Venice: October 1642, 16-31

Pages 175-189

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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October 1642, 16-31

Oct. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
158. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Court has been in constant movement this present week also. After returning to Sciosberi from the city of Chiester the king proceeded to Lodlon, which lies in greater proximity to the parliamentary forces, and where Prince Rupert is quartered with the cavalry and the most trustworthy sources do not as yet give any definite information about the period of his stay in those parts, which causes me both trouble and torment. However, the letters which arrive from there assert that the king, encouraged by the successful encounter reported and persuaded by the disorders and divisions which they hear are multiplying in the army of the earl of Essex, has definitely made up his mind to advance without further delay upon his quarters with the object of forcing him to give battle or else to make it necessary for him to retire. If this plan cannot be carried out he is resolved to throw a bridge over the Severn, and bringing his troops across to make a rapid march upon this metropolis, from which the arms of the rebels receive their chief encouragement. Both these plans involve important consequences and before they they are put into execution they will be thoroughly examined by his Majesty in order not to expose to the chances of an unfavourable issue the subsistence of the royal forces with that of the whole of this noble house as well, and consequently everyone lives amid the perplexity that the contemplation of so weighty an enterprise deserves.
Parliament, which is reduced to scanty numbers, is not without apprehension over the reports of these spirited intentions of the king. They are taking steps with careful solicitude to prepare a valid defence for this city, with the object of securing it against the assaults of the royal forces no less than against the movements of those who, groaning under the oppression of the new government, sigh impatiently for the assistance of those forces to restore them to their former state of tranquillity, as well as to relieve them of the burden of so many extraordinary charges, which augment with every hour and stir feelings of regret even in many who previously applauded vehemently the perpetuity of the present parliament.
At all the approaches to London are posted quarters general of numerous soldiery. The most notable highways are blockaded with timber and thick chains of iron. The apprentices have been given arms and being distributed under captains they have them put through frequent exercises to make them more handy and better fitted for what may happen. General Essex, on the other hand, has billeted his men in the city of Uster and the places round about, and we do not hear that he contemplates moving yet. He is increasing his forces by the regiments which were quartered in various places and which are going to join his army. That is losing its former reputation nor is it so strong as they tried in the past to make the generality believe. From the muster rolls it has been clearly established that the number of soldiers does not by a long way come up to the pay and to the moneys which were delivered to the commanders. This has afforded material for serious quarrels among the parliamentarians because many of them have taken an elevated rank with the title of colonel, and have seized the opportunity to make large profits (in riguardo che molti con titolo di colonelli hanno preso carica elevante, et si sono valsi dell' opportunita per largamente profitare).
A further skirmish has taken place between the cavalry commanded by Prince Rupert and 1000 dragoons of the parliament, in which the latter gave way before the valour of the former and most of them were left on the field, while the rest only owed their lives to the suppleness of their legs and the swiftness of their horses. This affair has increased the glory and the reputation for courage of the Palatines, and at the same time it is a testimony that the Almighty for the most part, interposing His most holy hand in favour of the right cause, fights and conquers.
In the mean time Essex by the intermediary of a private individual has made known to his Majesty that he has orders to present him with a petition of the parliament, and has besought him to permit this to be done, and to hand over hostages for the security of his person. Astounded at the tone of this audacious demand the king sent word that he would always be glad to lend a favourable ear to the proposals of the parliament but that he would never consent to receive them by the hand of a traitor. Being thus shut out from the possibility of entering his Majesty's presence in a friendly fashion the earl has sent word here of this answer and asked for fresh orders as to the course he is to follow in the future.
On hearing the severity of this reply parliament was incensed and declared that it amounted to a breach of the privileges of that Senate. They gave leave to Essex to proceed in accordance with the instructions sent him by the last deputies. This amounts to an order to make trial of armed force to compel the king to accept the conditions no which the malcontents here are so fanatically bent. It is not believed, however, that the general will have the courage to risk an action, as the encounters which have taken place up to the present do not hold out very roseate hopes of gaining an advantage over the royalist troops so easily. Accordingly everyone is of opinion that he will profit by the passage of time to destroy his Majesty's forces. The parliamentarians here publish that they are in great straits for money, and from the lack of this those who are most deeply committed hope to attain to the satisfaction to which they aspire.
