Venice: January 1643

Pages 222-235

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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January 1643

1643. Jan. 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
204. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Protestants, with increasing assistance from their party, persist in their demands for peace, and so far the imprisonment of several leaders has not checked this. On several occasions in last week and this they have appeared in considerable numbers at the gates of parliament with their petitions to present. Although they have been put off under one pretext or another so far their impatience has not led them to go beyond threats and protests that they will show themselves stronger in the future.
Meanwhile the mayor and Council of the city have had time to present their petition, in which they certainly ask for peace, but only if a safe one can be had. They further ask parliament under no circumstances to grant the demands of the others, as being malignant and seditious people.
Encouraged by this support a few lords of the Upper House who are more in sympathy with the Lower than the others, have so altered the articles for the peace that the well intentioned ones scarcely venture to have them shown to the king, indeed some of them have protested. But a part of them was sent yesterday to the Lower House for consideration, the others still remaining under discussion and the benefit that many sincerely desire seems unlikely to ensue.
With the difficulties in collecting the new taxes they are now thinking of other means for finding money, with the intention of letting the burden fall on those who expressed a desire for a peace to the king's advantage. But such partiality and violence may give rise to a troublesome revolt in the city and possibly in the whole kingdom. Two openly hostile parties being now formed it will be difficult to arrange an adjustment between them without one or the other remaining predominant. For this reason they have suggested that before the new party becomes stronger they shall compel everybody to declare himself, allowing no neutrals. To uphold the credit of the parliamentary armies, encourage their followers and depress their opponents they had bonfires lighted and the bells rung in all the parishes of this city upon the news from Winchester two days ago of the capture of 500 Royalist horse under baron Grandison, who subsequently escaped, as if it was one of the greatest victories. (fn. 1)
The king on his part has not neglected to foment this new dissension as much as possible. Seizing the excellent opportunity of the tax he has published a long declaration pointing out the mischief of such an innovation, which shows the tyranny of the present government. It is easy to believe that interest will do more to attract the people here than has loyalty to their natural prince. In consequence of this he has also issued a proclamation that none of his people shall pay any tax or even the usual duties on foreign merchandise. Although this will not take effect yet it will cause trouble to the parliamentarians, because he threatens the executory commissioners with heavy punishment. As these have much property they now intimate that they no longer wish to have the direction of the customs, and if, from necessity these fall into the hands of needy persons, they will be collected with scanty advantage to the public.
Newcastle has issued a declaration in the county of York in which, to increase his following he states the reasons which induced him to enter there with his forces, pointing out the advantage to the people. He apologises at the same time for introducing some Catholics among his troops. He has done this in order to discredit a false letter from Holland, recently published here, stating that the queen had obtained a contribution from the Catholics inhabiting the United Provinces, for increasing and maintaining those armies, showing that it is in this way and not from a few miserable landings that all the succour from the Netherlands reaches the town of Newcastle.
To encourage this notion and discredit the explanations parliament has issued a paper stating that Catholics who take service in the king's armies, in any part of the realm, may be slain with impunity, and the commons are obliged to assist those who engage in this work.
Cumberland also has published some orders for the governance of the city of York, for the quiet and safety of good subjects of the king, if possible. Two days ago two ships reached the port of Newcastle from Amsterdam, bringing Colonel Gorin and several army officers, as well as a certain amount of money. We hear that he left suddenly because he feared the arrival of some order from the States to stop him.
Owing to the arrival of these supplies and to the fear of yet greater reinforcements from there or Denmark, besides granting permission to merchants to go privateering, which cannot be carried into effect very soon, they have given orders to the earl of Warwick to take a squadron of ships towards the North. He expresses his readiness to obey, but the season as well as the lack of money will hinder it being done.
The earl of Stanford with men of the country had approached Bristol, an important place on the sea, intending to take possession in the name of parliament. But the king forestalled him by sending a regiment which he hopes will keep the place dutiful to him. On the other hand Chichester, which declared for his Majesty and which offered to raise levies, is now besieged by the parliamentarians, and its loss is feared.
London, the 2nd January, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 7.
