Venice: March 1642, 16-31

Pages 13-28

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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March 1642, 16-31

March 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
12. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen of England with her daughter, Princess Mary, reached Brill on Saturday the 8th inst. She made her entry into this city on Tuesday. This was done with all ceremony consistent with the democratic forms of the country. When she was crossing the sea a ship, in which a recent injury from cannon shot had been ill repaired, foundered, without their being able to save any portion of its cargo, and they could only rescue a few of the men, nearly all being unhappily drownded. The total loss amounts to 60,000l. sterling including the queen's chapel ornaments, among them a large piece of the true cross. The queen laments this not only on religious grounds, but because of the venerable antiquity of that relic, which has been preserved over a thousand years in the Tower of London. St. Helena deposited it there with her own hands, when the faith of Christ flourished in those parts. Her Majesty's ladies of honour have also lost a great deal, and the Duchess of Lennox more than any, because the greater part of the cargo was on her account.
The Princess Mary only stayed two days with her mother, and proceeded on the third to the Court of Orange. There her entry was celebrated with joyous festivities, in anticipation of the time for the completion of the nuptials.
I went yesterday to pay my respects to the queen, telling her that I came to assure her of the regard of your Excellencies, and of my devotion, whenever I could serve her. The office pleased her Majesty and she responded most graciously. I similarly paid my respects to the princess, in the belief that I was thereby fulfilling the wishes of the state.
The queen's visit, under the pretext of establishing her daughter in this country, discloses more important aims which affect her more nearly. The chief is certainly, by means of this alliance with the House of Orange, to obtain from the States here, if not assistance for her cause, at least some vigorous interposition, which may serve to make the parliamentarians consider their position. This will also give support to her instances and interest the prince here in her aims for another marriage, which it seems she is proposing. This is between the eldest princess of Orange (fn. 1) and the Prince of Wales. This project has certainly been mooted and though it is uncertain as yet whether it has the full consent of both parties. Some believe that the Prince of Orange, not content with the queen's pretext, himself circulates these rumours of a double marriage, for the sake of his own reputation, since he knows, as does everyone else, that the queen's visit is not to bring her daughter to be married, but to shelter her royal dignity from the ignominies of the parliament there and to procure adequate assistance from the government here.
The Hague, the 17th March, 1642.
March 21.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
13. To the Secretary at the Hague.
We hear from England that there is some talk of the queen travelling to your parts. You will make enquiries upon this information, using your customary diligence in forwarding to us full particulars, supposing her Majesty holds fast to this decision, which does not appear as yet to be absolutely firm and established.
Ayes, 142. Noes, 2. Neutral, 0.
14. To the Ambassador in England.
The news and emergencies of those kingdoms become more and more momentous and important, both from the decline of the king's authority and the things accumulating to his prejudice, and from the prospect of the queen's departure. You will, with your usual ability, watch all this closely, so that we may see the results and receive well authenticated information. There is nothing we would impress upon you more than to find out the meaning of these vicissitudes, with circumstances subject to so much disturbance and to such changes, with the humours set going in Scotland no less than in London, and the dependence there on the Spaniards.
You will find herewith the sheet which will enlighten you fully upon events on this side, in continuation of what has been observed for the advantage of our service.
Ayes, 142. Noes, 2. Neutral, 0.
March 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
15. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Seven ships reached the ports here this last week from the islands of Zante and Cephalonia, laden with currants and four more are expected very soon. The fact that under the restricted conditions of the time they have not yet disposed of even last year's stores has revived the idea among the directors of the Levant Company to make sure of the sale and of their other somewhat questionable advantages by prohibiting their importation into this kingdom in the future. Accordingly on Monday they appeared before the commissioners appointed by parliament for the business of the Levant, and made strong representations for this to be done. They pointed out that in addition to the very serious losses which they assert are experienced in that trade owing to the augmentation of the duties on that side, the obligation to buy fruit in bad condition and other grievances, since this trade is conducted solely by cash payments and not by the exchange of goods from this country, it draws away from this country 40,000l. sterling every year. In the public interest it was necessary to put a stop to this to prevent this flow of money into the dominions of a foreign prince, where Englishmen have met with a very indifferent reception. To these false and artfulassertions they further adduced the certainty that if this commodity was held up, your Excellencies, in order to bring back trade to those islands, would be forced to make the exaction of your lawful impositions depend upon the good will of the merchants here, and at the same time the price of currants will be reduced, whereby they will be able to dispose of them here later on with greater advantage and every one will benefit. There are supplies in London which will last for two years, and if at the end of that period your Excellencies remain determined not to reduce the charges, they will find a way to obtain supplies from the Morea, where it is announced they have recently planted numerous vineyards, which in three years' time will produce enough fruit for all requirements.