On the eve of these moves and such measures as each of the parties may see fit to take news has arrived that in the county of York, which is one of the most considerable, the earl of Comberland, general of the royal forces in the district, and the leaders of the parliamentary troops have concluded an agreement to bring back peace to the district and arrange for it to enjoy a beneficial neutrality. The terms of the accommodation are recognised as being very advantageous to his Majesty's side and as a condemnation of the declarations as well as of the past actions of parliament. It has consequently wounded the parliamentarians here in their tenderest part and so they have not only disavowed the treaty, but have sent resolute orders to their partisans not to proceed any longer in observation of the agreement, and orders have been issued for 3000 men to be despatched speedily by sea to those parts for the purpose of rendering their party supreme and so far as possible to dissipate the harm done by the composition. (fn. 1) If it were carried into effect they suspect that the example and the desire for repose would suggest to other counties to follow the same salutary course. In this way, under the pretext of neutrality there might arise disobedience to their orders and they would lose the very considerable assistance which they have hitherto enjoyed from those districts which have declared themselves supporters of the parliamentary cause (la quale praticandosi sospettano che l' esempio et il desiderio del riposo ammonisca altre provincie ad abbracciare li stessi salutario consigli. Onde sotto li pretesti della neutralita derivi poscia la disubedienza agli ordini loro et manchino ugualmente quelle assistenze che hanno fin hora godute molto considerabili da quelli contadi che si sono dichiarati partiali alla causa parlamentaria).
The Prince Palatine has written from Holland representing the necessities of his present state, and has sent protests as well that he never advised the king, his uncle, to take up arms against the parliament. He makes an earnest request to be accommodated with 3000l. sterling to provide for the pressing needs of his household. The courtesy of this document has given rise to much gratification and although they profess the utmost indignation against his brothers, they have none the less decided to supply him with prompt assistance. Many are of opinion that his Majesty will consider himself affronted by this declaration of his nephew, which indeed is commonly regarded with disapproval and is condemned by the impartial.
In the waters of Newcastle five ships of Vice Admiral the earl of Warwick have seized two of the king, which were all that were left faithful to him. (fn. 2) By this stroke he is completely stripped of naval forces, although these two ships brought him more expence than advantage or reputation. Another ship sent by the queen from Holland to his Majesty with munitions, arms and 140 officers for the army has put in at Darmoud, being unable to keep at sea any longer or proceed to Newcastle. There it was seized by the partisans of parliament and the leaders arrested. (fn. 3) They will be brought prisoners to the Tower here, a serious loss to the royal cause.
The Sieur d' Oger, who is to go to France, will take a request to the Most Christian in the name of parliament for the release of an English barque, seized by the French, which was conveying succour from Holland to the Protestants in Ireland. He will profit by this opportunity to sound the bottom of the real intentions of that king, whether he is disposed to treat with parliament, and if he finds any inclination that way they will subsequently give him such instructions as the time and the pressure of affairs may demand.
Letters have reached the Resident of Florence from his master for his Majesty in which the Grand Duke informs him of the league that has been arranged and orders that minister to proceed to the Court to present it but the resident has decided to write instead.
Seeing that the order prohibiting the importation of currants is illegal without the king's assent, and feeling sure that he will not give it, the merchants here have sent fresh orders to Zante for the purchase of 700 thousand of currants and have hired the ship Santa Margherita to fetch them. This example will be of great assistance in stimulating others who deal in similar merchandise to send similar orders so as not to cut themselves off from their hold on that traffic, although a large quantity of this fruit remains unsold in the magazines, sufficient to meet requirements for two years more, and this fact greatly prejudices the intentions and interests of your Excellencies.