Senato, Seereta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
205. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The English parliament commissioner presented to the General Assembly a declaration from his principals of the 31st ult. with a remonstrance from parliament because they allowed soldiers, military provisions and officers to pass recently from this country to the royal camp to serve his Majesty, although they decided not to do so by a special decree. The parliament adds urgent requests not to permit this in the future and begs the States to admit the commissioner whenever he asks, so that he may represent the actual state of affairs and prevent abuses with all his might. After this the commissioner asked and obtained public audience of the Prince, two days ago, and preferred the same requests from his principals. When the queen heard this she complained bitterly, protesting that she would go away at once, now she saw admitted to the Prince a leading minister of the declared rebels against the Crown. The Prince's excuses could not appease her, nor the copy of the commissioner's office, sent to her express. So he had to send his own nephew, being prevented himself by the gout, promising that henceforward he will not receive the commissioner. Thus when the latter returned recently to the Prince for his answer, he was openly refused audience. They said they did this merely to please the queen.
The Hague, the 7th January, 1643.
Jan. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
206. To the Secretary in England.
The Ambassador Giustinian having now left the secretary is to follow the instructions left with him and the ambassador's example. He is to keep his eyes open and be particularly on the alert to see that no innovation or prejudice is introduced into the affair of the currants, which was put straight so successfully by the ambassador.
Before the ambassador left the Secretary of State recommended to him, with letters on behalf of the king, the interests of his subjects, friendly relations and favour towards Talbot, the English minister at Venice. The ambassador answered wisely assuring him of our willingness to gratify them upon every occasion. You will be able to give him ample testimony of this, showing that you have orders upon the aforesaid information of the ambassador and that the fullest tokens of good will will always be evident in the case of Talbot, as minister of his Majesty.
Ayes, 112. Noes, 0. Neutral, 4.
Jan. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
207. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
All sorts of persons unite in supporting the demand for peace, but although the petitions presented to parliament have been refused a hearing the Protestants have not yet committed any act of violence. To leave no moderate means of persuasion untried, the women are preparing to appear, in the hope that their sex may meet a more courteous hearing and a more pitiful heart, for repairing the ruin of this now wretched kingdom. But those who build their fortunes and safety on these same ruins care nothing, and believe that the fire, which they calculate will keep extending, will serve to keep them warm at the expense of others. But in order to keep their own party steadfast and to throw the blame for the disorders on the king, they have secretly arranged for the mayor to send two aldermen to Oxford, to assure his Majesty of the devotion of the city, beg him to come and promise him safety and every respect. (fn. 2) As these offers were not accepted by his Majesty when in the greatest dejection it is unlikely that he will attend to them in the greater vigour in which he now finds himself.
They propose to make use of this attack to burden the people, and they would like to push forward the tax of the twentieth. But the difficulties over the manner of collecting it are countless and have been much ventilated recently in parliament.
As the pay of the fleet is two months in arrear, and this admits of no delay, they have directed the mayor of the city to have ready to-day 100,000l. sterling, to be taken from the city's own exchequer, from the caisse of the apprentices. This will cause murmurs and increasing unpopularity as the money is usually spent for the benefit of the citizens.
Some of the articles of peace already sent to the Lower House have been discussed there. It would appear that their intention is not what the lords stated outside parliament, namely a sincere desire for this boon. It is believed, and appearances bear this out, that the only object of those who managed this affair was to obtain a strong provision of money for reinforcing the army, and when the spring comes to make a supreme effort against the king to force him to do their will. Whether this plan will succeed no one would venture to foretell, in the existing confusion and the changing incidents of every moment.
The king, possibly conscious of these designs, is also preparing for a vigorous resistance. He is expecting the marquis of Erford with reinforcements and has sent for the earl of Newcastle. That nobleman, leaving affairs in good order in Yorkshire and the earl of Cumberland with 6000 infantry to guard it, has passed into Lincolnshire to reduce the rebels there to obedience to their prince. He will try to obtain great help there for his army, which consists of 10,000 good combatants. A courier reached parliament on Wednesday with this news which has led to discussions about preventing the junction, but it will not be easy to achieve this.
Sir [Edward] Binton, lieutenant of the earl of Pembroke, (fn. 3). has arrived here from the county of Wilts. He has offered parliament to levy 1000 horse and 1000 dragoons in that county, and undertakes with these and 1000 more, who are ready, to keep the people there quiet. He asks no money for this levy or for the maintenance of all those troops, but only permission to make use of the revenues of Catholics, ecclesiastics and royalists who hold property there. Although he has not yet received permission, parliament does not seem reluctant. But if this is permitted it will be done in other counties and will mean the utter destruction of the realm since the property of anyone will remain a prey to the greed of any mere commander under one of these pretexts.
