Venice: August 1642, 1-15

Pages 110-127

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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August 1642, 1-15

Aug. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
101. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The commissioners sent to the king with the proposals for an agreement arrived at Beverley, a large village six miles from the fortress of Uls on Friday in the present week. There they found the Court and on the following day they had audience of his Majesty, to whom, with signs of humbleness they set forth their demands. The most remarkable of these are, in brief, that his Majesty shall agree to suspend all his military preparations, take away the forces which he has pushed forward towards Uls, relieve the town of Newcastle, Timolt and other places from the garrisons which he has introduced, dismiss his armed guards, withdraw as illegal the patents which he has recently distributed for the command of the militia in the country, allow those against whom offences are alleged, to be put upon their trial in the courts. Parliament is to be the sole judge of all the past actions of its members ; that he shall consent to draw near to his residence in London without more ado and lend a favourable ear to the advice of parliament as well as to its other demands. They promise for their part to devote all their energies to the defence of religion and his Majesty's honour, to the carrying out of the laws and to the public liberty ; to prevent disorders, punish the authors of seditious writings ; to go no further in the provision of arms ; that the fortress of Uls shall be restored to its original state, and that honourable means shall be found for the control of the trained bands and for the security of his Majesty as well.
The king received the deputies with a very stern aspect (con sembiante molto grave) and informed them in reply that as the importance of the proposals called for mature consideration he would have them examined in due season and subsequently announce precisely what he intended to do. He warned them that if the fortress of Uls was not speedily placed at his disposition any sort of negotiation for an accommodation would be futile. He required that this reasonable condition must precede any treaty. The deputies have sent word here of this much by couriers. They also report that his Majesty enjoys the advantage of the attachment of all the northern country, and being supplied with powerful forces it will be an easy matter to make his dispositions for the capture of that most important town. Accordingly they suggest that it may be advisable to facilitate an accommodation by giving up the place and to continue in this course with equal sincerity of mind until the completion of this notable transaction. Subsequently they request directions as to the manner in which they should conduct themselves to meet such pressing and determined demands (per supplir ad istanze si pressante et risolute).
Yesterday there was a long discussion upon the tenor of these letters and they disputed over a suitable reply. The well disposed proposed to send orders to the commissioners calculated to afford satisfaction to his Majesty. Those who are moved exclusively by considerations of their own personal greatness and whose every action is devised for the purpose of prolonging these differences, vigorously opposed this, and finally carried the point that the decision should be referred to the secret committee. This means to a body of deputies who were chosen at the beginning of the parliament for the task of maturing at private meetings the affairs of greater moment. (fn. 1) As the party of the malcontents is supreme among these it may be feared that the decision they arrive at will not help much the realisation of the desires of those who impatiently sigh to see England restored to a state of perfect tranquillity. By men of a prudent disposition these overtures for an accommodation are not characterised as sincere. Such men consider that all this simulated inclination towards concord is intended to impress on the people that it is not the proceedings of parliament but the ambitious spirit of the king to command autocratically a people grown old under the laws which gives the impulse to the persistence of the differences, and by this insidious means they hope to prevent the subsequent spread of the enthusiasm in his favour which becomes more and more apparent in the hearts of all disinterested persons. On this account there is eager expectation with respect to what his Majesty will say in answer to the proposals as well as to what decision the deputies here will arrive at since the answer to these two points will afford the most trustworthy guide for forming an opinion upon the end of these disordered proceedings.
The visitation which his Majesty is carrying out in the northern counties appears to be most successful. In every place that he has visited so far he has been received by the whole of the nobility, the people flocking to meet him in crowds, and his entry has been accompanied by loud acclamations and blessings. In every place his people have brought him fresh homage of loyalty and protestations that they will not recognise any orders save those of his Majesty. They offered him their fortunes and their services in his cause. The town of Niuarch in particular and Lincoln also have bound themselves by spontaneous promises to maintain under present conditions at their own expense, some companies of cavalry, and the county of Lincoln has since had a document presented to parliament in which they declare that if it does not speedily conclude a perfect agreement with his Majesty, they are ready to expose themselves to the most perilous experiences in support of the rights of the king, their lord. If the results correspond with these spontaneous and conspicuous demonstrations it is possible to hope for a happy issue to the most righteous intentions of his Majesty. But whoever knows the people here, so subject as they are to change, cannot count upon them until the proof puts these liberal offers to the test.
Further the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, which as the resort of scholars, and from the authority of the lawyers and the wealth of their schools are of weight, with testimony of their loyalty have openly taken his Majesty's side, and sent him as a gift 20,000l. sterling from each, with offers to sink the remainder of their goods and joyfully to sacrifice life itself, all in the interest of his Majesty.
The parliamentarians here fume at declarations of this sort and to prevent any measures for sending even larger contributions they have sent for the leading ministers of those academies to come here, with the idea of punishing and making a severe example of the authors of these acts. (fn. 2) So deeds which in other days have earned praise and universal applause are now considered worthy of punishment.