London, the 17th October, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
159. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
All the letters to and from the Secretary of State have been seized by parliament, and I am sure that mine are among them. In order to avoid a journey in the winter I decided to set out on Monday for Ludlon to see his Majesty and perform the offices enjoined on me. I have asked parliament for passports. I hope that my action will meet with approval and that no harm will happen at the embassy during my absence. Before starting I thought it advisable to inform some of the most influential of the parliamentarians of my intention, in order to smoothe the way. Accordingly I saw the earl of Holland yesterday, who was once a favourite minister of his Majesty but who now takes a more active part and enjoys more credit than any one else in the new government (ma hoggidi piu d' ogn' altro assiste et possese credito nella forma del nuovo governo). He seemed pleased and promised the passport and an escort on my return to convoy me to Holland, as the king has used to do with all ambassadors. He told me that if I had not asked for a passport he would have instructed the Master of the Ceremonies to show me every respect. They wished here to maintain the most cordial relations with your Excellencies. He recalled that the late King James used to say that he esteemed the friendship of the most serene republic more than that of any other prince, and that he would never do anything to its prejudice. He assured me that they preserved the same sentiments now. He went on to speak at length of the differences between the king and parliament and made some reference to a composition. He professed that they, on their side, were animated by a genuine desire for repose and to render to his Majesty the respect of loyal obedience and gratify him in every way consistent with the solidarity of the privileges of parliament. I replied to him in general terms of courtesy, without committing myself.
I thought fit to seize this opportunity to represent the damage that would be done by prohibiting the importation of currants, adducing all the arguments previously advanced. He asked me to let him have them in writing, assuring me that he would speak strongly on the subject. I enclose a translation of my letter, which I have worded carefully, to avoid giving offence to the king.
The Secretary Zon warns me of the necessity of obtaining passports and an escort for my journey to Vienna, otherwise I shall be running great risk of suffering violence, such as the Ambassador Ro experienced on his journey to that Court. The ambassador of the Catholic has given me a passport for Flanders. The form in which it was drawn made me doubtful if I should accept it, but on being assured that it was the one usually adopted I did not make any difficulty. I have written to the Secretary Vico to provide me with a house at Vienna worthy of my position. I have received the ducal missives of the 26th ult.
London, the 17th October, 1642.
Enclosure. 160. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador, to the Earl of Holland.
Represents the mischief that will be done by prohibiting the importation of currants.
London, the 18th October, 1642.
[Italian ; copy.]
Oct. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
161. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
They continue to expect the arrival of the Queen of England, and apparently there is no uncertainty except about the route she will take, whether she will come by Liege or through Flanders, as she refused to travel by sea. The bishop of Angoulême, her almoner, has gone to Holland on this matter to give her full particulars of the kind intentions of the king, her brother.
Paris, the 21st October, 1642.
Oct. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
162. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The States General, by a special deputation, have asked the Queen of England to continue to live here so long as the troubles last in that kingdom. She well knows that this is more a courtesy than the effect of good will, and hastens her preparations for departure. Yet nothing certain can be reported about this as yet. She herself confesses that she does not know, and that her departure depends more on the successes of the royal arms than on the account brought by the Bishop of Angoulême, who is expected at any moment from Paris with particulars of the Cardinal's views.
The parliament commissioner keeps quiet, in expectation of the new Assembly of the Hollanders, without attempting to hurry the decisions of their High Mightinesses.
The Princess Palatine informed me the other day of the departure of her two sons (fn. 4) from Paris for Venice, with the intention of remaining there incognito for some time. She hoped that the elder, Edward by name, would find favour with your Excellencies. I made a complimentary reply.
The Hague, the 22nd October, 1642.
Oct. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
163. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In conformity with what I wrote I set out on Monday on my way to the Court. But I had not proceeded more than a few miles from this city when a courier of his Majesty arrived with letters of the Secretary of State Nicolas to the Master of the Ceremonies to notify me, by the king's command, that as the king had decided to advance with all his army in this direction within the space of two days, he was unable, in the midst of the turmoil to appoint a place or time to see me. Within the space of ten days he would be in a better position to know where he was likely to take up his abode and he could then receive me in a befitting manner. The secretary adds that he had sent two other letters on the same subject, but learning that the couriers had been detained by the parliamentary soldiery and taken to Uster, where General Essex is established, he thought it best to send a third time to make quite sure. Accordingly I came back here and am impatiently waiting for the moment when I can leave this fatal clime.