2000 men of the parliament, comprising trained bands and paid troops, started from Northamptonshire and with the assistance of the inhabitants have captured Banbury, only 14 miles from Oxford, and which had a royal garrison. But when his Majesty sent prince Rupert thither with 2000 dragoons, the usurpers had not the courage to wait for him, and so the place is again held by the royal forces.
After besieging Chichester for some days the parliamentarians attempted to storm the place, but they achieved nothing but the burning of buildings in the suburbs to the value of 50,000 crowns. It is thought that having lost hope of taking the place they may give up the attempt.
Three ships with wine and other goods from Malaga have arrived at the port of Falmouth, which have been seized by Sir [Ralph] Otton, who commands there for the king. On the news reaching the Court orders were sent to him to have the goods unladed and restored to the owners, unless they were rebels, when they would be confiscated. His Majesty claims the right to use the ships for the transport of munitions.
Some months ago there arrived from the island of San Domingo an English ship with a cargo worth more than 100,000l. sterling, between pieces of eight and cochineal, all belonging to some Spanish merchants who were on board. (fn. 4) The Spanish ambassador being advised, or what is more likely on the mere supposition, that this capital had been rescued from the ships of the fleet that were wrecked, had it seized, which was promptly conceded to him, and parliament lost no time in availing itself of the ready money. A dispute about the cochineal was going on between the ambassador and the merchants, when parliament, being in the straits for money reported, decided to sell this also, to restore the money afterwards to the rightful claimant. The ambassador went personally to see the parliamentary commissioners and objected strongly, protesting that English capital in Spain would be sequestrated. Seeing that his representations produced no effect he demanded passports, to send his secretary to the king. It was refused, and so he has decided to go himself and take all risks. He hopes that if the king forbids the purchase by proclamation, he will be obeyed, but the present state of affairs gives no assurance of this.
London, the 9th January, 1643.
Jan. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
208. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The despatch of an ambassador to England was mooted these last days, to negotiate, with the interposition of his Majesty, the composition of the disturbances there, but they are waiting, before taking definite action, until there seems to be better hope of success.
Paris, the 13th January, 1643.
Jan. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
209. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Joachimi, recently Dutch Ambassador in England, arrived thence recently. He saw the Prince and then appeared in the General Assembly. Asked repeatedly about the state of affairs there he said he did not know ; he had been kept a long way from London, deprived of ordinary correspondence, so that he might not meddle in those differences. Asked further whether matters had reached the stage when the embassy extraordinary might be wanted to arrange a settlement, he said he was not wise enough to advise it, and that he left it to the Assembly. His answer did not please them and some reproached him for carelessness and too great partiality to those who side with the queen, without considering the consequences.
The queen of England always keeps her departure on foot, although there is little sign of her carrying it into effect. She says she is waiting news of the king, and will then go without further delay. The States desire this exceedingly, not so much to be rid of her importunity, as from the danger of doing something to offend parliament. They have recalled their Vice Admiral and have sent him to assure her Majesty that the ships shall be ready to take her across to Newcastle at her slightest sign.
The Hague, the 14th January, 1643.
Jan. 16.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
210. To the Secretary at the Hague.
You spoke well to the Princess Palatine and you may well repeat the office in the name of the state, expressing at the same time our great esteem for her sons and her house, and that when they are in Venice and desire to be admitted in the Collegio, they will be received with every token of regard and honour, as is their due.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
211. To the Secretary in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 26th December and enclose the usual sheet of advices for information.
Ayes, 120, Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
Jan. 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
212. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Among many of the inhabitants of London zeal for their pretended liberty is giving way before the growing discomforts which they experience, from the cessation of their gains, from the obligation to be constantly paying taxes and from the danger to their houses and lives, exposed to the greed of soldiers as well as to public and private calumny. Thus in addition to the numerous petitions to parliament for a speedy settlement this week the very apprentices have appeared, to the number of 2000, who in the past were among the most seditious in the country. Although they were not admitted to audience like the rest, yet they caused greater alarm, parliament strengthening the guards with two companies of horse and having spent the whole of the late sittings in discussing the articles of peace. But little or nothing has been decided as yet, for the most seditious, seeing therein their irretrievable ruin, have succeeded in referring the discussion of the more arduous points to commissioners to avoid the full house, where many are betraying a leaning towards this boon, and they hope by false announcements of the aims of the king and other inventions to destroy the whole thing in the course of time. This happened with the project of an armistice, which was the first, and with many others also. Meanwhile they point to the necessity of waiting for the aldermen who went to Oxford to learn the king's intentions and if possible to throw the blame upon him.
