Venice: February 1643

Pages 235-247

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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February 1643

Feb. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
219. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last week having been spent in discussions and disputes between the two houses, the articles of peace to send to the king are settled. The Upper House has been able to make little or no change in the alterations introduced in the Lower, the authority of the latter prevailing over the sincere intentions of the former. I hope to have a copy even before the articles are sent to the king, and if so I will forward it with my next, so that your Serenity may see the exorbitance of their demands. Meanwhile as concerns foreign powers, they want to oblige the king to make an alliance with the Dutch and other Protestants for the restitution of the Palatinate and against the House of Austria, the pope and his adherents. The Upper House thought it advisable to delete the word adherents pointing out that it might offend all Catholic princes, but so far the Lower has not agreed to this. To render a favourable conclusion more difficult and to cut off all negotiations they want to force his Majesty to give a definite reply in ten days. Sir Chilegre was ready to-day to proceed to Oxford to ask passports for two of the Lords and four of the Commons, who are to take these proposals. But hearing that the commissioners of Scotland are going in that direction he has postponed his start for two days in order to meet them and receive from their offices, or more correctly from their protests, some advantage for his own negotiations.
It is understood that these Scots have already announced themselves by an improper petition to his Majesty. It asks him to come to an agreement with the parliament of England and to expel the Catholics from his armies. It asks permission to convoke their parliament before the time prescribed by the agreements. It also points out that all the disorders in England arise from the queen's favour towards the Catholic religion and wants to persuade the king to induce her to change it.
His Majesty not being entirely satisfied with the manner in which his recent reply was made public, has sent to the two sheriffs of London ordering them to do it again without guards, in the presence of the apprentices and all the people, and also to imprison the mayor. The sheriffs applied to parliament for its pleasure and received orders not to obey. At all events the news itself excites discontent among the lesser folk, who now claim to be the greater, and encourages divisions, which form the true steps of the ladder of glory for the royal authority.
Believing that the queen might be arriving at Newcastle, as she had given him to expect by her letters long since, the king selected the earl of Newport, baron Savil and Sir [Thomas] Gord and sent them with every token of confidence, to be present at her landing, hoping to benefit by the following of these individuals, especially of Savil in Yorkshire. The earl of Newcastle, who is still in Lincolnshire but keeps some portion of his army in York, has intercepted a letter from them to some of the parliament offering to hand over the city of York as well as the queen, as a prisoner. He at once sent orders for their arrest, and two are taken, but Newport escaped. Newcastle informed the king of all, sending his prisoners to the neighbouring prison of Niuarch. Owing to this and to suspicions of the Scots it is thought that the earl will not unite with the king's army very soon, especially as he has been declared by his Majesty his general beyond the river Trent.
The remonstrances of the English, who considered their nation slighted by having a Scot in command of the royal armies have obliged his Majesty to appoint the marquis of Erfort general. He enjoys the advantage of kinship with his Majesty, but he has not the experience of the other in war and his appointment does not please Prince Rupert.
We hear of no approaching general movement of this army. A few troops have sallied out and captured a number of carts with corn, which were going to Windsor for the parliament soldiers.
A remarkable fight has occurred in Cornwall. Sir [Ralph] Otton was confined with his force at Saltase and in danger of falling into the hands of the parliamentarians, when he seized the opportunity of a military advantage and succeeded in delivering himself, routing the aggressors and capturing cannon and baggage. (fn. 1)
Essex, general of the land army, and Warwick, the Vice Admiral, have sent an account of the debts owed by parliament, which, including the hire of the ships, exceeds 400,000l. sterling, an amount difficult to collect at any time but impossible under present conditions. They do not, on this account, in any way relax their severity in collecting the twentieth in the city, indeed it is intensified, no respect being shown to persons of any sort, who object. Some of the aldermen and several of the wealthy merchants are in prison, besides countless others of mediocre station. As the ordinary places do not suffice for them they have taken several of the larger houses and filled them. It is intended to remove them to a distance from the city to make sure that they do not plot some dangerous revolution in concert with the royalists.
They are preparing to send commissioners of parliament to the counties also for the same collection, but they will only do so by armed force and where the party has the upper hand. They are demanding advances from the new Customers and have tried to levy 2000l. from the farmers of the saltpetre mines, which are due to the king, and when they refused their houses were sacked. In short no means of obtaining money is abandoned, whether lawful or not ; but in the end it will not meet their requirements and in any case it will always give rise to greater disorders.
