament. They issued a public declaration that the king had begun the war. After mature deliberation they decided to employ all their might to rescue the fortress as well as the governor from the perils which menace them so closely and which their own disobedience may possibly suggest to be equally imminent for themselves (dopo matura consultatione deliberato ancora d' impiegar tutto il potere per scuotere a la piazza non meno che a quel governatore quelli pericoli che gli soprastanno bene vicini, et che gli pronosticano per avventura la disubedienza sua ugualmente). Twelve ships have been sent to those waters with all speed. They carry munitions and troops and to the satisfaction of the Puritan party they have chosen as general of the forces the earl of Essex (fn. 8) the commander who enjoys most credit among the malcontents, who with open obstinacy has consistently opposed the royal interests, regardless of his duty.
They have sent other commissioners to the provinces with instructions to make repeated applications urging the people to support the course followed by parliament (i progressi del parlamento) and orders to afford assistance to one another mutually when the emergency calls for it.
The colonels and captains destined for the defence of Ireland have received orders to suspend their march to the place of embarcation until further order, as they propose to employ those troops to resist the designs of his Majesty, in case of need. But the major portion of these men let it be freely understood that they will not consent to bear arms against the king, their lawful sovereign.
Besides the decision about the first levies reported they have resolved by public decree to enlist 10,000 infantry in addition and they are making the most desperate efforts (si preme con uso della piu esquisita diligenza) to collect a force of cavalry. But the lack of money and the reluctance which manifests itself in most of the people to take service in forces meant to fight against his Majesty, hinders the carrying of these plans into effect, and affords an object lesson of the difficulty of assembling a body of troops capable of attaining proficiency, as they vainly imagined in the past (et fa conoscere in prova che mal agevole riuscira d' ammassare corpo di militie atto a progressi, che vanamente si sono presupposti per l' adietro). Although the parliamentarians are aware of this state of affairs, yet they take great pains to hide it and are most careful to keep up appearances, since they are not able by the soundness of their operations to keep up the reputation of their party, which, amid the civil discords, is always accustomed to make use of ... (fn. 9) support.
As the mayor of this city persisted with praiseworthy steadfastness in his determination to obey the king's commands, they have ultimately made up their minds to put him on his trial, and two days ago he was sent a prisoner to the Tower. This act is a violation of the privileges of the city in their noblest form, and it has stirred the resentment of the most substantial citizens. In their grief at an event of such importance they assert roundly that never in its history has London patiently borne so conspicuous an injury. As a consequence no efforts of the parliament have sufficed so far to induce the aldermen to discharge the functions of the office in his stead. This is a very weighty matter and every one anticipates that this measure will not be allowed to pass without some considerable disturbance. However the merchants who profess Puritanism acclaim this incident with thunders of applause and endeavour by the predominance of their party to compel those who show their anger to keep the peace.
From the county of Eriford has issued a printed declaration strongly in favour of the king's interests, and open disapproval of the present procedure of parliament, and with ... (fn. 9) that the county will not hesitate to devote the best of its substance to provide a remedy for those disorders which amid the ambitions of a few individuals have deprived the king of his lawful prerogatives and England of the splendour of her ancient greatness.
Parliament on its side has condemned these documents as seditious, forbidden their publication under severe penalties and subsequently had them burned by the common hangman in the most conspicuous places, to the shame of well meaning persons.
With so many fresh things constantly cropping up those parliamentarians who direct everything to their own gratification, with arbitrary hand are not without serious apprehensions and suspicion that the more moderate members, weary of remaining on in subjection to their desires, may abandon the debates and in that way dissolve the body of the parliament for lack of members. So they have issued a decree that if only ten of the Lower and five of the Upper House the Chambers may meet, their decisions shall have as much validity as if they were matured with the assistance of the majority. This at once discounts and damped the murmuring of those who do not rule their actions by considerations of private passion.