To revive the zeal of the Puritans for their faith, they have drawn up and read once in parliament a paper in the form of a law, entirely removing the order of bishops from the Anglican Church, and depriving even the living of their revenues, to employ them all for these emergencies. This will be, in any case, a long and difficult thing to carry through, and it will be of little use for present needs.
They are devoting their attention to altering the oath of fealty, in order to convict all the Catholics and lay hands on their goods. To the end that our theologians shall not have a chance of accepting it, as some of them did that established by the late king James, they want to draw up one directly opposite to the profession of faith according to the Council of Trent. But as all these expedients are uncertain and lengthy and by no means adequate to the instant need of money, they have considered other means, but finding a paucity of these, as is usual in this difficult matter, they are trying to put into operation the levying of the twentieth. To this end they have sent orders to various leading merchants, suspected as royalists, to provide considerable sums without previous estimation of their capital, but merely upon common report. They seem indisposed to pay, and so far force has not been employed against them, which is perhaps wise in the present state of affairs.
Despite these difficulties they are constantly beating the drum, and are making every effort to strengthen the army with the designs that I reported, feeling confident that greater penury and disorder must prevail in the royal forces than in their own. Already in the neighbourhood of Oxford complaints have been heard about the insupportable burdens laid by the soldiers on the peasants, although his Majesty has taken some steps to remedy this. But there has been greater commotion among the people of Durham and Newcastle since the earl's departure, owing to a contribution laid upon coal, which they furnish to the whole kingdom and to this city in particular, where the ships are stayed which went for that commodity, in order to increase the trouble by incommoding those people, who gain their livelihood by nothing else.
Six commissioners have arrived here from Scotland on their way to France. The pretext is the re-establishment of the privileges of the regiments of their nation, who form the guard of the Most Christian, neglected in the time of the late Cardinal Richelieu, but all are not satisfied that this is the true and only motive for so suspicious a mission. I will keep my eye on it. They report that numerous other commissioners to come here were all ready and would start very soon. The news is not unwelcome because of the hope of obtaining assistance from that quarter for the realisation of their plans. But the old debts unpaid, and the present poverty may not incline that people to lend a ready ear to their persuasion, grown greedy as they are of English money.
Persisting obstinately in their attacks the parliamentarians have at length captured the city of Chichester, (fn. 5) where they found a certain quantity of plate deposited there by the Catholics and others of the neighbourhood. With pompous ostentation the whole has been brought here and the capture celebrated by the ringing of bells.
On the other hand the marquis of Erford with 3000 infantry has reached Oxford and the earl of Newcastle also is successfully pursuing his way thither. It is estimated that very soon an army of about 25,000 combatants will be gathered at that city, almost double the strength of the parliament's in quality and quantity alike.
The earl of Leicester, who was long ago appointed and sent by parliament to the Viceroyalty of Ireland, seeing those affairs abandoned, has been staying, under the pretext of indisposition, at Westchiester a port very suitable for crossing from this kingdom to that. He now writes from there that his Majesty calls him and he cannot choose but obey. This news has greatly incensed parliament and they have sent a message to the king that if he does not permit the earl to go, they will choose some one else, as they have no confidence in the earl of Desmon, whom he has selected. (fn. 6) No reply having come the decision remains unknown. What is certain is that all the soldiers are deserting from that kingdom, for lack of pay and the means of subsistence, the rebels being masters of the country and of the greater part of the lands.
The merchants here, not to leave their ships idle in the cessation of trade, go about seeking all sorts of employment. They have asked permission of parliament to send to plant colonies in Madagascar. This has been granted. They will have no difficulty in finding men, since it is now impossible for the poor to live in this kingdom.
London, the 16th January, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
213. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen keeps alive her proposed departure for England. She has already sent her coaches to be embarked, and says that nothing but the wind can stop her after next Tuesday. She has received letters from the king by express which greatly stimulate her going, but the conflicting news from that quarter makes full credence difficult.
On Saturday the 18th inst. the Ambassador Giustinian arrived safely in these waters, after a stormy passage. He landed at Brill and stayed there until I had arranged for his entry. This took place yesterday at Rotterdam. His public entry here followed, with the usual demonstrations.
The Hague, the 21st January, 1643.