Meanwhile the governor of Uls, without losing heart, is preparing to resist his Majesty's assaults. In a sortie from the fortress, followed by the garrison, he captured three pieces of artillery, which were being brought by the royalists from Lincoln on barques to a commanding position for a furious bombardment of the town. In this affair they also took prisoner some soldiers and cavalry who were accompanying that artillery. A report is being circulated that the twelve ships sent to those waters last week have by the fire of their guns completely destroyed the earthwork redoubt which his Majesty had constructed. Confirmation of this is awaited with impatience.
In this city they do not relax their efforts for the completion of the levies of horse and foot reported. Every day they hold reviews and make demonstrations for the purpose of magnifying their warlike preparations, and by the trick of these shows to keep the common people of London more and more determined against the king. The rebels have based all their hopes upon the unreasoning opinions of these folk, but it is a support which may perchance prove insufficiently strong for so great a superstructure (nelle appassionate inclinationi di cui hanno li seditiosi collocate tutte le speranze sue, appoggio nondimeno che puo riuscir per avventura poco forte a macchina si grande).
To the earl of Betfort they have given the command of the cavalry, which up to the present does not exceed 700 horse ; and the earl of Essex has been granted such despotic authority over the troops that it amounts to an infringement of the ancient customs of the country, and in past times no other commander, however great his credit, has ever received the like.
No further proceedings have been taken against the mayor but neither have they been able to persuade anyone to undertake his office ; the violence shown has given umbrage to all and no one cares to expose his property and himself as well to the hazards of fortune. The mayor remains in the Tower and there he has chosen to continue the functions of his ministry, announcing that he will never separate himself from obedience to the royal commands.
Nine noblemen of the Upper House who, contrary to the prohibition, were the first to abandon the sittings and betake themselves to York, have been deprived by resolution of the exercise of the vote during the period of the present parliament. (fn. 3) These lords however claim that they owe no obedience to this decision and that the authority of parliament does not extend so far as to prevent noblemen from assisting the king, their natural lord.
On the other hand the London Courts have recently punished with ignominious penalties two ministers who spoke licentiously from their pulpits, with scant respect for his Majesty's person and authority.
By means of the Imperial Resident here the Count of Traumestorf sent me a complimentary message two days ago. I responded suitably.
The Cavalier Anton Boldu has arrived at this house from the Catholic Court and wishes to see this Court also.
The reply to my letter has come at last from the Secretary of State Fachland. I enclose a translation from which your Excellencies will observe that his Majesty is not disposed to consent to any decree which may prejudice the interests of the Senate, unless he is driven to it by necessity for the composition of these differences, and up to the present moment he has not chosen to approve of the bill. If he should come near this city I will represent to him the mischief this measure may cause and do all in my power to keep him firm and prevent him from consenting to the bill. Meanwhile I am advised by a person of good understanding, greatly devoted to your Excellencies, that a leading merchant and a member of parliament, has pushed this affair in his personal interest with Obson, as well as to help the trade with the Ragusans, where he has a large business. (fn. 4) He feels persuaded that with the cessation of the trade in currants the English ships devoted to the Levant voyage will no longer put in at the ports of your Excellencies in the future but will all betake themselves to Ragusa and take thither the cloth and other goods which this nation is accustomed to distribute in the Turkish dominions, with advantage to the Ragusans and personal gain for himself.
London, the 1st August, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 102. Viscount Falkland, Secretary of State to Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador.
But for sickness would have answered his letter sooner. Has shown the letter to his Majesty who expressed his entire satisfaction therewith and declared most positively that he would never give his consent to anything that might seem disadvantageous to the most serene republic unless he was forced to do so for the greater good of his kingdom and by the necessity of his affairs. His Majesty is assured of the good will of the republic and would not willingly do anything that might incommode it. If his health had permitted him to follow the king he would have answered in greater detail.
York, the 15/25 July, 1642.
[Italian, from the French.]
Aug. 1.
Collegio, Secreta. Eaposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
103. The Secretary of England came into the Collegio and spoke in conformity with the memorial which he left.
The doge replied : We do not know what has happened in this affair. The magistrate will certainly have rendered justice. If the servant was not guilty on one count he will have been on another. We will see what can be done. He asked the man's nationality and the secretary said he was a subject of the republic and had committed no wrong in the Beccaria. The doge replied that he would be punished as a subject. With this the secretary made his bow and went out.
The Memorial.
I have frequently asked for the release of a servant arrested by order of the Magistracy of the Beccaria, until I feared to be importunate with my numerous memorials. But while I was expecting to hear of your Serenity's grace behold a most severe sentence was fulminated, of the galleys or 5 years of the cells and 400 lire and more costs. This seems the more strange as for the two months that he was kept in the cells no other accusation was made than that he was of the house of the English ambassador. But when the keeper asked that the matter might be cleared up, for fear that he might die in that confinement, he was charged with some sort of smuggling. Eight witnesses were sworn in his defence and all pronounced him guiltless of the things of which he was accused. In good justice nothing was to be expected but his release and reparation, instead of which this sentence has been pronounced. I therefore come to point out the violence shown to this servant and to ask that so great an affront may not be given to my king and that I may not have such just cause to complain to his Majesty to whom I should not wish to report anything but friendly relations with the republic.