The same and other letters which arrived on Saturday from the Court bring word that his Majesty had gone back to Sirosberi and confirm that the army is on the point of marching in this direction, but so far nothing definite has been discovered about the route it will select, whether it will be through the country where the parliamentary troops are quartered, or by other ways, leaving the enemy's army behind, a plan requiring much consideration (che e consiglio di molto ponderatione.)
His Majesty is bringing with him 12,000 men on foot, 3000 horse, 2500 dragoons and 18 pieces of artillery. He will be reinforced on the way by the Marquis of Erford with 2000 Welshmen and by the earl of Arbi with a like number who are all in readiness to unite with the royal forces. Everyone agrees that the troops are picked men, well supplied with arms and horses and brimful of resolute determination to try conclusions with the other side (Accorda ogn' uno che la gente sia scielta, hene proveduta d' armi, di cavalli, et pregna ugualmente di risoluta volonta di cimentarsi col contrario partito.)
In this same town of Sirosberi his Majesty has set them to work these last days in melting down old silver plate, partly collected from the liberality of those who adhere to his side, the rest taken as punishment from those who have shown a reluctance to be loyal. He has had all this coined into money to supply the pay of the army and the other expenses required by the most serious events of these times. The parliamentarians fume at the arrival of such weighty news. They are still engaged in providing for the defence of London and the surrounding country. They have ordered the trained bands here to stand ready to their arms at the first touch of the drum, and they have sent commissions to the neighbouring counties, which they imagine to be friendly to their interests, to get together the largest number of men they can and not allow the royal forces to push forward so easily. Those of most experience, however, are persuaded that if his Majesty perseveres, accompanied by such numerous forces, no one will venture to oppose him. The event will show whether this view is correct.
In this city a by no means negligible party is disclosing itself in his favour, and a goodly number of men, anxious to make themselves known as such by those who inwardly cherish the same laudable sentiments, have introduced the practice, following the example of his Majesty's soldiers, of wearing a rose coloured band on their hats, as a sign that they are his faithful servants (in questa citta si scuopre hormai partito di consideratione a favore suo, et molto numero d' uomini, studiosi di farsi conoscere tali da quelli che internamente conspirano ne' medesimi lodevoli sentimenti, hanno introdotto ad esempio de soldati della Maesta Sua di portare sopra il capello cinta di color di rosa per marca d' essere fedeli servitori suoi). The mayor, on the other hand, who is a Puritan, whose duty it is to superintend the government of the city, is endeavouring by vigorous demonstrations to prevent the spread of this custom, seeing that if these countersigns should multiply it will raise the credit of the royal faction and will fill with dread those who favour the parliament.
Twelve captains of the citizen trained bands, and among the most substantial, alarmed by the report that the king's army is pushing towards this city and by other considerations, have decided to resign their position and to escape from those dangers which the changes of the time may bring them.
On Sunday a riot of some importance occurred between the Puritans and the Protestants in the cathedral church of St. Paul, the former having tried to demolish the organs, while the latter offered a furious resistance. After some fighting the destruction was prevented.
General Essex, by a courier who arrived this night, sends confirmation of the news that the king is to begin his march on Wednesday the 22nd inst. Essex states that moving in regular order and bringing his artillery the king will need three days before he gets near him and so the general will have time enough to take such measures as circumstances may show to be best adapted for the defence of their cause. In the mean time he has divided his army into three corps and quartered them in the places best adapted for preventing the royalists from pursuing their march. He reports that he has under his command sixteen regiments of infantry, comprising 800 men each, 2500 cavalry and some companies of dragoons. He makes pressing demands for reinforcements and asks for more precise instructions as to how he is to employ his forces against those of his Majesty.
They have held grave consultations upon particulars of such importance but their decisions have not yet transpired with any certainty. We hear indeed that they have sent him the liberty to have the petition reported presented to the king by another hand, if his Majesty persists in his refusal to receive it from Essex. This is another indication which makes one conclude that the parliamentarians do not consider it a safe plan for the general to commit himself too lightly to the fortune of a battle (il che fa presagire con nuova prova non reputarsi da Parlamentarii sicuro consiglio che il Generale si commette di leggere alla fortuna della battaglia.) But if his Majesty advances in that direction he cannot escape fighting or a retreat and accordingly there is great tension in the expectation of what may happen. Everyone feels certain that in a short time we shall see sights and portents in this theatre of civil strife which will involve consequences of the utmost peril to the side which chances to lose.