Jan. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
214. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The aldermen have returned who went to ask the king to return to London. In Oxford, from their entry to the royal quarters, they were followed by shouts of the people casting contempt on their embassy. His Majesty received them with temperate indignation and allowed them guards to protect them against possible outrage. They only reported that a gentleman would follow with the answer, as he did. The king declares that he has not changed his feelings towards the city but only against some desperate individuals, who employing people of the suburbs (servitesi di gente suburbane), have tried to take his life and destroy his posterity. He excuses himself for not coming while the laws are in confusion, the government subjected to the arbitrary power of a few individuals and arms taken up without his consent. He is ready to concur with the advice of his parliament for public affairs even at a distance. Except the mayor and three other leading men, he offers pardon to all the citizens who have disobeyed his orders. But he forbids them in future to take up arms, contribute plate, money or even pay the customs. He protests, in addition to the penalties provided by the laws, that he will advise his ministers with foreign princes so that transgressors shall not be recognised or enjoy privileges like his own subjects.
His Majesty directs that this reply shall be publicly read ; but the mayor and others who are excepted in the pardon have not agreed to this without the consent of parliament, which has not yet conceded it on the pretext that two of its members are numbered among the four. Yet it has been printed and is known to everybody, though all do not like it. The gentleman who brought it (fn. 7) told me in the depeest confidence that the king will not yield a jot of his authority and privileges. That he hopes in March next to have 40,000 soldiers about him, whom he proposes to divide into two armies, and closing the river above and below, to scour the country with his cavalry, reducing London to extremity for food and thus force the people to revolt against the present government.
Meanwhile to the same end a book come from Oxford has been circulated entitled "Complaints of the Citizens of London," which exposes the deceits and arbitrariness of the parliament. Although they have had it publicly burned yet it has been generally read and approved by the unprejudiced. (fn. 8) By the contents of the king's paper and the reluctance shown by the Lower House hopes of peace have been diminished and practically destroyed in everybody. Yet the desire persists and even grows. Besides the inhabitants of London reported it has spread to the surrounding country, the county of Essex having sent six deputies here and six to the king to petition him. They do not on this account relax their efforts to raise money, and the task of collecting the twentieth is now entrusted to the four declared contumacious by the king, but results are not expected. They are trying other ways to induce those to offer who have not yet done so and to beg for fresh and more liberal payments from those who have. But even so they do not expect to get enough to relieve their present state. Abandoning themselves to despair they have accepted the offer of Sir [Edward] Obinton (fn. 9) for levying and maintaining 3000 horse in the county of Wilts out of the goods of the Catholics, bishops and royalists there, and lord Bruch is actually setting out for Warwick to-day with the like permission, which undoubtedly promises the total ruin of the kingdom very quickly.
The commissioners of customs, after his Majesty's prohibition of their collection repeated in his last paper, having a great deal to lose, have thrown up their charge, which is now exercised by three persons appointed by parliament, of little fortune and less skill, so in this direction disorder will increase and the profits will be dissipated.
The royal forces have attempted two enterprises these last days, but with little success. In the first, Sir [Ralph] Otton with the force he commands, approached the city of Exeter, an important trading town, but meeting with a vigorous resistance from the inhabitants he has withdrawn to Cornwall again. The other was at Sister in Gloucestershire, where the marquis of Erford with Prince Rupert after besieging the place for three days were obliged to abandon it, with some loss.
Notwithstanding all this the approach of the earl of Newcastle to the royal army causes great apprehension. To prevent the junction they are sending strong reinforcements to Lincolnshire, but he is strong enough and does not fear any encounter.
The deputy of parliament to the States writes that he has had audience of the Prince of Orange, who received him graciously and received the paper which he had already presented to the States, in justification of their proceedings here. This success is not only gratifying in itself but affords them hope that it may excite suspicion between the Prince and the Queen. It is constantly stated that she will be arriving at Newcastle at an early date, as her hopes of being received in France are not improved by the death of Cardinal Richelieu.
After having been arrested three times on the road by the parliamentary troops, and his coaches, gentlemen and himself as well thoroughly searched, the Spanish ambassador has returned from Oxford. He obtained from the king everything that he asked, as his Majesty issued a strong proclamation forbidding any of his subjects to purchase cochineal, and permitting even the seizure in Spain of the goods of those who disobey. But it is all in vain as on his arrival the ambassador found that the merchants having agreed with parliament to give them 20,000l. sterling besides the money found on the ship, had carried off the goods, from which they hope to recoup their losses, as the value has greatly appreciated in a short time.