Aug. 2.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Rettori. Venetian. Archives.
104. To the Proveditore General in Terra Ferma.
In consideration of the weakness of the company commanded by the lieutenant of Colonel Douglas, the cost of the officers, amounting to 160 ducats a month as well as the contumacy of Douglas himself, he is to dissolve the company and distribute the men among the old Oltramontane companies.
Ayes, 147. Noes, 5. Neutral, 12.
Aug. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
105. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Their High Mightinesses contemplated the sending of an embassy extraordinary to France on the death of the queen mother, (fn. 5) but did not decide upon it. The day before yesterday, after some dispute with the States of Holland, who like to thwart the Prince when they can, because he seems bent on going on with the war, they have arranged to confer the two principal appointments in the Army, those of Marshal and General of the Artillery, on the Prince's brothers in law, Brederode and the Count of Solmes, respectively.
The Hague, the 4th August, 1642.
Aug. 5.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
106. The Secretary of England came into the Collegio and spoke as follows : I should have waited for your Serenity's reply about my servant, but I am constrained to come as I hear that orders have been given for him to be sent to the galley Pasqualiga, which is about to leave, or put in a foist, as there were no chains. I ask your Serenity to order that he be not sent so that I may be able to obtain the favour of his release.
The doge replied : He is a bad man ; a smuggler who always associated with bandits. He does not merit protection, the more because he is not a servant of the house but a subject here, and a rascal. If the king knew he certainly would not approve of offices for men of this sort. The secretary replied : The law is irritated against him and so he must suffer extreme severity. This is not a matter of state. When your Serenity's chaplain was arrested in England it was a matter of more importance, and yet he received favour. The doge replied, the chaplain was a respected religious and it is permitted to keep him. In other occasions we will try to gratify you ; in this it cannot be thought of, since the excesses are too great. With this the secretary made his bow and departed.
Aug. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
107. Nicolo Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Since the rising of the Irish the English ambassador here has frequently complained to the king and the ministers about their receiving from Spain and also from the other states of the Catholic provision of gunpowder, muskets and other military stores. Although he has always received favourable answers it seems that the results have not followed in accordance since the English ships have stopped some Irish ones which from Flanders in particular were carrying muskets and gunpowder, and it is asserted that the same ships have on several occasions provided themselves with arms in the ports of Spain as well. This has led to a renewal of his remonstrances by the English ambassador. He has represented with emphasis that in England this circumstance may be considered in a different light from what it is here and they will conclude that this traffic could not be continued by Spanish subjects without a tacit permission from the royal ministers here. As it is directly contrary to the articles of peace between the two crowns it might give rise to some regrettable incident. Now this last week there happened to be two ships in Cadiz, one English and the other Irish. While the sailors of the latter were hearing mass on a feast day, twelve English sailors climbed into the Irish ship and overpowering six who were on guard in it, they weighed anchor and made sail towards England. The governor of Cadiz has manifested the deepest resentment at such an act of violence, but as the guilty parties have got away they cannot find a way to console the Irish. The English who remain are protected by the ambassador, on the ground that as they had no part in the deed they cannot share in the punishment. It is not known whether the ship in question had laded arms. More consideration is given to the papers which it might have and which might give the ambassador reasonable grounds for doubting whether the revolt of the Irish is not fomented by the Spaniards.
Madrid, the 6th August, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
108. To the Ambassador in England.
Acknowledge his letters and enclose the usual sheet of advices. The secretary of the Ambassador Fildin has been in the Collegio to make the complaint which he will see from the enclosed copy, about an alleged servant of his who was arrested and condemned. They did not choose to give him any other answer than the very prudent one of the doge, as the affair itself does not merit it or the manner in which it was presented, or the quality of the crime, or the character of the accused, who is a smuggler of ill report. If spoken to about the matter he is to uphold the action taken by the magistrates, and if he hears anything said he is to do the same, at the same time insisting on the desire of the Signory to do anything in reason for foreign ministers, particularly for those of his Majesty.
As regards the affair of the currants, rejoice that the king is not consenting to the parliament's bill, and the ambassador must try to prevent this.
Ayes, 98. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
Aug. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
109. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the king had communicated to his Council the proposals of parliament reported he fulfilled his promise about a reply in a long document which was handed to the deputies and subsequently printed and published by his Majesty's express command, although the commissioners besought him not to do so, at any rate that portion which concerns the parliament.
