Venice: April 1642

Pages 29-45

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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April 1642

April 4.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
28. To the Ambassador at the Hague.
Commended for paying his respects to the queen of England on her arrival. He is to observe how this incident affects the resolutions of those States.
Ayes, 141. Noes, 2. Neutral, 2.
29. To the Ambassador in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 7th and 14th ult. Notice that the affairs of that country become more and more significant. The absence of the king and his distance from London will call for still closer observation of what takes place and the disagreements that arise. Approval of his action and of his offices with the king. Expect him to continue the same course with his ability and zeal. He is to thank the Irishman for his offer of German levies and tell him that the Signory will bear his offer in mind.
From what he reports it looks as if it might be useful to take up again the question of the reception of the Venetian ambassadors on a par with those of other crowned heads. The Senate trusts to his discretion and leaves it to him to do what he sees fit, in the assurance that he only move with the utmost reserve when quite sure of his ground and without committing himself. Enclose sheet of advices.
Vote of 300 ducats for couriers and the carriage of letters, to be paid to the ambassador's agent.
Ayes, 141. Noes, 2. Neutral, 2.
April 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
30. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king reached York on Saturday in last week and was received by the people there with demonstrations of the utmost joy (con i testimonii d' una perfetta gioia). The mayor of the city, with a numerous company, went out to meet him and with every token of dutiful respect assured him of the perfect readiness (pronta volonta) of all the people there to sacrifice themselves as well as their fortunes for the preservation of his Majesty. Nevertheless it remains a question for the future to resolve whether such protestations of duty mean that they will undergo the trials necessary for the reestablishment of this prince in his state. Many assert positively that the Northern parts, having found out the passions of the parliamentarians and far from satisfied with the new regime on other accounts, are sighing to see the king restored to his ancient condition of power, and are disposed to assist the realisation of this sentiment by the powerful forces of that district. On the other hand, others consider that these amiable declarations will not carry them any further than the desire expressed in these first cordial ceremonies (che questi dichiarationi favorevoli non oltrepassorono il termine del desiderio di questi primi cordiali officiosita). So it must be left to time to give a definite answer as to what the results of this journey will be as also upon what measures his Majesty may decide to take. Amid the contingencies of this difficult condition which demand that he must deeply ponder his decisions before announcing them or carrying them into effect, the resolution to withdraw seems so far to have been successful, since it has at least slackened the headlong course whereby parliament aspired to humble him to their own desires and also from having thrown the projects of the most ambitious into confusion.
Before arriving at York the king sent a precept to all the magistrates and judges of the realm to put in force rigorously against the Catholics the laws established by Queen Elizabeth and by past parliaments. (fn. 1) The whole object of this is to provide if possible an apology for his actions and to shake off by this means the damaging slur which they have attempted to fasten on him, to wit that secretly in his heart he cherished a leaning to Catholicism and a wish to encourage the propagation of that religion in this country. This is the most powerful weapon with which they are able to hold the interests and the tranquillity of this good king seriously prejudiced, and accordingly he tries sedulously to shield himself against it (tutto ad ogetto di render se possibile fia applausibile le attioni sue et scuoter con questo mezzo quelle dannose note che si e tentata adossargli di portar cioe secretamente nel cuore spiriti d' inclinatione al Cattolicismo et di inspirar alla propagatione di quella religione in questo paese, ch' e l' arma piu potente da cui restar possono grandemente pregiudicato gl' interessi et la quieta di questo buono Re et per cio da questa studia applicatamente di coprirsi).
The orders which I reported as sent by parliament to the soldiers of the trained bands, to enter the town of Uls without delay for the reinforcement of the garrison there, have been refused obedience by those troops and by the magistrate of the place on the pretext that the order was not signed by his Majesty. This affords a clear indication of the disposition of the people not to break away from their allegiance to their legitimate sovereign and it also leaves room for hope that that important fortress may in any case be preserved in its loyalty to the king. Owing to the example and other consequences the incident is considered of great moment and precisely for this it causes just apprehension to the parliamentarians.
Smitten with consternation by this unpalatable news parliament has wasted its sittings these last days in mere talk, with few resolutions, as they do not discern by what path they may most easily advance with secure steps towards the accomplishment of their original designs and secure the continuance of control more firmly in their hands.