Impressed by these interested representations, whose sole object is private advantage, as I have reported on other occasions, and stimulated in particular by the offices of Samuel Vassel and Senator Son, both of them members of parliament interested in this trade, who are aggrieved because their unreasonable pretensions in the suit against Bonicelli have not found favour with the Senate, the commissioners on Tuesday unexpectedly made their report to parliament upon these demands, to the Lower House. That body, persuaded by the arguments advanced, passed a bill that until further order no currants shall be imported from the month of August next, by anyone soever, deciding to send the bill to the Upper House and then to the king, for his consent. (fn. 2)
When I learned of this serious emergency I lost no time in attending to my duty. By means of my usual confidant I had the whole business imparted to the customers here, whose interests are deeply affected, so that they might oppose the bill and prevent if from passing in the Upper House. They show every disposition to do this and speak roundly about the most serious losses that his Majesty's customs will suffer if the bill passes as the interested parties desire. I have also seen Lord Fildin, who has knowledge of the matter, and have again pointed out to him the injury that such a prohibition would inflict upon the interests of our respective princes, more especially in its effect upon the revenues of his Majesty, the fleets of ten ships which every year sail for those islands, the cloth which is sent thither by the merchants, finally the certainty that the Dutch will turn their attention to this trade, with very considerable injury to this country. I showed him very clearly the falsity of the arguments advanced by the interested parties, with a view solely to their private advantage, while the public loss, on the other hand would be very great, notably for the people here, who would be forced to pay excessive prices for the fruit under the favour of this order. Merchants who were English subjects received the best of treatment from your Serenity and your ministers, no difference was made between them and your own subjects and they always found the state ready to listen benevolently to them, as his Excellency might know from experience during the time of his stay out there. In the same spirit your Excellencies had sent strong orders to the Rectors of Zante and Cephalonia and everywhere else in your dominions, to show the utmost courtesy to ships of this country, all in order to render ever more manifest your regard for this crown. As regards the impositions it was the lawful prerogative of every prince to impose them at will in his own dominions and no subject of any foreign power soever had any ground for complaint. Such measures were conceived solely for the benefit of the prince who made them, and he could not change them without suffering notable injury. The duties to which it appears the interested parties take exception are of old standing and the English themselves voluntarily submitted to them with the utmost readiness, having monopolised this trade for themselves alone and prevented Venetian ships from taking such goods to England, although there is a law of the late King James against this. When the trade was started the English were accustomed to lade the currants at Venice and transport them to England and elsewhere, but as the English submitted to the duties of their own accord, they were permitted as a special favour to lade them direct at the islands, with very great advantage to themselves. I went on to point out dexterously that as your Serenity is adopting every possible means to cultivate cordial relations with this crown, and I felt convinced that private interests would never be allowed to prejudice them in the smallest degree, and so I was sure that the Upper House would reject the proposal as injurious to the interests of our respective princes, irreconcilable with what is proper and at the opposite pole from what is required of a true friendship.
Fildin agreed with all that I said, assured me positively that he would oppose the bill with determination and will endeavour to prevent the lords from passing it, knowing it to be at once inequitable and injurious. The argument which has had the most influence with parliament is that it will not be necessary to export so much money from the kingdom for the purchase of the fruit, whereas they pay for other merchandise which comes from foreign countries with the goods of this kingdom.
I have supplied the necessary information to other parliamentarians with whom I am intimate, and if that is not enough, when the king returns I will make those representations to him that your Excellencies directed me to make on previous occasions on this subject. I will endeavour adroitly and emphatically to make him realise that his own convenience and interests are involved, through his revenues which will suffer a loss of 30,000l. sterling a year, although with the decline of his authority amid so many disorders it will not be easy for him to oppose the bill if it is passed by the Upper House as well.
I have made efforts to obtain a copy of the bill, but so far without success as it is in the hands of the secretary of parliament, who cannot show it before it has been passed by both Houses. However, I have sent again to learn all the particulars it contains, and if they reach me before the courier leaves they will be enclosed for the full information of your Excellencies.