The reply consists of a repetition of his constant zeal for the maintenance of the Protestant religion, for the preservation of the public peace and for everything that he considered likely to promote the welfare of his subjects. He points out that parliament has not seconded with uniform sincerity these excellent intentions of his. He refers to the injuries received in the past and their present unbridled decisions. He asserts that it appears to him that his arms have no other object than his own defence and that of the laws and of liberty. He replies at length with solid arguments to all the demands and subsequently offers to consent to an accommodation upon conditions ; that the fortress of Uls shall be restored to him without reservation with the arms removed from the magazine there ; that the control of the naval forces shall be placed in the hands of those whom he has appointed and that the command of the militia of the kingdom shall be restored to his Majesty's authority, in the manner always practised in the past. That the military forces shall be disbanded and all the other provisions of arms made by the parliament suspended ; he requires that parliament shall be transferred from London to some suitable place, as well as secure. For his part he offers a general pardon to all the inhabitants of Uls and even to the governor ; to lay down his arms ; to take part in the sessions of parliament ; to preserve unimpaired its prerogatives and to maintain it in the state of its original dignity. He allows eight days for an answer to these proposals, and if they are not accepted he expresses such confidence in the people that it will be easy for him to pursue the realisation of his most righteous purposes. (fn. 6)
With such a reply the commissioners took leave of his Majesty and they have returned here. They gave a full report of it all in parliament on Monday, asserting that the king being under influence of ill affected persons, there is no room for hope that he will relax the severity of these demands. Reasonable as these are they are qualified by the interested parties as injurious and designed to ruin those who have ventured to oppose his Majesty's interests.
Impressed by so unpleasing a report the parliamentarians have taken counsel not to give way to the king's pleasure except under necessity, and to inform him of this by courier. This was done two days ago, and thus the course of the negotiations for an agreement has been interrupted and the interests of the parties exposed to the arbitrament of force. Here they are examining the means whereby they may be able to carry on the war successfully for a long time.
General the earl of Essex has received orders to enlist the largest number of men he can and to have amassed speedily a corps d' armée, strong enough to counterpoise or perhaps to forestall any action taken by his Majesty and those who take his side.
With the same object they have passed new resolutions deciding to employ for these emergencies the money and other provisions destined for the succour of Ireland, and to make use of 5000 men already enlisted to proceed to defend that country. They are using all their arts to induce the commanders to abandon that service and to take up the other, for which the majority of them show little inclination up to the present.
From the Council of this city, in which the Puritan party is predominant, they have obtained a promise to maintain 5000 infantry at the public cost, and the apprentices or shop boys, also offer to serve, on condition that they are granted many exemptions as a reward. Although these are contrary to the laws and the service of the city, this has been freely granted, all their efforts being now directed to increasing their forces, no matter what the price, so that they may be able to march at the earliest moment where they may be expected to render best service.
Those of most experience, however, do not think it will be easy to induce the citizens to carry out the fulsome offers of the Council. They do not expect that the party will be able, in a brief period, to put into the field an army powerful enough for their great designs or for what they have published, in accordance with the expectations of the parliamentarians, the authors of designs ruinous alike to the state and the individual. Many soldiers let it be freely known that although they are at present receiving pay from the parliament they will join the king's party later. This shows clearly that too much dependence must not be placed on the fidelity of these people and that it will not be wise to put them to the proof.
Three pieces of artillery and other provision of arms have been sent to the city of Warwick, in order to keep the people there steadfast through fear of the strength and purpose of parliament.
They have made a sudden choice of commissioners for Scotland, one of whom has already started and the others will leave very soon. They take instructions to inform the Council there of the agitations of this kingdom, confirm the constant intention here to maintain a close union with the Scots, and always to work together for the same ends. They will take part in an ecclesiastical assembly to be held there this month, with some hope that if the opinions of those who eagerly desire to see the dogmas of Calvin established in England prevail in that assembly, which means the subjugation of the royal authority, decisions will follow in favour of the efforts of parliament here and of the rebellious subjects. The Earl of Arghil, author of the late revolt, director of the government there and a close confederate of the Marquis Hamilton, has also gone to that Assembly, and for this reason there is greater misgiving about transactions prejudicial to his Majesty. The event is awaited with curiosity, and has aroused the attention of all prudent men, owing to the important consequences involved.
In fulfilment of his Majesty's reported decision to visit all the counties he has proceeded this week to Lincestria where of late the earl of Stanford has been endeavouring to alienate the people from his royal service, as I wrote. There also he was received with every token of rejoicing and his arrival was acclaimed with demonstrations of the utmost satisfaction. The trained bands there promptly placed themselves under his commands. The mayor of the town, with acts of great humbleness, made him offers in the public name and for the rest gave the most conspicuous proofs of duty and loyalty. Some few, however, servants of Stanford, and Puritans by profession, entering furtively into the house where he caused the arms and munitions of that province to be guarded, tried to prevent their being taken away from that place. But after a brief resistance, with salutary repentance, they submitted to the commands of his Majesty, who subsequently granted them a full pardon, affording thereby a praiseworthy example of clemency.