Another action has taken place between the royal and the parliamentary cavalry with disadvantage to the latter. The particulars of this affair are kept secret to avoid increasing the terrors of the people here. By the seizure reported of the Dutch ship, which was taking officers and munitions to the king, parliament has become acquainted with the fact that other stores or arms are all ready in Holland for his Majesty's service. For the purpose of preventing these being transported and to render a disservice to the Prince of Orange they have matured a lengthy declaration which, accompanied by letters from the Presidents of both the Houses was sent on Saturday to their commissioner, with instructions to present it to the States. This accuses Orange of having afforded assistance to the despatch of munitions of war, permitted English captains and soldiers to cross the sea to take service under the royal flag, of preparing other munitions for the hurt of this kingdom and in contempt of the ancient friendship which the government has with him. They reproach the Provinces by recalling the benefits received from this crown at the time of their greatest need, at the same time they express the conviction that the activities of Orange in favour of the king are conducted without the states' participation. They endeavour to justify the necessity for the present movements, with the object of defending the reformed religion against the intrigues of the Catholics ; to preserve the laws and the liberty of the country against the evil ambitions of bad councillors. They subsequently enlarge upon other insinuations and representations to persuade that state to abandon the king's cause and to support that of the parliament. I enclose a translation of this document which I consider not unworthy of the consideration of the Senate in respect of the motives and bitter feelings which are able to produce such licentious opinions. Yet parliament is persuaded that these complaints will warn Orange to proceed with more reserve in the future in his efforts for the royal cause and that they will give a fresh impulse on the other hand to the Province of Holland to support the parliamentary cause with a resolute hand. The actual results will be reported by the Secretary Zon and they may possibly serve to increase the wish of their High Mightinesses to interpose their friendly offices between the parties to establish an adjustment with mutual satisfaction.
Meantime more deputies have arrived at the Court from Scotland and reports are being circulated that they bring instructions to represent to his Majesty that if he continues his warlike operations that nation will be constrained to take the side of parliament and give it powerful assistance because of the need of securing for themselves the exercise of their religion and privileges no less than to maintain intact the good-feeling and peace between the two crowns. Men of good sense, however, cannot persuade themselves that that nation will launch upon so important a venture at a time when such great divisions are becoming apparent in their own country ; and when the English counties on that frontier are provided with numerous garrisons, and when the season is so far advanced towards the rigours of the winter. Time will disclose their more secret designs, there being nothing upon which to base a sound judgment amid circumstances of so much disorder.
The Agent of the Palatine affirms that the letter written by the Prince, his master, was not in the terms published ; he has made a strong remonstrance to the parliamentarians about the false reports and has sent a copy of the letter itself to his Majesty for the purpose of vindicating the sincerity and innocence of his master.
London, the 24th October, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 164. Declaration of the Parliament of England to the States General of the United Provinces.
Notification of the mission of Walter Stricland.
Remonstrance about Digby obtaining from their country munitions of war in which he received assistance from the Prince of Orange. Cannot believe that this has been done with their authority. Justification of the action of parliament in taking arms against the king. By satisfying parliament the States General will be defending their own safety. (fn. 5)
[Italian, from the English ; 12 pages.]
Oct. 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
165. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The Bishop of Angoulême arrived from France the day before yesterday. He brings the most courteous invitation to her Majesty on behalf of the king to go to Paris, and a similar one from the Cardinal, which does not give unmixed satisfaction. Her Majesty's departure still seems imminent, but really she has little inclination to exchange a stay in England against one in France. She is sending her gentleman (fn. 6) to Paris expressing her obligations to the king and thanking him for his courtesy, but she hopes, as things seem at present to look favourable in England, it will clear the way for her return there, and she proposes, after remaining a few days longer here, to go straight to her husband, without incurring the inconvenience of a double journey.