There is another matter of which I will not lose sight, which has led to fresh demands from the merchants, namely that in the year 1638 the Levant Company ordered the purchase on credit of a quantity of currants in the islands of Zante and Cephalonia, a portion of which practically went bad before it was laded, and the parties concerned contend that they are not liable to make payment of the amount which comes to 30,000 reals. With these last ships a certain Englishman, one John Brunel, has arrived from Zante very inopportunely to collect this debt. He tells the Company that if they do not pay the amount due English ships which put in at those islands will be seized on behalf of the creditors. (fn. 3) It may be that the merchants have asked for the prohibition in the fear of some such eventuality, with the object of postponing payment, added to the others which I have indicated, and which I have reported that I may not be found wanting in any part of my duty.
London, the 21st March, 1642.
16. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Subsequent to the declarations reported, the king, after staying three days at Tibols proceeded to Niumarchet together with the prince. There, as was noticed significantly, he ordered provisions for ten days only, and it is freely said that he thinks of going even further away from this city, although one cannot yet learn for certain whether he will proceed to York or to Wales, where it is reported the people are most inclined to his name, and where, better than in any other part of his realm soever he will be able to prepare a strong resistance to the calamities of the present time.
Meanwhile the county of Chester, by a petition signed by 9600 men and that of Cornwall by another signed by great numbers, all substantial persons, have petitioned his Majesty and parliament not to allow innovations in the Anglican Church or any diminution of the royal prerogatives, and they have since caused their paper to be printed and published, arousing resentment and misgiving among the disaffected parliamentarians, because of the consequences that may follow such an important example.
News comes from Nieumarchet, confirmed by many, that his Majesty has sent orders to all the governors of fortresses and sea ports not to obey any commands but his own and he has sent orders to all the country gentlemen to come and join him personally with all speed. If this news is confirmed it puts it beyond a doubt that the king has cast away the reins of patience and taken the spirited resolution to shake off the yoke which the ambition of his subjects has imposed upon him. The parliamentarians are in great apprehension over this absence of his Majesty, no less than about the steps which he may decide to take in the future. In lengthy consultations these last days they have been maturing their plans for forestalling him and for a successful opposition in case of need. But so far nothing has been decided, since not all of the parliamentarians are disposed to commit themselves to desperate measures.
On Tuesday they sent to Nieumarchet two commissioners of the Upper and four of the Lower House. To these they gave instructions to leave no insinuation or other office untried which would be likely to dismiss from the king's mind the idea of keeping away from his residence here, and from all notions which might threaten the continuation of the public quiet. For this purpose they gave them powers to assure him that if he will make up his mind to gratify the desires of parliament, 1,600,000l. sterling a year shall be assigned to him for the requirements of the royal household, with other advantages. As this is greatly in excess of what the king and his predecessors have enjoyed in the past, so from the circumstances under which these specious offers have been made it becomes apparent that they are not innocent of trickery and that their sole object is to keep his Majesty within the bounds of moderation and at a distance from engagements of greater moment. What he may decide in response to these advances cannot yet be known, but we shall very soon hear from the report made by the deputies on their return. Upon this may depend the trend of affairs here, which tossed by fresh emergencies are constantly fluctuating amid the uncertainty of the end and the issue. (Che agitati di nuove emergenze fluttuano sempre fra l' incertezza della fine e dei successi).
Meanwhile, although they do not give up the idea of arming the kingdom, or that the patents issued in the past by the king to lieutenants of the counties and to captains shall be declared invalid and issued contrary to the forms of the laws, yet they have not as yet proceeded to the selection of other leaders, nor have the new lieutenants ventured to take possession of their appointments, as the more prudent loathe the idea of exposing themselves to perils which would be inevitable and disastrous in the event of a change of circumstances here, should they have taken up the duties to which they are appointed without the consent of his Majesty.
To the commissioners sent to Nieumarchet was entrusted a paper with instructions to read it to his Majesty. In this parliament sets forth its own misgivings and the just reasons which oblige it to protect the kingdom against the eventuality of fresh accidents. Over the drawing up of this paper lengthy disputes took place in parliament, as it is full of audacious expressions, insulting to the king personally and to the queen as well. It was carried by only one vote, but on condition that it shall not be published before they hear his Majesty's reply, and every one is longing to hear what this may be. I will not fail to send the new declaration in good time for those of your Excellencies who care to read it and to learn precisely how the people here treat their prince.