The king's army, although much more numerous than the parliamentary, is understood to be quite content and satisfied, the devotion of good subjects appearing ever greater amid the advantages which accumulate for his Majesty.
Although the severity about going to Oxford is maintained, in accordance with the late decree, yet the daughter of the earl of Leicester has obtained a passport, her sex being less open to suspicion. But the officials who met her on the way, having carefully searched her, found a catalogue with the names of all his Majesty's partisans in London. She was able to escape arrest herself with the excuse that it was put in her baggage by the servants without her knowledge, but the king could not escape the mischief done, which is considerable.
The father of this lady has at last decided to submit to the king, putting away the appointment of Viceroy of Ireland given him by parliament. He was welcomed although the ill turn of affairs there may have done more to decide him than any feelings of loyalty.
Letters have arrived here from Dublin, almost the only place left in the hands of the Protestants. The magistrate writes that with the departure of General Lesle and the 10,000 Scots he brought, that city will be forced to surrender to the rebels unless prompt succour arrives. They call them rebels although they are not really so, as your Excellencies shall hear. Upon this news the king immediately sent a specious offer here, which should remove the imputation that he has an understanding with the Catholics of that kingdom. He proposes to send 10,000 combatants to that island at his own cost if parliament will do the same. No notice has been taken of this since it is well known that his Majesty's aim is to deprive them here of all their forces, while he would remain strong enough to reduce them.
Some weeks ago the parliament in that island was opened in the town of Kinsale, in which, according to the ancient use, the Catholic bishops took their place. Many very proper decisions were reached and the chief was to recognise as their legitimate king and lord King Charles I, and all his successors. Religion to be restored as in the time of Richard III, the Protestants being excluded from the government. They renounce the English laws in favour of the ancient ones of the kingdom, but keeping the Magna Carta of the same Richard. They admit to naturalisation all Catholics, English, Scottish and foreign as well, and they will endow them with landed property.
London, the 5th February, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
220. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Shortly before her departure the queen of England hinted to the Prince of Orange something about a truce with Spain, with great circumspection, but without result. I have informed the Ambassador Giustinian. I need only add that I paid my respects to her Majesty at her departure ; the office pleased her and she expressed her warm friendship.
The Hague, the 5th February, 1643.
Feb. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
221. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
There lie all ready in Dunkirk 22 ships of war and a certain number of sloops to take on board 2000 Walloon soldiers and transport them direct to Spain. There are rumours that under this pretext Melo proposes to send assistance to the insurgents in Ireland, but this rumour meets with no credit among people of good sense.
The queen of England, after eight days tossing at sea in a furious storm has been compelled to return to these waters and anchor at Schevelino. She landed there on the 7th inst. and returned to the Hague, in poor health. They no longer talk definitely of her departure, although some assert that she will proceed to France very shortly. She has lost 18 persons and 28 horses, but the ship with the money and military provisions came off safe. They have no news of three others, but there is of a detestable plot against her by the earl of Newport and another leader of the royal party, who, while ostensibly securing her passage from Newcastle to Oxford, meant to put her in the power of parliament, in order to compel the king to make an ignominious peace with the rebels. Such is the news which reached her Majesty the day before yesterday, by express, with the arrest of some leaders of the conspiracy and the defeat of a portion of the troops of the other side in Cornwall, pursued by the royal forces under Rafael Opton. I give you this news in the very words that the queen communicated it to the Ambassador Giustinian.
The Hague, the 11th February, 1643.
Feb. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
222. To the Secretary in England.
Acknowledge the receipt of his letters of the 9th and the 16th ult. He will have many occasions to observe and comport himself with prudence amid the troubled occurrences of those parts. The enclosed sheet of advices will supply him with information.
Ayes, 104. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
Feb. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
223. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Sir [Peter] Chiligre went to Oxford for the passports and returned with the assurance that the king would send them at once by his gentlemen, as he did, together with a letter of the secretary of state to the President of the Upper House, expressing his Majesty's desire and willingness to co-operate for a good peace. So the commissioners of parliament set out the day before yesterday with the articles. They have forbidden the secretaries to supply copies, under severe penalties, possibly in order to deceive the people on their return with a false formula. They also take three very hard laws for his Majesty's assent. The first excludes the bishops and all other dignities from the Anglican Church. The second alters the oath to be given to Catholics, involving the forfeiture of a great part of the goods of recusants and the removal of their children to be brought up in the Protestant faith. The third cashiers the scandalous ministers of their religion, of whom there have been many who have acquired the title by supporting the royalist party.