To-day his Majesty is to return again to Beverley with the intention of pressing the siege of Uls, which is still blockaded, nor has any confirmation come of the news that the ships of the fleet have destroyed the fortifications raised by the royalists, as announced by parliament. 3000 infantry guard the redoubt and the water dykes but we do not hear that the king is yet provided with forces sufficient to make sure of a successful and speedy issue to this undertaking by force of arms. It is considered of moment on the score of reputation rather than for the acquisition itself, although the town is one of the strongest and occupies a situation convenient for receiving succour from abroad.
To the inhabitants of the town and even to the governor his Majesty has published a proclamation offering to obliterate their past disobedience if within the term of eight days he will deliver the town to his disposal. There is a rumour that the commander, apprehending the perils that time may bring, is engaged in close negotiations for restoring himself to the king's favour and fully authenticated news of this should arrive very shortly.
The resentment of the king against the French ambassador here is in no wise assuaged. His Majesty declared roundly that if that minister is not recalled by the Most Christian, he himself will adopt such measures as he may judge to be most expedient. The ambassador, on the other hand, possibly recognising that he has gone too far in his confidential relations and dealings with the disaffected parliamentarians, justifies his actions and protests that his only object was to perform a service to this most serene house.
Twelve small ships slipped anchor from the Downs this week, laden with rich cargoes intended for Dunkirk. Under convoy of a ship of the fleet they proceeded successfully to within a short distance of their destination. But there they fell in with Admiral Tromp who with a good number of ships keeps the approaches closed. He stopped them going further, and on the ground that they were taking money to the Spaniards, against the provisions of the treaty of alliance with this crown, he seized them all and sent them into Zeeland. On hearing this Vice Admiral the earl of Warwick stopped five Dutch ships which happened to be in the ports here, on their voyage out to the Levant. (fn. 7) When parliament received the news they judged it expedient, in order to avoid complications in the present difficult circumstances, to order them to be released without further delay. This has been done and now they are trying by means of negotiation to recover from Tromp as much as possible of the capital of the English. The merchants here are annoyed at the incident, because of the loss and quite as much on account of the consequences to the trade of this city from establishing such a precedent. The ambassador of the Catholic does everything in his power to foment the dissatisfaction of the parties concerned in view of the prejudice which Flanders will suffer from the difficulty of trading with this country, and because it is stated that considerable sums of money were on board these ships on the account of Spanish shareholders. He protests that the frigates of Dunkirk, putting aside the respect which they have hitherto shown to the flag of England, will in future take steps to seize the ships which go to Holland as well, even if escorted by ships of the Navy.
Various opinions are ventilated as to the motives which have supplied the impulse for such measures. It is stated that these last days the ships of the fleet have fought with a Dutch ship in the northern waters which was taking munitions to the king, by a secret arrangement with the Prince of Orange, and this is what induced Tromp to act as he did. Meanwhile the parliamentarians here are not without suspicion of the intentions of Orange and they are keeping their eyes wide open to watch his proceedings. For this and other reasons which have not yet transpired, they stopped yesterday all the letters which arrived from Flanders. Mine were treated with the respect that is their due.
London, the 8th August, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
110. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The bill I wrote of touching the customs has not yet received his Majesty's consent, and consequently the prohibition of the importation of currants has not either. Parliament, on the other hand, which for lack of the king's consent cannot collect the duties in the usual way or meet the expenses of the naval force, proposes to cause it to be put into force without the royal pleasure. In such case the directors of the Levant Company may possibly claim that the provisions about currants shall also be enforced. I will keep on the watch and try to prevent this. Two days ago I happened to meet one of the most influential members of the Lower House who, prompted by the offices of those interested in that trade, has in the past supported their demands in parliament. I seized a favourable opportunity to turn the conversation and made him recognise the inconveniences of this bill and the illicit ends of the merchants. Accordingly he changed his mind and assured me positively that if the king refuses his consent and affords an opportunity for the affair to be discussed afresh he will do his best to prevent these efforts from going any further.
Two letters have reached me to-day from the Secretary Nicolas, of which I enclose a translation. One is by order of his Majesty and the other from himself with respect to the complaints of Mr. Talbot out there, who in the capacity of a private person attends to the affairs of his Majesty at Venice. I replied to the letter in general terms. I will try cautiously to deal with the other matters so that with discretion his Majesty's wishes may be met, while carefully avoiding to commit the state in any way, as I did not think it for the service of your Excellencies openly to refuse the use of such a small courtesy to so great a prince, who professes the utmost esteem for the Senate, and who in this affair of the currants declares that he will not consent to anything that might prove disadvantageous to the interests of your Serenity.
London, the 8th August, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 111. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador, to the Secretary of State Nicolas.
Acknowledges his two letters, received through Francesco Burlamacchi, of the 5th and 6th inst. Will do his utmost to obey his Majesty's commands and notes what is said about Talbot. Knows nothing of the latter, but can assure him that the republic always shows the utmost regard for the foreign ministers, particularly the representatives of his Majesty.
London, the 8th August, 1642.