They have decided to send two members of the Lower House and one of the Upper to his Majesty, (fn. 2) with instructions to present to him a further audacious declaration in which they represent the inconveniences which grow more and more mischievous, and the uneasy feelings of his people at his absence from his residence here. They again beseech him most strongly to return, promising him, in a wheedling manner (con concetti d' insinuatione) all the respect that is due to his greatness. To take this paper they chose Lord Fildin. But he, possibly overtaken by apprehension that the conditions of the time may be on the change and judging it the wiser course at present to profess a caution which he has not displayed in the past, flatly refused the charge. Although they have confided it to some one else, yet this unexpected coyness of Lord Fildin does not pass without remark. To some few of the lesser nobility of York, who have shown themselves in favour of parliament letters full of friendly sentiments have been written, with the idea of keeping them well disposed to the parliament side and by the favour of such courtesies to stay the progress of those movements which are feared from that quarter.
In order to cast increasing discredit on the actions of this prince, they have concocted and had printed a letter of the Princess Palatine in which she reports the scant satisfaction which their queen receives in Holland, and that momentous disagreements have arisen also between the Lords States and the Prince of Orange. But the Dutch ambassador Joachimi being advised of these disseminations, so injurious to their reputation for hospitality and to the respect which the States profess for the Prince of Orange, has made a vigorous remonstrance to the parliamentarians and made it apparent that the paper is a baseless fabrication. He succeeded in getting it publicly burned.
Meanwhile with the collapse of the suspicion artificially spread among the common people that the States and the Prince of Orange are thinking of assisting the king with men and money, they have set going this present week other reports that the king of Denmark has collected a powerful fleet and proposes to despatch it with all speed to the service of his Majesty. For the purpose of fostering this false belief among the people and of keeping up their animosity against the king, parliament has shown the vanity of this fear by the express despatch of two ships to Denmark under the pretence of discovering the real truth about this monstrous rumour.
The Vice Admiral Peninton has at length returned from Holland to these ports with the six ships of the fleet which escorted the queen across to Rotterdam. (fn. 3) Although their suspicions about his proceedings are completely dissipated, all the same, in contemplation of parliament, Admiral the earl of Northumberland has deprived him of the exercise of his charge.
The earl of Warwick proceeds with halting steps in the arming of his 30 ships. But few mariners care to undertake that service and they are also short of money to meet the demands of this very costly decision. The city and the merchants unanimously refuse to help any more with fresh supplies, so the earl will not get to sea so soon nor in such strength as he announced.
The rebels in Ireland have valiantly carried by storm the city of Cork. (fn. 4) As it is washed by the sea and a most capacious harbour it gives them a great advantage for their supplies and for the prosecution of other enterprises. They found seven pieces of bronze artillery with a quantity of other military provisions in the fortress, and 2500 English, inspired by the valour of their hearts, who offered a courageous resistance to the enemy's attack, perished miserably under the assault of their victorious arm.
In the matter of the currants, since the representations made to Sir Henry Wen and the other members of parliament, nothing fresh has occurred although the directors of the Levant Company and the two unfriendly merchants in parliament, namely Samuel Vassel and the Senator Son have not ceased their efforts to get the bill draughted and presented to the Lower House, so that it may subsequently be passed by the other House and receive the king's consent. I am keeping my eyes open and will do everything that is possible to prevent a prejudicial decision. May God crown my efforts with success.
London, the 4th April, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haia. Venetian Archives.
31. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
They are discussing, but have not made up their minds about the embassy to England in favour of the interests of the royal House. Now that with the arrival of the Princess Mary, the marriage of the young prince is rendered safe, which they seemed to desire merely for the gratification of the House of Orange, the States are cooling off and hope declines. Even the Prince, now he has obtained his intent, seems inclined to imitate them. So much is this the case, that while he has transmitted sums of money to the King of England, yet finding himself short, owing to fresh demands of his Court, and the Dutch grumbling about an ordinary subvention of 50,000 francs a year, which he wanted both to relieve him in part of the expense which the coming of the princess, his daughter in law forces upon him, and because he is by nature more inclined to gather than to scatter, he is very reluctant to submit to any inroads upon his capital. Outwardly, however, he shows every readiness to gratify the queen, but what is designed in secret is not easy to discover or very certain.
Meanwhile the States complain of the long silence of their minister at that Court, and on this ground they excuse the delay in the choice of the ambassador in question.
The Hague, the 7th April, 1642.
April 10.
Senato, Sereta. Deliberazioni Corti. Venetian Archives.
32. To the Ambassador in England.
Approval of his operations. Recommendation to watch the ever increasing divergence between the opinions and commands of the king and those of parliament and the decisions taken by the latter in the absence of his Majesty, owing to the reports and demonstrations that are made to him. But the ambassador is fully alert to everything and is fulfilling his duties well, so there is no need to add more. Enclose sheet of advices.