The return of these gentlemen is eagerly awaited to learn his Majesty's reply. Many believe that he will not absolutely reject the proposals, but may refer a modification of them to commissioners to escape the blame of rejecting this general boon. Here they are doing their utmost to throw the responsibility upon him in order to alienate the citizens from him, who daily become more resigned, through weariness of the oppression under which they suffer and from a recognition of their duty.
Meanwhile the three commissioners from Scotland (fn. 2) were to reach Oxford yesterday. Parliament looks for great advantages from their offices. They announce that the Council of Scotland, influenced by the wishes of the people, has practically decided to move in favour of their party here.
With the same object of alienating from the king those who hope for rewards parliament has published a letter which it pretends to have intercepted, in which his Majesty writes to the queen in Holland not to make any appointments until she has joined him, by which time he hopes things will be settled as he desires, declared clearly in this same letter. If it were accepted as genuine it would offend many of his most devoted servants who are thereby deprived of the offices they now hold.
It is feared that some mishap has overtaken the queen at sea, as news of her leaving Holland arrived several days ago and there is no good reason for supposing that she has reached Newcastle yet. The king is looking for her with tender affection, but her coming is not pleasing to his Majesty's good and loyal servants as she may by her influence do considerable mischief in the successful conduct of affairs, which are now in the hands of interested and prudent men.
Despite the conspiracy reported and the arrest of Savil and Gord and the escape of the earl of Newport to Wilts, she will reach Newcastle at an unhappy moment, as the troops of Newcastle in Yorkshire have been soundly beaten by Fairfax, the parliamentary commander, with the capture of two places, though of ignoble quality. (fn. 3) The regiments of Savil and Gord helped towards this disaster, as to avenge the imprisonment of their leaders they went over to Fairfax.
Prince Rupert entering Northamptonshire with a part of the cavalry has captured some places which open the way to the chief town, though he has not yet ventured to attack it. It is a rich storehouse of the most precious moveables of the county, but very strong and well guarded.
These last days, possibly as a stratagem, the governor of Reading wrote to the king representing the bad state of the place and the impossibility of holding it against any attack. This letter, intercepted by the earl of Essex, gave him a motive for carrying into effect the orders which he received long ago from parliament, to attack the place. But when his troops got there they found the defenders more courageous with the sword than with the pen, and were obliged to retire with considerable loss. The general has asked for an exchange of prisoners, but the king has not yet agreed, not wishing to treat on an equality.
With continued severity in exacting money a fresh batch of prisoners of those refusing to pay the twentieth has been made, the old ones being distributed in various parts of the kingdom and some even sent to the islands of Giarnese.
The earl of Stanford who commands for the parliament in Cornwall, where he has shown excessive cruelty, reports that he has so many prisoners that he cannot guard them safely, and he therefore thinks it would be proper to send them by ship to Barbary, to give in exchange for the slaves there, who coming back and being under an obligation for this, might profitably serve parliament in the present emergency. The idea has not found general acceptance and even the author does not commend it.
London, the 13th February, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
224. To the Secretary in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 23rd ult. As regards the currants he will be guided by the example of the Ambassador Giustinian. He cannot go wrong over the establishment of the free admission of that fruit into the kingdom from the Venetian islands, with the exclusion of those of the Morea, which are so different and of inferior quality, as information and experience have already shown. He will perform his offices subsequently in conformity with the need, and keep on the alert to prevent anything prejudicial. Enclose the usual sheet of advices.
Ayes, 145. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
Feb. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Rettori. Venetian Archives.
225. To the Proveditore of Cephalonia.
To avoid committing himself in the matter of the merchant Hider, preventing, so far as possible, any mischief that he may try to do. The proclamation for the uprooting of currant plantations must be strictly enforced.
Ayes, 148. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
Feb. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
226. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The States gave the queen of England a present of 50,000 florins, though drawn from capital to that address. And now, since her return to the Hague they maintain her Court with the remainder of that money, although the disbursements are made by the master of the Prince's household, under his name, to make the people believe that her Majesty's fresh stay is no charge to the country, and the grumbling of the disaffected dies away.