112. The Secretary of State Nicolas to Giovanni Giustinian.
I have received a letter from Mr. Talbot, minister of public affairs of his Majesty at Venice, by which he advises me that the police officials of the most serene republic have put in prison a member of the household of the English ambassador. He has been unable to obtain the release of the man or any statement of the charges laid against him, in spite of all his efforts. I make this representation in the hope that you will employ your good offices to remove this cause of offence and that nothing may be done in the future to prejudice the privilege of ministers.
York, the 25th June, 1642, O.S.
[Italian, from the French.]
113. The same to the same.
The king asks leave to use the ambassador's cover for some letters which he wishes to send to Holland and requests his Excellency to send some trustworthy person by the post to fetch them.
York, the 26th July, 1642, O.S.
[Italian, from the French.]
Aug. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
114. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Ten ships which left England with provisions for the Dunkirkers have been seized off Zeeland by the Vice Admiral here on the ground of contraband, and an English ship which escorted them has been sent to strengthen the Dutch forces off Dunkirk. The English Resident here is labouring for the recovery of a royal despatch sent to him, but intercepted on this coast with letters for the queen by the very sailors who came with the person who brought them. They sent special commissioners to the spot, to meet the Resident, but with all his efforts he has not been able to obtain the satisfaction which he claims.
Sir [Thomas] Roe, the English Ambassador returning from the Imperial Court, has arrived within a short distance of Cologne, without any results from his negotiations.
The Hague, the 11th August, 1642.
Aug. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
115. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the failure of the attempt of parliament to induce his Majesty to grant them the satisfaction they claimed, the members are now trying to preserve the greatness of their present fortunes amid the public disturbances. To facilitate this they published two days ago a new manifesto, in which, in a licentious and seditious manner, they call to mind the disorders of the past government, the avarice of the ministers who persuaded his Majesty to burden his subjects with unlawful impositions and the king's ambition to rule them absolutely by means of propagating Catholicism in the kingdom. They point out that they have successfully resisted these attempts by resolute action and protest that only zeal for the preservation of religion and the public liberty has supplied a just reason for the appeal to arms. They appeal to the people to second their projects with vigour. They announce that they have chosen the earl of Essex to command the army and finally protest that they are prepared to sacrifice with him their fortunes and life itself in so just a cause, which is common to all. Thereupon, without any compunction, they declare war against the king and all those who embrace his party. (fn. 8)
Orders have been sent again to the Provinces warning them all not to permit the lieutenants chosen by the king for the command of the trained bands to exercise their functions, and to prevent them from taking possession of the munitions and arms which are in the country, promising efficient protection and liberal rewards to those who support this design and offer a courageous resistence to the royalists, while threatening with severe punishment those who attempt to do otherwise.
4000 apprentices attracted by the advantageous terms and by the offers of high pay have taken service under the standard of the parliament, many others are disposed to do the same, and they hope in a short time to have a considerable number of this sort of folk. They are for the most part of tender age, entirely without discipline and unaccustomed to hardship or the handling of weapons. On this account it is not reasonable to expect great proofs of valour or of loyalty from their services, although one can feel sure that they are ordinarily ready for innovation and liable to frequent changes.
The earl of Essex is attending diligently to the enlistment of cavalry. Many of the parliamentarians who are committed have undertaken to collect regiments and they contemplate adjourning the sittings of parliament for some days for the purpose of sending those who belong to this party into the country so that they may the more easily carry their offers into effect.
When the levy is completed Essex announces that he will march with the bulk of his force into the counties which have declared for the king, in the persuasion that with these arms in support he will bring them back to their allegiance to parliament. But all do not think that this idea will be easy to realise and the issue must be decided by the event itself.
Some suspicion being conceived that Colonel Gorin, governor of Porsmond is drawing over to the king's side and may deliver that fortress into his hands, has induced them to send hurriedly in that direction two members of parliament and the earl of Bedford, commander of the cavalry, accompanied by 500 horse with instructions to prevent any change and to make quite sure that the fortress, which is of consequence, is kept safely under the control of parliament.
Orders have been sent to the earl of Warwick to despatch six ships to those waters and to cause the approaches to be diligently guarded and to prevent succour reaching the fortress until the government is settled once more and the suspicions removed.
Following the example of the mayor of London many other towns insist firmly upon obeying the commands of his Majesty. Filled with wrath at this, parliament has caused five of them to be seized and imprisoned, (fn. 9) arousing the indignation of men of good sense, who freely condemn such audacious essays and state openly how gladly they would embrace a favourable opportunity to shake off the incubus of such continual violence which has never before been practised under this sky, where the laws and the magistrates have always enjoyed the utmost respect (con risentimento degli uomini di buon senso li quali liberamente dolendosi di si arditi tentativi palesano prontezza d' abbracciare volontieri le occasioni valevoli a scuotere la molestia di si continuate violenze giammai pratticate sotto questo cielo dove le leggi et li magistrati hanno sempre goduto tutto il rispetto).