To perform this office they are sending a dependant of the Cardinal, clever at introducing any kind of project and with sufficient ability to awake in his heart a friendly disposition towards the queen. Out of her own mouth she has aroused some compunction in the government, recalling the past benefits conferred on this state by Queen Elizabeth, and more recently by King James, remarking that it was not parliament but the kings of England who contributed everything for the safety of these Provinces, and her husband would do the like whenever called upon, following the example of his predecessors. She added that if the States had an England dominated by parliament near them instead of one under the kings, Holland might well repent of it in the near future.
These last remarks, which the queen expressed with emphasis, greatly stirred the government and roused some sparks of jealousy, similar considerations having been recently discussed in the General Assembly. Accordingly the States seem more friendly to the queen than usual, either because of the presence of the Prince, who is active in her behalf, or because they consider that the king's affairs are taking a better turn. They have gone so far as to overlook (negliger) a levy of 2000 soldiers both foot and horse, which her Majesty has decided to raise in this country and which we hear will reach its full compliment in a few days. The majority of them will straggle (sviandosi) and the rest assemble about Liége, to form a small corps d' armee of picked men, whom the queen will supply with arms and pay before they cross the frontier of these states.
To hasten the enlisting of these men the Prince will secretly supply some ready money, and for the rest, her Majesty will fall back upon another portion of her jewels, which she has already sent to Amsterdam to pawn to the most substantial merchants. This levy will be composed chiefly of members of her Majesty's Court and will be called the Company of the Queen's Guard, as they claim that this will give it a better standing and render it less open to suspicion by the government here. When the levy is completed, as they hope, within a fortnight, the Queen has quite made up her mind to set out for England, landing at Newcastle, if she can. The difficulty is the present lack of ships suitable for this voyage, as they do not want to leave the coast of Flanders unguarded or to disturb the Admiral of Holland before Dunkirk. So one cannot see how she can carry her decision into effect. It is not considered consistent with the honour of the state to expose her Majesty to the obvious risk of falling into the hands of her opponents, as the ten ships she asks for are unequal to resist the forces of the parliament, they cannot supply a larger fleet at present, and if they could they are unwilling to run the risk of an encounter with Warwick's ships, which are looking for the chance of an engagement.
The Hague, the 29th October, 1642.
Oct. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
166. To the Ambassador in England.
Commend the reserve shown by him about the letter from the queen to the king and from the latter to himself, as well as his address in evading any obligation to the queen in the matter. Are looking to hear of his official leave taking of the king, and of the completion of his offices about currants, to prevent mischief.
Ayes, 114. Noes, 0. Neutral, 4.
Oct. 30.
Inquisitori di Stato. Venetian Archives.
167. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
Acknowledges letters of the 6th. During the brief period of his stay that remains will forward anything that concerns the interests of the state. The Secretary Agustini will remain on after him, and will later take charge of the state's affairs.
London, the 30th October, 1642.
Oct. 31.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
168. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the king had reviewed his army he set out from Sirosberi on Wednesday in the present week. He made the troops march always in their ranks (caminar ordinatamente) so as to be safe against attack from the enemy, and arrived on Friday without opposition at Vorstanton (fn. 7) a small place of insignificant condition. There he was joined by the troops from Wales and after giving his men two days rest he resumed his march leaving the parliamentary army a short distance behind, and advanced prosperously to Merida, only four miles away from Coventry. His Majesty remains steadfast in his determination to pursue his way with all speed to this metropolis and it if be possible to restore his authority to the dignity it originally possessed by means of his arms. Nevertheless there is no certain information whether, before proceeding further he intends to storm Coventry itself. Having recently refused entry to the royal troops it is at present defended by a numerous garrison of the parliament, and within its walls are the most precious possessions of the Puritans of the district. For this reason the best authenticated news of the king's plans as well as of what happens is awaited with impatience in consideration of the advantages which the party here might derive if his Majesty were forced to interrupt the course of his march to tame the pride of those townsmen and tarry some days in that district or if, peradventure, the enterprise proved unsuccessful.