The queen of England revives her project of leaving for that kingdom, but the wind is not favourable, and without this she will not embark, in order not to expose herself to perdition again.
A report circulated of the death of the king of Denmark, but no confirmation arrived subsequently. They say he had ready a fleet and 4000 well armed men to send to England to help his nephew.
The Hague, the 19th February, 1643.
Feb. 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
227. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The commissioners of parliament who went to the king about peace have returned from Oxford. His Majesty received them with the greatest outward courtesy and gave them this answer orally :
I am constrained to tell you that those who send you back with these proposals, although outwardly they seem for peace have nothing further from their hearts and indeed have drawn these up to embitter matters. My actions show that I have always sincerely tried for it, and no insults or provocation will make me neglect it. No one has more cause to regret the disturbance and blood of the people than myself who am their father. I will gather all the honey possible from so much gall, but I confess I am surprised at such extravagances, because although I have seen some of their proposals before, they were not such as these. However, I will give you a more ample reply in writing.
I enclose a copy of this with mention of parliament's proposals. These are unaltered as they were sent me by a confidant at Court who took them from the original and gave me the above particulars of the king's speech.
The graciousness with which the king has artfully cultivated individually the commissioners of the Upper House has encouraged their hopes that if this negotiation proves successful they may not only aspire to a certain pardon, but to some employment as well. Thus the moment they arrived here, fomenting the good disposition which reigns in the majority of the Upper House, they have unanimously decided at the first sitting, in spite of the disparity between the proposals, to agree to an armistice and to the continuation of the negotiations, as asked by his Majesty in the last article of his proposal. In addition to this, and to employ every means to secure the success of their just desires even in the Lower House, the Lords have surreptitiously tried to get several members of that House who had absented themselves to escape violence, to return to strengthen the good party. But the others, having heard of this, summoned from the army all the members holding commands there, to make a supreme effort to stop this boon. The Mayor and Council of the city conspire to the same end. In order to cut short these transactions, which they do not believe will result in any advantage for the Puritan religion or for them personally, while the king is as strong as he is now and while the Upper House is so inclined to give him satisfaction, they have appeared in parliament and offered 400,000l. sterling and other accommodation for the prosecution of the war. Thus, when the decision was sent to the Lower House, after lengthy and nocturnal discussions a resolution was issued that instead of the armistice, there should be a disbanding of the armies, so that all those beyond the river Trent should be dismissed before the 1st March next, and those this side by the 10th of the same. This agrees with the first article of the parliament's proposals and serves to make parliament the arbiter of all the advantages to which it aspires, over a king in arms in the country.
The Scottish commissioners have not yet reached the Court. The royal officers have raised difficulties about their passports, perhaps designedly, under the pretex that one of them is unacceptable and is not named in them. (fn. 4)
Mr. More, the king's chamberlain, has returned from there. He worked hard to win over the grandees, but there, as in England, they have lost their early authority through giving the people too much liberty, and in order to uphold their credit they are obliged to support the wishes and pleasure of the vulgar without examination.
News has come to the king, also from the North, of the queen's arrival at Newcastle with money, arms and soldiers. Yet in letters from Holland we hear that she has returned there after tossing for some days at sea, and it is not thought that she will attempt the passage again until the weather is good.
The lack of food, money and of any help for the affairs of Ireland, affords an inducement to the scanty parliamentary troops there to desert. In several batches as many as 1000 have reached Westchiester, whither the king has sent to enrol them under his flag, in accordance with their wishes and offers.
To place some check on the course of the disorders there eight ships have been sent there from this kingdom with corn and some money, supplied by the merchants for the purpose. But being driven by a fortunate wind to Falmouth they were seized by the governor there, who is a royalist, and who expelled the crews. (fn. 5) They proved of no little service to the army of Sir [Ralph] Obton, who has shut up the earl of Stanford with the parliamentary forces in Plymouth, and who remains master of the county of Cornwall.
Prince Rupert besieged the town of Sister in Gloucestershire for 3 days. The garrison being intimidated by the capture of some fortifications outside, he obtained it by treaty. (fn. 6) But as they broke faith with him when he entered by firing a musket at him from the windows, which fortunately missed him, he considered himself released from the composition and permitted a sack, which involved the death of 400 inhabitants and soldiers. The incident has been published here as an act of cruelty, and they try to use it under the present circumstances, to stir up feeling and divert attention from peace.