A report circulated that the Prince of Orange intends to succour the king in these emergencies with a sum of money causes great apprehension to the parliamentarians and arouses no slight resentment against Orange. They do not neglect to consider how they may best render the acts of that prince suspect to the Lords States themselves.
The differences with this city are settled, in appearance. The mayor and aldermen have considered it expedient to humble themselves to parliament preferring to give up for the time being the privileges of their office rather than expose their persons and rich fortunes to the hazard. Yet in their hearts they cherish deep resentment, and it may well be imagined that they will be ready to embrace any opportunity for revenge that can be obtained with safety and advantage.
A number of Irish military officers, abandoning the service of the Catholic king proposed to proceed to Ireland to assist the rebels there. Having embarked at Dunkirk, they were obliged, owing to contrary winds, to put in at the isle of Wight. They were seized and made prisoners, and two days ago were brought to the prisons here amid the universal acclamations of the people, who threatened them with every extreme, as being accomplices in those disturbances. (fn. 4)
I have expressed to Captain John Ford your Excellencies' appreciation of the offer to communicate his device for making galleys move with a smaller number of oarsmen than usual. I have advised him to reduce his demands to something more reasonable. In response he has given me a paper of which I enclose a copy. It will serve to enable your Excellencies to make your decision.
London, the 21st March, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 17. Proposal of Captain Ford.
Captain John Ford, English gentleman, has an easy method, at a slight cost to make all kinds of galleys travel as quickly as they do at present, in any weather and in any sea, with one half of the oarsmen used, without the device employed injuring the body of the galley in any way. Accordingly, considering that this invention might prove of great utility to the most serene republic of Venice, which always has a large number of galleys in commission, owing to the saving in men, in wages and in biscuit, he begs your Excellency to forward his offer, whereby he undertakes, entirely at his own expense, to come himself or to send some trusty person to make experiment. If, as he hopes, this is permitted, by the government and the republic and the experiment succeeds and is put subsequently into practice, he asks for a single payment of 10,000l. sterling down, hoping that if the same results are obtained with a fourth of the crews he will receive a higher remuneration from the republic, to whom in all things he will submit himself.
[Signed] John Ford.
1642, the 18th March.
Having been asked by the ambassador to reduce my demands to something more reasonable, I shall be content, if the secret proves successful and is taken up by the most serene republic, to receive 5000l. sterling with some present in addition for the cost of the journey and the making of the experiments, as the state may please, and I claim nothing in case the experiment does not succeed and is not taken up.
March 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
18. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Palatine affair is at present in the following position. The mediators have asked the emperor to get Bavaria, the Spaniards and all the parties concerned, including the emperor himself, to state what satisfaction they are prepared to give the Palatine. They have similarly asked the Palatine and England to state their claims. Meanwhile the English ambassador has placed the powers he holds in the hands of the Count of Tramesdorf. The count told me he had given them to the mediators to decide if they are sufficient to enable him to promise what is required for an adjustment, in view of the present troubles, since they have not the consent of parliament. The ambassador maintains that such acts always proceed in unison and that the powers he holds unquestionably enable him to do everything. He characterises the doubts cast on them as a subtlety of the Spaniards who are afraid that with Bavaria showing a favourable disposition to come to terms, they also may be constrained to concur. In case they still hold back England intimates that without proceeding further in the present negotiations he will demand the fulfilment of what has already been arranged on the subject of the pardon of the Palatine, of the year 1630, in the agreement of Prague, where it appears that two thirds of the Lower Palatinate belong to the Duke of Simer, brother of the deceased Elector Palatine Frederick, and the remaining third to the widowed Electoress. So we are now waiting to see whether the negotiations will be continued on the lines of these ideas set forth by the English ambassador, or upon the above mentioned request of the mediators.
Vienna, the 22nd March, 1642.
March 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
19. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The project of sending an embassy extraordinary to England with interposition in favour of the royal House, meets with some opposition in the States of Holland. The prince finds a difficulty in doing all that he would like, to avoid showing too much zeal in a matter already considered prejuditial to the government, and directly contrary to the opinion of this province, which is the one to which the views of the others have very frequently to defer. Yet the influence of the prince stands very high, and a certain clause which they propose to insert in the ambassador's instructions, will facilitate the achievement of this matter. This will be the utmost that the Queen of England may expect in the way of assistance from this state for the relief of her calamities, as they have her daughter here, and with her coming in such guise and with the desires of the House of Orange fulfilled, their High Mightinesses do not feel inclined to pledge themselves further. The Prince himself, for reasons of state and private considerations will not care to press it, in order not to inculcate the idea of paternal government and supply material for unfavourable comment.