London, the 23rd January, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
215. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Knowing the importance of the trade in currants between the islands of Zante and Cephalonia and this kingdom, I do not lose sight of the matter, and while awaiting the orders of the Senate I will report what is happening. Since the decree of parliament prohibiting the importation of the fruit here, which has been duly enforced although not accepted or approved by the king, no ships have arrived with even the smallest quantity until just recently, when the ship Northumberland has come into the Downs. She left Venice with a part cargo of rice and filled up with silk at Leghorn and Messina. Touching at Zante she took away 160 thousand of currants to the account of Andrew Ricardo, an Englishman. He has tried to obtain permission to discharge them, but has not yet succeeded.
Another ship named the William George is expected, laded at Cephalonia with 700 thousand to the account of John Langam, one of the two sheriffs of the city, and of Sir Thomas Somons, member of parliament. These very influential persons are trying to obtain permission in advance, which they hope to get, although they have not succeeded so far. The Consul Ider in the Morea is also trying to introduce some from there, although they also are prohibited. He wrote some months ago to the Levant Company here urging them to obtain permission for the importation of these, using as his chief argument the disposal of their cloth, and threatening that without the exportation of the goods of the country the Turk will not allow the importation of cloth. I am assured that out of consideration for this letter, on the 5th December last year, the Levant Company presented a petition to the commissioners of parliament upon trade. (fn. 10) But the permission has certainly not been granted and in the mean time the Company has resolved that in February next, when they meet for the distribution of appointments, they will choose a new consul in the Morea in the place of this Ider. There are four candidates of whom the one most in favour is John Obson, (fn. 11)
London, the 23rd January, 1643.
Jan. 24.
Esecutori contra. Bestemmia Reg. Sentenze 30. Venetian Archives.
216. Sentence of Carlo Contarini and Francesco Corner, Esecutori contro la Biastemma, and Andrea Dolfin, Head of the Council of Ten, against Walter Lupo, an Englishman, arrested for staying in his house without a bulletin and for staying a long time in this city without a licence, of 2 ducats to be paid to those who gave information, and that he be brought before the Magistracy and severely admonished that he must not live any more in foreign houses without the bulletin and to bind him to come in future to receive the licence.
Jan. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
217. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Montagu has returned, who was sent to France by the queen of England. He reports a good disposition towards her but not what she expected from that quarter. Her Majesty proposes to leave for Newcastle to-morrow, and everything goes to show that this is definite. Eight warships are waiting at Schevelino to receive her and everything else has been arranged to render her departure comfortable and splendid. Their High Mightinesses, who have borne her long stay here with extreme impatience, look upon her departure as a promise of greater prosperity. The queen will take with her a small number of officers, some quantity of musket powder, and arms for 6000 soldiers. It is announced that the king, her brother, has provided this number. The government have made her a present of 60,000 florins and it is thought that at this final opportunity the Prince will make a supreme effort to prove the zeal he professes for the royal cause.
Two days after his reception the Ambassador Giustinian had public audience in the General Assembly. The Prince and all the Court evince their esteem for your Excellencies.
The Hague, the 28th January, 1643.
Jan. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
218. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
To satisfy the people parliament has at last consented to the public reading of the king's reply to the request of the Aldermen, but on condition that twelve commissioners of parliament shall be present. Accordingly after reinforcing the guards at the city gates, stationing a body of troops at the entrance to the great hall and assembling all the chiefs of the guilds, they had it read to the same gentleman who brought it. After this one of the commissioners in a long and seditious harangue refuted the points contained in it and went on to state that the four declared criminal were guilty of nothing but having served their country well and therefore everyone was bound to protect them with their goods and life itself. The speech was approved by a majority of votes and applauded at its conclusion. Two persons, however, displayed a desire to oppose it and were immediately committed to prison.
The Lords in the Upper House perceiving clearly from this experience that the people has already assumed the absolute despotic command, and fearing that whereas they now make their orders valid though lacking the chief part, viz, the king's assent, they may proceed to take little account of that of the Upper House, have reinforced that House by summoning their friends and relations to resist such a design, if possible. But everyone fears that the delay will cause them grave prejudice. The Lower House made use of this reply of the king to create a false impression among the generality that his Majesty is concealing pernicious designs and not seeking peace or the benefit of his subjects. Accordingly they no longer thought of peace proposals but only for the most vigorous prosecution of the war. When the Upper House pressed strongly for some resolution upon the articles sent for their consideration the Commons sent them back so altered that they had lost their original shape. One relating to the concerns of foreign princes is added, to bind the king to a correspondence with the foreign Protestants, and especially the Dutch, so as to be powerful for defence against the enemies of the religion and to reinstate the Palatine.