Simultaneously with the display of these warlike preparations amid such important fluctuations, the Upper House, although consisting at present of only fourteen members, perceiving that if these differences continue for long it will involve irreparable misfortunes which threaten the nobility, has resumed with energy its pressure on the Commons to embrace the proposals for an accommodation, which it resolved on Friday, as I wrote, to present to the king. After lengthy debates the opinion of the more prudent prevailed over the obstinacy of the seditious ; the proposals were accepted and with the consent of both Houses commissioners were chosen to take them to his Majesty. (fn. 10) They are conceived in terms respectful and humble towards his Majesty, they offer to deliver into his hands promptly the fortress of Uls and to settle the command of the militia of the country in the manner to which on previous occasions he expressed his readiness to consent, but with the reservation of certain conditions which it is to be feared his Majesty may not easily approve.
The deputies set out yesterday with all speed. I hear on trustworthy authority that other secret instructions have been given them to meet the remainder of the king's demands, to the extent that they find it to be necessary to arrive at a perfect accord. The particulars of these instructions have not yet transpired and the effect that these new offices may produce is awaited with the most impatient curiosity. From this experiment it should be possible to find out which of the two parties sincerely desires the adjustment.
The Upper House has selected the earl of Holland as the bearer of these offices. In the past he has been a fierce persecutor of the king's interests, although his devoted servant of old. Now he has eagerly sought for this employment and at the same time he tries every way by acts of penitence to regain for himself the favour of his master and to recover the appointments, of great value, which the king took from him a few days ago.
As insufficient attention is paid to the despatch of succour to Ireland in proportion to the need, the rebels there are gaining considerable advantage. They have attacked the town of Emerich, the chief one in the kingdom after Dublin, which opens the way for them to make themselves absolute masters of the Province of Mamonia, which is of the greatest consideration. With the capture of this town they have taken possession of a quantity of munitions, of arms and of 80 guns, which were kept in the magazines there. (fn. 11) Here the loss is felt deeply and the consequences are foreseen. But amid so many disorders no room is left for making good and it behoves them to suffer the injury, not without signs that with the passage of time they will experience even more serious blows, when Ireland in its entirety is firmly possessed by the people there and is at their disposition.
The Ambassador Ro in private letters written from Vienna to his confidential friends who are members of the Upper and Lower Houses of parliament respectively, and which have since been read publicly in parliament, has very amply defended the prudence of his transactions at the Imperial Court. At the same time he expresses very roundly and with great resentment the very natural feeling he cherishes in his heart against the assertions of the French ambassador here. (fn. 12) The moves of that minister in the face of so unexpected an incident are awaited with attention and with curiosity also.
London, the 25th July, 1642.
Postscript : News comes at this moment that two ships from Holland appeared off Uls, sent by the queen with munitions to his Majesty. Falling in with the ships of the fleet they had to surrender, with disadvantage to his Majesty's designs. (fn. 13)
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
98. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The king is keeping to himself the new decree on the customs and the importation of currants without yet giving his consent. I am informed that he has been acquainted by the Secretary of State Facland, to whom I wrote on the subject, with my remonstrances, but up to the present I have no reply from that minister. I am afraid that the delay proceeds from his Majesty's desire to obtain first more detailed information upon the affair. I regret that being so far away I am deprived of the means to make him realise, by my offices, the mischief that may be done, and the illicit motives of the interested parties.
Meanwhile the Ambassador Dandovert has written me the enclosed letter, holding out hopes of complete satisfaction. He asks me to press for his departure. Undoubtedly the king is thoroughly desirous for him to reach your Excellencies at the earliest possible moment, and the delay is due to nothing else than the shortage of money in his treasury at the present time, a consideration that also prevents the despatch of an ambassador to France, where his Majesty is so manifestly concerned to have a minister under the existing circumstances to spy out in safety (per ispiare con sicureza) the disposition of that Court towards his rebellious subjects here.
London, the 25th July, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
99. Lord Andover to Giovanni Giustinian.
Acknowledges Giustinian's reply and promises to solicit his Majesty on the subject of his letter. Hopes to obtain satisfaction, the king being at the moment absent in counties which are entirely loyal. His strength is increasing day by day.
York, the 19th July, 1642.
Signed Charles de Howard.
Postscript : Asks the ambassador to solicit his Majesty about his departure, whenever it may be convenient to do so.
[Italian, from the French.]
100. Giovanni Giustinian to Lord Andover.
Thanks him for his efforts and begs him to continue.
London, the 22nd July, 1642.