This is the general view, and it also coincides with the opinion of the wisest. Thus the queen has found her hopes delusive, and seeing their scant inclination to do anything for her, she is thinking of leaving soon. If the embassy which these States will send to England does not lead affairs there towards some thoroughly stable adjustment, her Majesty proposes to proceed to France, if they will allow her to enter freely, and if not, to turn towards Brussels to a convent where many of the most distinguished English ladies live, in order to await from time those advantages which she finds herself unable to obtain from human assistance.
It is possibly for the benefit of her private plans that the queen makes the members of her Court circulate these proposals ; but however that may be, they remain very subject to the change of circumstances, and in great measure to the results produced by the interposition of the government here, which so far, has not shown any great alacrity in seconding her Majesty's plans.
Meanwhile her Majesty seems dissatisfied with the way in which their High Mightinesses received her, which certainly was very matter of fact (assai positivo), and apart from the coaches and decorations due to the House of Orange, all the other preparations were confined within very modest limits.
The bride, Princess Mary, having entered the Court where her promised husband dwells, brings great changes and expenses, which have not been experienced before. The Prince who is in bad health and grown old, begins to complain about it, in order to arouse the good will of the States. They quite understand his hint and now propose to relieve him with a new assignment of 50,000 florins a year, and with a substantial present sufficient to recoup him for the expenses incurred on the journey of his son, the young prince, to England, which are reckoned to amount to half a million.
Their High Mightinesses are expecting the arrival of the Queen Mother at Utrecht at any moment. The earl of Arundel, who was here on the pretext of a change of air, has proceeded thither, for the purpose, they say, of meeting his wife, who is coming with the queen, according to what they write.
The Hague, the 24th March, 1642.
March 28.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
20. To the Ambassador in England.
We enclose the usual sheet of advices for your information. We have received no letters from you this week.
Ayes, 112. Noes, 10. Neutral, 26.
March 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
21. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Since the bill forbidding for the future the importation of currants into this kingdom passed the Lower House last week, no further steps have been taken and the bill has not even been sent to the Upper House, although they are resolved to do so at the first opportunity. Meanwhile I have obtained a copy of the order, which I enclose, and I have not neglected the most diligent efforts to impress upon several members of parliament the objections to this measure. I have thought it expedient to impart all the necessary information to Sir Henry Wen, to whom is entrusted the entire direction of this most important affair, with the object of checking the course of such a pernicious attempt. I told him I had gathered that the Lower House was discussing the question of stopping the importation of currants. Moved by zeal for the interests of our respective princes I could not refrain from warning him of the injurious consequences to the people here if any such idea should be carried into effect, which I could not credit. I pointed out how the customs duties of the state would suffer, the loss of the fleet of ships which are habitually engaged in that trade, and how it would diminish the sale of the cloth which is transported to the islands of Zante and Cephalonia ; further that the Dutch would take up the trade to the detriment of the subjects of this crown. The demand for prohibition came from just a few merchants who this year have gathered into their own hands alone all the currant crop, with the intention of raising the price here by means of the prohibition. I added everything else that I considered useful for cutting short these pernicious designs.
Wen told me in reply that the Lower House was busy at present in re-arranging the Levant trade, and the members of the Company have represented to them, in very strong terms the unfriendly treatment which they receive in the dominions of your Serenity. Your Excellencies have increased the duties upon currants to such an extent that they exceed the price of the commodity itself. Further they have recently imposed new imposts on the cloth of this country, thereby depriving the merchants of their profits in exporting to those parts. Upon these considerations the members of parliament had decided to forbid the use of this fruit, unless your Excellencies are disposed to provide a remedy by lowering the duties and to take other measures to redress the grievances of the merchants.