The earl of Bedford, who at the beginning readily accepted the post of general of the parliamentary cavalry, has now voluntarily resigned it and he also is supporting those who are most inclined to peace. It is not thought that anyone else will be appointed, because they do not trust the grandees, and from fear that they will not find anyone to accept it. So the Scot Balfour, who now holds the lieutenancy, will carry on the command.
London, the 20th February, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 228. Humble proposals of the Lords and Commons in parliament, taken to the king on the 1st February, 1642, style of England. (fn. 7)
[Italian, from the English ; 14 pages.]
229. Reply and proposal of the king to the commissioners of parliament, dated the 3rd February, 1642, style of England. (fn. 8)
[Italian, from the English ; 10 pages.]
Feb. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
230. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Two deputies of Scotland are here to treat on behalf of that kingdom for the renewal of the ancient alliance between the kingdom of Scotland and this crown, professing that they have shaken off the yoke of the royal domination.
Paris, the 24th February, 1643.
Feb. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
231. To the Secretary in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 30th January. Learn from the Hague that the queen of England is sailing for that country with money and munitions and with hopes of assistance from France and Denmark. By diligence he will be in a position to keep abreast of everything and continue to send his reports, using prudence and judgment. The disunion among the parliamentarians and the flocking of troops or others to the king voluntarily from the people discloses a leaning towards his Majesty, and promises a better issue to the affair. Enclose sheet of news from the Italian side.
Ayes, 144. Noes, 2. Neutral, 2.
Feb. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
232. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen of England went to Schevelino the day before yesterday and she was to embark early to-day for Newcastle. But a ship bought by her to take military provisions for 6000 soldiers, is held up at the mouth of the Meuse by two ships of war of the parliament which have ventured into these waters and threaten to sink it if it moves. This has delayed her Majesty's departure. The Prince has assured her that the ship shall be set free at once, and shall follow her, but this does not make her cease her protestations that she will not leave this state before the ship is released, to go with her and the escort of eight other ships, which are to take her over. Accordingly the Vice Admiral has gone to Brill to get the parliament ships to go, and the queen is satisfied and has no reason to delay her start. We hear that the Hollanders, who favour parliament, at the suggestion of the commissioner, have had her Majesty's ship arrested, covering this disrespectful act by the recent declaration forbidding the export of all munitions of war from this state either for the king or the parliament. But reasonable men cannot understand how the government can have suffered this audacity, which strikes the Prince to the quick, and assert and state freely that the States are acting by connivance. Others say that the parliamentarians want to delay the queen's departure to give them time to prepare a fleet and surprise her on the way, and they have chosen this means in the certainty that the two ships would not be molested. Whatever the truth may be, it is certain that the queen has scant confidence, but her ardent desire to hasten to her husband's side, removes all fear from her heart, and animates her to encounter every danger.
The Hague, the 25th February, 1643.
Feb. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
233. To the Ambassador Zustignan, designate for Germany.
Satisfaction with the reports of his conduct at the Hague. In recognition of his merit the Senate grants permission to keep the jewel bestowed by the queen of England on the ambassadress.
Ayes, 144. Noes, 2. Neutral, 2.
In the Collegio on the 26th February, a separate vote about the jewel :
Ayes, 17. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
Feb. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Proveditore in Terra Ferma, Venetian Archives.
234. Zuane Pesaro, Procurator of the Proveditore in Terra Ferma, to the Doge and Senate.
Colonel Duglas has made known to me his constant devotion to the most serene republic. He apologises for his past mistakes with asseverations that they were not due to himself and he humbled himself in everything to the grace and favour of the state. I have not considered it right to keep this to myself since in the present state of affairs the matter might be worthy of consideration, especially as he offers levies of his own country.
Verona, the 26th February, 1642 [M.V.]
Feb. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
235. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the decision of the Lower House upon the king's proposals, refusing the armistice but in favour of disarmament, they made a report on it to the Lords, at a special conference, in a long speech adducing many but unsubstantial reasons to justify the decision and to show that no other treaty could with safety be introduced until this was punctually carried out. The city of London, easily fomented by some of the Lower House, has strongly supported this view. They have appeared again in parliament ; apart from the injuries already done by the war they declared that if an armistice is made they will contribute nothing for the maintenance of the armies, but fortifying themselves as best they can they will confine themselves to their own defence.