Prince Rupert, who commands the vanguard, surprised the town of Chichmaster on the road and routed in precipitous flight 4000 men of the parliament who were quartered there. He captured from them 4 pieces of artillery with all their baggage, and pushing on afterwards to the outskirts of Uster he threw into disorder some other troops, many soldiers succumbing to the valour of his sword, with other damage to the rebels. The successes which he has won so far in every encounter have raised his name to the summit of glory, or of terror, according to the point of view.
No further particulars of this disastrous encounter have transpired, as they take the utmost pains to conceal from the people the knowledge of everything likely to diminish the reputation of their own side. All letters confirm that the royal army exceeds 20,000 combatants, every day it receives reinforcements from the people of the country, it is paid in advance, and being provided by his Majesty with more horses he has been able to mount 2000 musketeers, for the purpose of marching with greater speed and at the same time to strengthen the companies of dragoons.
Upon the money coined at Sirosberi the king has had another motto imprinted instead of the usual inscription, to wit Exurgat Deus at dissipentur inimici ejus, and another in the middle Pro religione et parlamento, all in order to make it more and more patent to his people that his intentions are directed solely to the preservation of religion and the privileges of the country and remote from those ambitious designs which for their own purposes are put abroad by those who have been the authors of the plan to bring a prince of such blameless habits to a state so deplorable (et lontane da quei fini ambitiosi che per proprii interessi divulyano quelli che sono autori di condur Prencipe di costumi si innocenti a stato di tanto compatimento).
General the earl of Essex, for his part, still remains shut up in the city of Uster, and there is no information so far that he has any intention of issuing from the place. He has sent many couriers here with the most urgent demands for reinforcements of fresh troops and for the provision of lighter artillery as he finds it difficult to drag the heavy pieces about that country, which has suffered from the recent rains. He intimates that as it is impossible to hope for great results from the courage of his soldiers or to confide much in the loyalty of the captains and other officers, it has been desirable to proceed with caution in respect of engaging in any action with the royal troops (significa che non potendosi sperare prove di grande frutto dall' animosita de' soldati suoi non meno che dalla fede de capitani et altri offitiali, sia stato consiglio di procedere cautamente nell' impegnare al cimento quelle con le truppe reali). He asserts nevertheless that should his Majesty attack Coventry he would not neglect to succour the place and prevent any harm so far as he was able. Accordingly we live in hourly expectation of the news of some important collision, upon the issue of which depends the subsequent survival or the final ruin of one of the parties.
In consequence of the orders given Essex has sent to the king by a third person the petition of parliament ; but his Majesty refused to receive it because it was not accompanied with the forms becoming to obedient subjects.
Although the spirits of those who follow the party of the malcontents are smitten with well justified fear by these accounts, which up to the present look unfavourable, yet the parliamentarians who are most deeply committed, conscious that cowardice may render their personal peril more certain, put a bold face on the matter and neglect none of the offices which are likely to dispose the inhabitants of London and the others favourably towards the contributions and for the defence of this city on the preservation of which are founded the most substantial hopes of their safety and for the subsistence of the present government.
They have printed and published a fresh manifesto in which, after making use of the usual ideas designed to provoke destation against the present and past actions of the king and his ministers, they go on to predict the irreparable disaster which will overtake the people if the royal armies achieve success and finally prevail. They exhort the people to show alacrity in devoting their efforts and their fortunes to resist the violences of these times, to keep religion as well as their liberties freed from the tyranny of ambitious ministers and from the intrigues of the Catholics, with whom they try to impress the generality that his Majesty is conspiring, charging him in particular with having given them permission to take arms and to serve him.