I replied that subjects of this nation have always enjoyed every protection from your Excellencies, being welcomed and caressed as your own, every effort being made to give them all proper satisfaction, as is well known to the ambassadors who have gone from this Court to serve with the Senate. I informed him of the late positive orders sent to the Rectors of Zante and Cephalonia on the subject and tried to discredit the false ideas spread by interested parties for their own unrighteous ends. As regards the impositions, all princes command and dispose in their own dominions according to their own good pleasure, and are not accustomed, at the request of foreign subjects, to alter their ordinances, which are designed solely for the profit of the prince who issues them. I expressed my astonishment that such a request should be advanced, so improper in itself and certainly so unlikely to be admitted. The duties to which it appears exception is taken, have been imposed for a long series of years, the English themselves willingly submitted to them. I proceeded to recite all the other arguments and tried to make him realise the passion and interest that prompted this novel and unrighteous demand of the merchants. He pretended that these failed to make the impression upon him that I desired, and stuck to his point that if the impositions are not reduced, this trade will undoubtedly be broken off. All the same, he could not find any valid reply to my arguments, and indeed he assured me that he would make known to parliament what I had said to him. He said the parliamentarians cherished the utmost good will and desire to maintain the ancient friendly relations with your Serenity, and in virtue of the information that I had supplied they would make fresh enquiries from the merchants of the Company as well as from the ambassadors who have resided with your Excellencies.
I learn that the merchants here, although the matter is not definitely settled, have written to Venice and to the Levant islands that currants have been prohibited. As the duties are to be bid for next August, at Zante their intention is to render the market more difficult and disadvantageous, and provide a stimulus to your Excellencies to give way to their unrighteous demands, to avoid losing the advantage of this year's revenue and they announce that if concessions are not made, they will not send their ships to lade. Those who do more mischief than all the rest by their persistent offices in this matter are the parties interested in the suit of Obson against Bonicelli, as I reported. I will do everything in my power and spare no effort to prevent mischief, but I regret that we have to deal with persons who recognise no proprieties except their own passions and interests at a time when the government is immersed in the agitation of so many disorders.
London, the 28th March, 1642.
Enclosure. 22. To-day the House of Commons has ordained that the commissioners shall meet to take into consideration the question of the trade in Suffolk cloth. Sir Henry Ven, the chief of the commissioners, is to prepare an order and take it to the House to-morrow morning, to be presented to the lords and to his Majesty, for prohibiting the importation of currants into this country after the 1st August next. The order is to provide that by reason of this prohibition the price of currants shall not be increased intolerably, either by the shopkeepers or by the merchants, and it further states what price it is reasonable to put upon currants, to wit what it is in the kingdom at present, and what it ought to be up to August next. (fn. 5)
[Italian, translated from the English.]
March 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
23. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The deputies sent to his Majesty returned from Nieumarchet on Saturday, after having fruitlessly tried every means to induce him to approach this city once more, and after having read and presented, in conformity with their commissions, the declaration reported concerning the misgivings which constrained parliament to arm the kingdom with all speed. This audacious paper devotes itself to representing to the king that he has lent an ear to proposals for changing the religion professed in this country. That the war against the Scots was undertaken in order that it might serve as a bridge for taking so mischievous a step. It expresses the suspicion that the movements in Ireland have not occurred without the connivance of those who possess the greatest credit with his Majesty, a tacit reference to the queen. That parliament is advised that the papal ministers at the Courts of France and of Spain are making strenuous efforts to induce those crowns to send troops to England, all in order to make it easy for the king to recover by arms the prerogatives which have been taken from him. The document enters upon other studied exaggerations showing quite clearly that it was drawn up in order to constitute a process against the past although innocent actions of this prince, and to render him more odious with the people. It concludes by saying that if he persists in his determination to remain at a distance and in refusing his assent to the demands of parliament, a most deadly blow of ultimate ruin will inevitably overtake him, (fn. 6) which means that they will completely renounce all obedience, in which direction they have already begun to take action (conclude in fine che persistendo nel parere di tenersi lontano et in quello di non acconsentire alle dimande del parlamento, cadera irreparibilmente sopra di lui il colpo piu sensitivo degli' ultimi mall' hori, che vuol dir che se gli scuotera l' ubbidenza, come s' e principiato ad esseguire).
At the moment his Majesty replied to all this with a few but serious remarks, promising to make a more considered answer later in writing. He told the deputies freely that he had no doubt but that his replies would afford complete satisfaction to the world. He hoped that the most righteous God would disclose the secret of the treasons and snares which are laid for him, and that then he will be made manifest to his people as the just prince that he is and always will be. He is more apprehensive over the state of affairs here from the perils amid which the Protestant religion finds itself, as well as his subjects and the laws, than over the security of his own royal rights. He claimed that he had never violated the laws of the crown and that he had promptly consented to everything that had been submitted to him for the relief and security of his subjects. He concludes with a protest that he hopes that God will afford protection to himself and his children according to the measure of his upright intentions towards all his subjects. With this he dismissed the commissioners and on Monday set out together with the prince in the direction of York. It is not yet ascertained whether he will establish himself there or whether he will proceed to Baruich, as many believe.