The king, for his part, has gone back to York and there he does not forget the offices which are most likely to advance the condition of his fortunes. He has distributed other patents to a number of gentlemen and captains to enlist troops. His partisans announce that inside the present month he will be provided with forces strong enough for defence as well as for humbling the pride of the rebels. He is expecting fresh provisions of arms from Holland. At present he has at his disposal 30 pieces of artillery and enough money to keep up the war for some time.
The county of Lincoln has sent the king fresh protestations of devotion and Kent, which is of great consideration, has sent him deputies offering to pour out their possessions and their lives in his service. If the results correspond with these liberal promises and if the courage of the new soldiers nerves them to stand the test of battle those who have most experience predict a successful issue for his Majesty's cause. But as he has not entirely shaken himself free from the contingencies which are accustomed to produce civil discords, men of prudence still reserve their judgment (et se da si larghe promesse appararano effetti conforme et che il cuore de' soldati nuovi dia loro luogo di cimentarsi alla battaglia presagiscono li piu prattici felice successo alla causa sua, la quale tuttavia non trovandosi intieramente sciolta dalle contingenze che produrre sogliono le discordie civili tiene gli animi delli prudenti dentro giusta sospensione ancora).
Two other parliamentarians, members of the Upper House, have gone away to the king these last days. The Lower House, of 500 members does not at present number more than 80, the others for the most part having abandoned the sittings and have withdrawn to their own houses, grieving to see that through the unbridled ambition of a few individuals many are exposed to the peril of death, not to speak of the ruin of the state.
In the county of Warwick the earl of Nortampton, who commands there for the king, has stopped the guns which parliament sent to that town in the past week, as I wrote. He is preparing a vigorous opposition to Baron Bruch who is the lieutenant chosen by parliament, to deprive him of his control of the government there.
The siege of Uls goes its way, but with incidents which render the issue very uncertain. The troops sent by ships to its relief by parliament have arrived safely. The governor with the advantage of this force has made another sortie, burning some barrels of gunpowder and a quantity of grenades, which were under a weak guard of royalists. Encouraged by this that commander maintains his defence bravely and does not suffer himself to be in the least impressed by the specious offers made him by his Majesty of pardon and reward if he will deliver up the fortress.
The intentions of the Scots remain entirely uncertain. 10,000 men stand ready in that country, but their purpose is not known or even to which side they may turn. His Majesty professes to fear nothing from that people, and here, on the contrary, they are confident of important assistance from that quarter. So with all this uncertainty, the decision which that people may ultimately take is of great interest and importance. In view of the terms of the last agreement it may be said that they are now quite free from dependence on the king (li quali in riguardo alle conditioni del passato accordo puo dirsi che hora siano separati dalla dipendenza del Re).
Meanwhile there has arrived in this city from York the Sieur di More, confidential servant of his Majesty. The fact that he immediately engaged in secret conferences with the rebellious parliamentarians here has given rise to much discussion. Some believe that he has brought fresh overtures for an accommodation, which remain undisclosed for the time being ; but the partisans of his Majesty consider this individual, who is a Scot, of doubtful fidelity to his interests at bottom, and so they keep a very attentive ear for his proceedings, suspecting that under cover of zeal he may be concocting some device prejudicial to his master as well as to the whole of the royal party.
Through the help of a sailor Vice Admiral the earl of Warwick has intercepted despatches of his Majesty sent by a gentleman to the queen in Holland, and has sent them to the parliament. Without any consideration these were opened by the Lower House, when letters from many leading lords were found attached. (fn. 10) These gentlemen supply the queen with news of the state of affairs here, with hopes of a speedy and glorious end. They advise her to stay on there until the fortress of Uls is brought back into subjection to his Majesty. In the king's letters they were not able to read much, as the greater part was in cipher. It is noted that he recommends her to send him speedily a quantity of provisions and he also persuades her to bear their separation with patience, and not to return to England too soon. If she is determined to come he appoints a place for her to land, but as this is in cipher they have not been able to find out where it is.
Being informed by the tenor of these letters that her Majesty is weary of her prolonged stay in Holland, the parliamentarians think of inviting her to return upon honourable conditions, and subsequently to make use of her to obtain from the king those advantages to which their ambition aspires, to the detriment of the royal throne. But those who have staked their fortunes and their possessions in the king's service, have seen through the designs of the malcontents and have emphatically represented to the king the consequences that might result from the queen's speedy return. They have intimated to him that if this takes place before these differences are ended or if things chance to turn in favour of the uncontrolled appetites of the rebels, they will be compelled to withdraw and leave in the hands of fortune his Majesty's greatness and security as well (Quelli all' incontro che in servitio di Sua Maestà hanno esposto le fortune et gli haveri, penetrati le intentioni di malcontenti hanno distintamente rappresentato al Re le conseguenze che partorirebbe il celere ritorno della Regina ; gli hanno accennato che seguendo prima che siano terminate queste differenze o per avventura piegando alli disordinati appetiti delli inobedienti saranno costretti di ritirarsi et lasciare in mano della fortuna la greandezza et sicurezza di Sua Maestà ugualmente). On this account they are watching the proceedings of More with the closest attention suspecting that he is trying to push forward this business which is reputed by all to be utterly destructive to the interests of the royal house.