In addition to the efforts reported they have decided to collect 10,000 more men and despatch them twenty miles outside London for the purpose of detaining the royal arms until such time as the troops of Essex can arrive, and then, with the two armies to surround that of his Majesty. This new corps d' armee will be formed out of the men of the trained bands of this city and of the surrounding country. The earl of Warwick will have the command. He has brought the ships of the fleet into the Downs and arrived here yesterday evening, being summoned in diligence by the parliament for this purpose. Those who possess a thorough knowledge of the character of the people and of their present disposition do not believe that it will be easy or a quick task to gather so many men, and even if it is done they do not consider them capable of offering any resistance to the king's forces, composed for the most part of nobles and substantial persons, driven by the instinct of self preservation to make this supreme effort to beat down the hostile forces (quelli che possedono la cognitione della qualita de popoli et dell' inclinatione presents non si persuadono facile ne presta l' unione di tanta gente, et quando segua meno reputano habile a far contrasto all' arme del Re, composte per la maggior parte de nobili et di persone bastante, obligato dalli stimoli della propria conservatione a tentare gl' ultimi esperimenti per opprimere le forze inimiche).
In this city the partisans of the royal cause are found to be ever more numerous and full of enthusiasm to serve his interests. On the other hand it is observed that many citizens are beginning to feel regret that they have committed themselves so far in favour of the parliament and a disinclination to expose themselves to fresh troubles. The captains of the trained bands have roundly refused to go outside London to oppose the king, so they have adopted the expedient of choosing by lot those who are to do so and then obliging them by vigorous commands to undertake the task. To the neighbouring counties they have sent the earl of Pembruch and other lords, with instructions to keep the people steadfast in their allegiance to this side and to collect as many troops as possible in order to increase the strength of the parliamentary forces in case of need.
To Windsor castle, which is 25 miles away, and whither it is believed the king contemplates going before making his attack on London, they have sent troops to prevent him getting possession of a place conveniently situated for harassing this city.
All the inhabitants suspected of leanings towards the king's service have been deprived of their arms, and also forced to make heavy payments. They threaten them with utter ruin if they do not promptly pay the sums demanded of them and if they do not promise on oath to cooperate sincerely for the interests of the parliamentarians.
The revenues of his Majesty, the bishops and the rest of the clergy are suspended and devoted to supporting the expenditure of this pressing occasion.
On the other hand the commissioners sent by parliament to the county of Cornwall to the government there, having considered more thoroughly the line of conduct they ought to pursue (esaminati meglio i debiti del proprio movimento) changed their opinions and of their own accord embraced his Majesty's side. They have brought back to complete loyalty to his Majesty this county which from its position and for other consequences may offer great advantages to his Majesty. 7000 men are gathered in that district and provided with arms they will be ready to resist any move on the part of those to try to upset the present decisions. In the county of York also, after the royalists had inflicted some fresh blows upon the parliamentary troops, they have compelled the leaders to withdraw into the fortress of Uls.
Another ship from Holland has cast anchor in the waters of Newcastle. It brings munitions and money sent by the queen to his Majesty, to whom it seems that Fortune is not so averse as in the past. Apart from some accident, to which wars are subject, and civil wars in particular, which might change the present aspect of affairs, it is permissible to hope that the Hydra of these tiresome and prolonged agitations will finally collapse at his feet, but there is nothing as yet on which it is possible to form a sound judgment of the end.
The commissioners of Scotland, who remain here attentively watching the progress of these events, appeared two days ago in parliament and offered their mediation to introduce to his Majesty some suitable overtures for an agreement. They replied to the office in general terms of appreciation, and although the interposition is not positively accepted, yet it appears that the opening offered to the parliamentarians for an accommodation will prove acceptable to them, from which one may gather that their spirits are not free from apprehension over the forces of his Majesty.
London, the 31st October, 1642.


  • 1. The agreement was denounced on the 4—14 October. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. II, page 794.
  • 2. The Swallow, Capt. Henry Stradling, and the Bonaventure, Capt. Kettleby, had declared for the king in August. Their surrender was announced to parliament on the 3rd October, o.s. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. II, pages 724, 791.
  • 3. On the 6th October, o.s., was reported the capture at Great Yarmouth of a ship sent by Jermyn with ammunition for the king. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. II, page 796.
  • 4. Edward and Philip.
  • 5. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. V, pages 316, 317.
  • 6. Walter Montagu. Letters of Henrietta Maria, page 137.
  • 7. According to the itinerary the king reached Wolverhampton from Bridgnorth on the 15—25 October, a Saturday. Gutch : Collectanea Curiosa, Vol. II, page 428.