He has sent orders to this city for printers to be sent to him without delay. This gives the impression that he proposes to publish manifestoes to justify the steps he has taken as well as his past proceedings, and to use pamphlets to stir up the people to promote his cause.
He has been followed on this journey by the Prince Palatine, by the duke of Richmond and by other leading Scottish lords, who have evinced their perfect obedience. The others have taken leave and returned here. The Marquis Hamilton in particular, the old mistrust of whom seems to have revived in the king's mind, Something has been said about a number of Scottish lords devoted to his Majesty's service, making him an offer of powerful assistance to restore him to the possession of his former authority and that in Yorkshire, Wales and Lancashire, the same disposition exists. But up to the present there is no sign of anything that promises results corresponding to these reports, and it is not even known as yet what intentions the king cherishes in his heart, whether he simply means to remain at a distance from this city and wait for the benefit of time to provide a favourable opening for the relief of his fortunes, or whether he intends to avenge himself by arms for the numerous insults which he has received. A few days will make the most essential question clear and provide the means for forming a considered opinion upon the future course of events.
Having lost all hope of obtaining from the king the satisfaction claimed parliament has held frequent conferences these last days to examine the means for the firm establishment of their control, and at the same time to bring to nought any attempts that his Majesty might contemplate. They have passed fresh decrees confirming the decision to put the kingdom in a state of defence. They have sent orders to Uls, a fortress of consequence, on the sea in which a quantity of arms and munitions is deposited, for the speedy reinforcement of the garrison with numerous squadrons of the trained bands there, and have deprived the king of the power to make use of those provisions. However, it is not known whether the people there are disposed to take the side of parliament or whether they adhere to the royalist party after all.
The earl of Warwick has been entrusted with the command of thirty ships which are arming at present under the pretext of defending their shores against foreign forces. He accepted the appointment promptly and announces that he will be at sea within three weeks with the ships in perfect order. They have also sent orders to the Vice Admiral Peninton, who accompanied the queen to Holland with six ships of the crown, to betake himself to these waters without further delay, but as he has not appeared up to the present they have misgivings about his intentions. Some think that as he has proved himself in the past a faithful servant of his Majesty, he will not get beyond the king's beck and call (non vorra allontanarsi da suoi cenni).
To meet the expenses of these provisions and of those which will be necessary in the future, they have imposed a tax of four subsidies, which will amount to the sum of 400,000l. sterling, though it is imposed ostensibly to deal with the situation in Ireland and to meet the debts which parliament here owes to the Scots. But if this resolution is not signed by the king it seems probable that it will not meet with the prompt obedience which is claimed and which is necessary for the success of the schemes which they have in hand.
While they were engaged upon these measures in the exercise of the functions of government, orders arrived from the king yesterday evening, signed on his journey, at Otinton, in which he expressly forbids them to proceed any further in the arming of the kingdom and also forbids his subjects to obey any command of any kind soever unless it is signed by his Majesty. At the same time he offers to confirm everything that may be recommended to him on behalf of the defence of Ireland and thereby he affords a fresh pretext to those who are not disposed to renounce their allegiance to him, not to co-operate in the aims of the more rebellious (con che da nuovo pretesto a quelli che non inclinano di apportarsi dall' ubidienza della Maesta Sua di non conspirar negli ogetti dei piu sediciosi).
On the other hand parliament has received this new declaration of the king with feelings of great bitterness. They resolved yesterday, that whoever resists or obstructs the execution of their decrees shall be considered guilty of having infringed the privileges of parliament. The object of this is to warn his Majesty that if he persists in forbidding obedience to their decisions he will be declared to have violated the laws of war with danger of such consequences as the prudence of the Senate will foresee. For the consideration of decisions of such consequence they had lengthy disputes in parliament, the more moderate being strongly opposed to such a malevolent and violent decree, which infringes the rights of the crown and the offices of loyalty, while it is utterly derogatory to the monarchy and introduces democratic government. What will be the outcome of these orders, so mutually destructive, no one would venture to foretell, though it is quite certain that time will bring the truth to light.