Although all the Lords voted unanimously for the armistice, yet eight of them who share the fortunes of the most seditious Commons, seeing them so strongly opposed and favouring disarmament, have changed their opinion and announce that they will unite with the Commons for the destruction of the Upper House. This is what they aspire to in the long run, to reduce the government to a true democracy. What decision will be taken by the other lords, who now seem more moderate, remains in doubt even to themselves, as they are powerless to remedy those disorders which they have started, and which now threaten their own destruction before that of the rest.
The Scottish commissioners reached the Court yesterday. The earl of Linze, another commissioner resident here, has also gone there and will give them particulars of the most recondite intentions of parliament here. There has been no time to obtain details of their negotiations, but it is well understood that under the show of a synod and of giving shape to their religion they want to order the government of that kingdom to their own fashion, possibly introducing the people, to the total subjection of the royal party, though that has not yet been entirely reduced.
The king being aware from their petition, which reached him earlier, that for this purpose they want to summon a parliament in that kingdom, with or without permission, directed some Scottish lords who are with him, to go and take part in it. But while they expressed their willingness to sacrifice their lives in serving him usefully, they besought him not to expose them to the fury of the people, in the assurance that it could not help his cause. In view of these jealousies in that kingdom it is clear that an effective move on their part and an armed invasion of England will not be an easy matter, although they hold out hopes of it. Yet they are arming, and I am assured that the parliament of England, through a merchant, has purchased and transported from the Netherlands to Scotland equipment for 10,000 men, on account of which they have so far paid 5000l. sterling. There was some talk among the parliamentarians to send officers of their army to enlist men from that nation, but this is still undecided, though the need is very great, to avail themselves of Scottish assistance in the next campaign. All agree on every hand that it will be very sanguinary. All hope of any good result from the negotiations has practically disappeared ; the drums are gathering fresh recruits in every quarter of the city and many from parliament have gone to the earl of Essex to discuss how to use their forces.
A new and severe order has been issued to the collectors of the twentieth to enter armed into the houses of those who object, and carry away ruthlessly all that they find, arresting the head, and not allowing him even to go and find his wife and children. When this is gathered in they intend to levy a shilling a week on every poor family, and in proportion from those better off.
Meanwhile they show great industry in obtaining ready money, adding to the burden under the guise of lightening it. Last Sunday, by public order, the ministers represented from their pulpits that parliament being anxious above all things to relieve the people, so far as present circumstances will permit, and knowing what a burden upon every parish is the maintenance of the helpless, the poor and the children of unknown fathers, who are supported by an obligatory contribution from the inhabitants, has decided to send all these people to live in New England. It therefore asked everyone to consent to contribute for one occasion only such sum as his conscience told him befitted his estate, to cover the cost of transporting them. Many allowed themselves to be persuaded, and a considerable sum of money was obtained, which it is generally believed will serve the present need, since it is not believed they will show such cruelty to persons incapable of any work. But even if it is devoted to transporting them, they will not give up collecting the usual contributions, to maintain soldiers instead of the poor.
It looked as if the parliamentary armies from a distance, were threatening the city of York with a fresh siege. But as the earl of Newcastle with General Chinch are stationed there with some troops, they hope that it will be free from danger.
They circulate many false rumours from Cornwall to the prejudice of Sir [Ralph] Obton and to the advantage of the parliamentary arms. But the truth is that all the parliamentary forces are confined in the town of Plymouth, which owing to the siege is unable to receive succour by land, and the very letters which arrive here come by sea. Some ships of the queen's escort with horses have been lost, others have arrived at Newcastle ; but she is in Holland with the money and seems eager to make a fresh attempt at the earliest opportunity.
London, the 27th February, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. Braddock Down on the 29th January.
  • 2. The Earls of Loudoun and Lindsay with Robert Barclay.
  • 3. Leeds and Bradford.
  • 4. The King objected to Sir Archibald Johnston of Waristoun and so he was not sent. Rushworth : Hist. Collections Part III, Vol. II, page 399.
  • 5. See Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641-3, pages 437,449, but only three ships are there mentioned as having been seized by Sir Nicholas Slanning, Governor of Pendennis castle, viz. the Richmond, Little Richmond and Tiger all belonging to Robert Trelawny of Plymouth.
  • 6. On the 12th February.
  • 7. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. V, pages 581—3.
  • 8. Id. page 591.