The Agent Brundio sends from Paris that he has conveyed the complaints reported to the Most Christian king against the behaviour of the French ambassador here. He asserts that in return he received a very courteous reply with an express declaration from that king that he had never at any time directed that minister to have recourse to the parliament. The ambassador, on the other hand, defends his actions and protests that all the offices which he performed with the parliamentarians were devoted to the customary terms of private confidence, as ministers of the king and not as directors of the government. He has letters of his master for his Majesty which tell him about his domestic affairs, with his brother and others. He thinks of presenting these himself, taking the opportunity to defend his action and to offer his Majesty all the most sincere proofs of his devotion. He now proceeds with greater reserve and seizes every occasion to render himself agreeable to the princes here.
By letters written at Frankfort the Ambassador Ro has sent word of the progress of his journey and it is believed that at this moment he will have arrived in Holland. He reports that Caesar, anxious to make a show to Germany of his perfect good will towards the Palatine House, has sent him a decree by courier that on the 10th of January he will be ready to resume the negotiations if England is disposed to enter upon fresh discussions. The minister asserts however that the emperor has done this merely as a matter of compliment so that the blame may not fall upon him for having cut short the thread of these important transactions. Here they see through the trick and the harshness of the Austrians over restoring his dominions to the Palatine. Certainly no other ambassador will be sent from this quarter, but they will wait for time to afford circumstances to the advantage of that house, which for the time being they cannot expect to be at hand.
Although his Majesty has not given his consent to the bill dealing with the reforms in the payment of the customs, to which is joined, as I have written, the article prohibiting the importation of currants, parliament gave orders yesterday for the collection of the duties in the manner prescribed by that last decision. Whether the commissioners of the customs or the merchants will obey and whether this last order covers the matter of the currants I cannot as yet ascertain. I will try to obtain more precise information and send word next week.
London, the 15th August, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 15.
Inquisitors di Stato busta 442. Venetian Archives.
116. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
Sends further passage from a letter of the Florentine Resident at Venice to this minister here, which he noticed in the present week.
London, the 15th August, 1642.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Enclosure. 117. Copy of Passage from letters of the Florentine Resident at Venice of the 25th July, 1642.
The Procurator Zeno made a strong speech in the Pregadi on Saturday against the authors of trouble in Italy, not so much for the damage done as because of calling down the censure of foreigners. The Signory have therefore decided to urge their Secretary at Rome to encourage every effort for an adjustment, before the fire spreads. The Collegio has also induced Cardinal Cornaro to write privately to Rome to the same effect.
[Italian ; deciphered.]


  • 1. The Committee of Defence. According to the Journals the king's answer to the petition presented on the 26th July was not referred to this body before the 4th August. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. II, page 690. The Committee had been constituted on the 24th August, 1641. Gardiner : Hist. of Eng., Vol. X, page 2.
  • 2. Dr. Prideaux, bishop of Worcester, the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Fell Dean of Christ Church, Dr. Potter, Provost of Queens and Dr. Frewen, President of Magdalen, all of Oxford. Journals of the House of Lords, July, 12—22, Vol. V, page 208. The Cambridge doctors, William Beale, Edward Martin and Richard Sterne were ordered to the Tower on the 1st Sept., O.S. Mullinger ; Univ. of Cambridge, Vol. III, pages 237, 238.
  • 3. The earls of Northampton, Devon, Dover and Monmouth, and lords Howard of Charleton, Rich, Grey of Ruthin, Coventry and Capell, on the 30th July. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641—3, pages 357, 358.
  • 4. Probably Samuel Vassal. See Vol. XXIV of this Calendar, pages 329-31.
  • 5. On the 3rd July at Cologne.
  • 6. Printed in Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. V, pages 235—7.
  • 7. Warwick reported to parliament on the 23rd July o.s. that ten to twelve ships proceeding to Dunkirk under the convoy of the Mary Rose, Capt. Blyth, had been seized by the Dutch near the Splinter, whereupon he had decided to stay 3 or 4 Dutch ships bound for the Strait, of which two were men of war. The release of the Dutch ships was ordered on the 26th July o.s. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. V, pages 238, 240. See Aitzema ; Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. II, page 842.
  • 8. Text in Journals of the House of Lords, dated 2-12 August, Vol. V, pages 257—9.
  • 9. Only three mayors are mentioned in the Journals ; these were Thomas Lawes, mayor of Salisbury, William Neve, mayor of St. Albans and Andrew Palmer, mayor of Hertford, who were summoned to the bar and committed to prison on the 29th July, O.S. The mayor of Abingdon was similarly dealt with on the 26th Sept., O.S. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. II, pages 694, 696, 783.
  • 10. A list of the letters is given in the Journals of the House of Commons on the 30th July, O.S., Vol. II, page 697.