Owing to the control of the customs duties being taken away from his Majesty this year the foreign ministers also have been deprived of the customary privilege of the exemption of their wine. This is a matter of importance and in this connection my purse suffers to the extent of 350 crowns, adding one more to the many discomforts that I have had to endure in my long and painful sojourn here.
London, the 28th March, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 28.
Inquisitori di Stato busta 742. Venetian Archives.
24. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
Sends passage from the news letters of the Grand Duke's minister at Venice, which he frequently has an opportunity of seeing, because it seems worthy of attention.
London, the 28th March, 1642.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Enclosure. 25. Copy of passage from letters of the Grand Duke's Resident at Venice of the 7th March.
The Procurator Zen has urged the republic to equip fresh galleys to scour the coasts of the states of the church and keep the papal forces in alarm and to send ambassadors to all the princes of Italy to learn their views in the present dangers that threaten that province and that they must not let the Spaniards down ; but Sig. Nicolo da Ponte carried the contrary proposition that they should continue neutral as usual.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
March 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
26. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the mediators have recognised the English ambassador's powers, yet difficulties have been raised about the ratification clause and about the special consent of parliament. The Ambassador Ro puts aside these subterfuges and says that his powers require no special approval from parliament, which would be an infringement of the king's authority. I learn that his remonstrances have induced the ministers and mediators to promise an absolute and categorical reply upon what they propose to do for the Palatine and what they require from England ; but as a matter of fact, they are only trying to procrastinate. Ro is fully aware of this and he intimates that in the interval the French and the allies may score such successes that there may be no room for a composition. Tramesdorf told me of the idea of asking for some ratification from parliament, for any agreement with England, but he said he hoped the negotiations would end successfully and that the English ambassador would not go away dissatisfied.
Vienna, the 29th March, 1642.
March 31.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
27. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
They are postponing the election of the embassy extraordinary for England in the interest of the royal House. They consider affairs there to be involved in inextricable confusion and they do not want to be in any hurry to come to a decision until they know whether the interposition of the government here will be acceptable to the parliament there. This government hears the news of the turmoil there with sentiments of indifference, and is by no means disposed to undertake the task of mediation in such a ticklish affair. The government of Holland indeed appears to be particularly opposed to such action, and so the hesitation shown about carrying forward this transaction does not promise those happy results which are so desirable in the interests of those unfortunate princes.
The Queen of England, if she has not had enough of her stay here, has at least grown weary of their manners, and proposes to withdraw to Breda. She has selected that fortress as a temporary abode because of its convenience for crossing to France by land, or going to Flanders, supposing she cannot have free access to Paris as she would like. The prince leaves her alone and it is thought that he will not be sorry for her departure, as with her away they can economise many expenses which are now incurred in the Court of her daughter, the Princess Mary, a thing they cannot do while the mother is here without causing remark and offence.
The people of Holland have half closed their ears to some suggestion made in their Assembly about relieving the House of Orange of the burden which is weighing it down owing to the arrival of the Princess Mary, by an annual assignment of 50,000 florins.
They are expecting from England one Don Francesco d' Ardrade, Leitan, (fn. 7) who is coming in the name of Braganza to this Court, with the title of ambassador. He is one of the two who acts in that capacity with the King of Great Britain. Their High Mightinesses foresee that he will have instructions to insist on the restoration of Loango, San Paolo and San Thome, in the province of Angola, recently occupied by the forces of the States, and they are preparing to give him a refusal.
The Hague, the 31st March, 1642.


  • 1. Louise Henriette, at this time fourteen years of age.
  • 2. Vane's report on the currant trade was made on the 18th and the inhibition of currants resolved the same day. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. II, page 471.
  • 3. John Bromhall, apparently the islanders claimed that he had bought the currants for the Company by order of Symonds, their agent. Levant Co. Letter Book, letter to Symonds of the 5th May, 1643 ; Court Book, 17th Nov., 1643. S.P. For. Archives, Vols. 111, 150.
  • 4. According to La Ferté writing on the 20th March, 12 Irish officers, of whom the chief was a Colonel Beling, were arrested on their passage from France to Ireland. P.R.O. Paris Transcripts. Salvetti on the 21st March confirms this but gives the number of those arrested as eighteen. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 I.
  • 5. See Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. II, page 471.
  • 6. The text is printed in Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. IV, pages 629—31 ; and the reasons presented with the declaration, id. page 633.
  • 7. Dr. Francesco de Andrada, de Leitao had been Portuguese ambassador in England with Dom. Antao de Almada since March, 1641.