But while these matters are being discussed in the Upper House reports come from the city that neither the Mayor nor Council will approve of sending any proposal. To encourage this view among the members of parliament they express the intention of collecting the twentieth. But fearing some opposition they have increased the garrison in the Tower and ask for 2000 paid troops to reinforce the guards of the city itself. This has caused no little jealousy among the citizens who declare that they are capable of defending themselves.
In order to keep concealed from the other side the revolutions which are feared for this cause and to cut off also the commodities which the Court receives daily from this city, they have forbidden not only the carts and ordinary messenger from going to Oxford but all manner of persons and letters, without a passport voted in the two Houses of parliament and approved by the General Essex. This very morning they have arrested the two agents of the secretary of state for infringing this, having intercepted his letters in cipher.
With the same object of distressing the royal army as well they have forbidden the carriage of coal, grain and salt from Newcastle, in the hope that the people of that town, with the loss of this trade, which is very great, will not pay contributions to the king, and may even decide to expel his garrison. But here they experience the discomfort in advance since this very coal has mounted to intolerable prices and gives a foretaste of the scarcity which seems to be inevitable next spring in this city and in the whole kingdom as well.
In many counties dissensions are breaking out between the parliamentary leaders, possibly due to greed on both sides. It has happened in Wilts between Obinton and Ongrefort ; in York between Fairfax and Otton. The former writes here that General Chin has arrived at Newcastle, who was expecting forces from Holland, to join the earl of Newcastle. Fairfax proposed to go against him, but being short of arms he had not been able to get them from Uls from Otton, for whom he receives orders, to have them sent to him. For this reason the earl of Newcastle is tarrying with his army in Lincolnshire, intending to avail himself of such reinforcements, so that he may join the king later in greater strength. We hear that assistance in men and plate is constantly reaching the king from many parts of the kingdom. He has set up one mint at Shrewsbury and proposes to establish another at Oxford for coining this silver. Parliament has received advices from Portsmouth that five ships with arms and munitions are ready to cross to the king's assistance. This news with other reports without foundation and less credible, that in France some regiments of that nation are being levied for the same purpose, have induced them to send strong orders to the earl of Warwick, the Vice Admiral, to put to sea as soon as possible to prevent the passage of any ships, as they also fear some from Denmark.
General the earl of Essex sent two regiments to attack Reading, with the intention to force his way through to Oxford ; but the royal garrison came out and forced him to retire with considerable loss and the capture of one of his colonels.
Although the Capuchins were allowed to stay here for a few months at the instance of the French ambassador, there is no longer any talk of sending them back, though the time has expired, as the Most Christian has written a letter to the earl of Holland in which he informs him very firmly that it is his wish that they shall continue to exercise their functions as heretofore.
London, the 30th January, 1643.


  • 1. Taken by Waller on the 15—25 December.
  • 2. Alderman Sir George Clarke and Sir George Garret ; they went to Oxford with four Common Council men. Rushworth : Hist. Collections Part III, Vol. II, page 113.
  • 3. Sir Edward Baynton of Bromham. See Clarendon : Hist. of the Rebellion Vol. III, page 102.
  • 4. The Sancta Clara, seized by parliament in August, 1642. See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641—3, page 435.
  • 5. Recovered by Waller on the 6th January.
  • 6. It should be the earl of Ormond, though he was not appointed until some months later.
  • 7. Herne.
  • 8. "A Complaint to the House of Commons" etc. published by J. Wright. It was condemned on the 2-12 January and ordered to be burned by the common hangman. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. II, pages 910, 911.
  • 9. Sir Edward Baynton of Bromham.
  • 10. See Minute of the Levant Co. of 7th January, 1642, O.S. It was resolved that the petition should be, not for the importation of the last year's growth of the Morea currants, but for those of 1643. S.P. For. Archives, Vol. 150.
  • 11. The four candidates were John Hobson, Giles Ball, Toby Watkyn, and Thomas Brensford ; at the Court held on the 2nd February, Giles Ball was chosen. S.P. For. Archives, Vol. 150.