We understand the mischief that the members of the Levant Company are trying to do solely for their own interests. We do not believe that they will succeed because the general welfare is concerned. In any case our offices have been and will be greatly governed by emergencies, to prevent innovation and to support that trade and the interrupted sale of our currants, with all generosity, doing our best to discredit their ill-founded assertions while every facility will be afforded by our representatives to the English, and the best of treatment, within the obligation to pay the duties on the goods. We therefore feel sure that with your dexterity you will induce the customers to oppose all mischievous efforts and prevent any such bill passing in the Upper House. You will also speak to Fildin again when an opportunity occurs, repeating the strongest arguments because of the interests and advantage of both states, owing to the revenues which his Majesty derives from the trade, from the disposal of cloth and other English goods in our State and the other various considerations which you have advanced very wisely. You will not forget moreover to point out that the currants of the Morea are of a different sort, inferior and not popular in that country, being of a different colour and flavour.
Ayes, 104. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
April 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian. Archives.
33. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The deputies recently sent to York with the fresh effort to induce his Majesty to come back towards London and to satisfy parliament in the other respects reported, have returned to-day. Although they have not yet made their report about the answers they have brought back, yet we hear that these are not in conformity with the desire of the parliamentarians. Their account is awaited with eager impatience to learn what they have discovered about the most secret designs of the king, and equally about the great readiness with which the people of the North embrace his cause. This circumstance now assumes the greatest importance in the eyes of the authors of these movements. Mistrustful of their power to maintain themselves for any length of time, they take the utmost pains to prevent everything that might prejudice the projects of their own party. His Majesty on the other side spares no pains to parry with equal industry their elaborate schemes.
Meanwhile, in conformity with his promise he has sent to parliament his answer to the free and haughty remonstrance which they had presented to him at Niumarchet. This answer has been printed and published and it has caused a feeling of perfect satisfaction throughout the country, while some have called down blessings on his Majesty's goodness (pubblicata alle stampe ha riempite gli animi dell' universale di perfetta soddisfattione, et rimanate voci di beneditione alla bonta della Maesta Sua ugualmente). In this paper the king points out the baselessness of the suspicions which the parliamentarians display. He defends the innocence of his past actions. He brings to light the falseness of the matters designedly introduced in order to alienate from him the affection of his subjects, more particularly that he entertained the idea of changing the religion and subduing the liberty of the country. He protests his unchangeable constancy in maintaining the one and preserving the other in its ancient vigour at the price of his own blood. He points out that by consenting to many prejudicial deliberations, he did not hesitate to sacrifice the most important prerogatives of his royal authority and of his successors as well to please parliament. He asserts that considerations of safety and reputation alone keep him away from this city. He concludes with such loving expressions towards his subjects that he has excited feelings of genuine tenderness in the hardest hearts and has made many others realise that most of the demands and deliberations of parliament are directed by private interest and not by a genuine zeal for the public welfare. (fn. 5) Since the effect of this is to diminish the credit which this Senate here has enjoyed in the past, it also tends to fortify the evidence that time will bring an advantage to the fortunes of this prince, which the means hitherto employed have failed to gather for him.
To all the officials of the Court and to the knights of the Garter, his Majesty has sent orders to proceed with all despatch to join his person. Among these are numbered many who have audaciously opposed his interests. These have not considered it either safe or advantageous to go thither. For the purpose of cloaking their disobedience under a specious show as well as of escaping the danger of losing their appointments as well as these honours, they have been moved to obtain a decree that forbids everyone, without distinction, to absent himself from the debates of parliament. To provide an even better colour to their caution they have renewed an invitation to return to their residence here to all the other members of parliament who are absent. Their numbers are not inconsiderable, the majority having preferred to withdraw to their country houses rather than to mix themselves up in the troubles of these disordered events, with peril to themselves and to their fortunes. In spite of this many lords and twenty members of the Lower House, excellently disposed towards the interests of his Majesty, caring nothing for this last order, have proceeded to York to offer him their devoted service. Men are now watching closely to see whether the king will deprive those who do not appear of their appointments, as many foretell, and those concerned are themselves not free from misgivings. If this happens it may be feared that the instinct to preserve what one holds may exasperate their disaffection.
In the mean time while the resolutions of the two sides are lost amid uncertainties and every one studies to advance his own condition, some gentlemen and others of great influence in the county of Kent, which is one of the largest and most powerful in the realm, ill pleased with the present government and equally anxious not to allow any more scope for the introduction of innovations, have resolved on the step of drawing up a paper, to be presented to parliament, in which they ask that no decrees shall be carried into execution unless they first have the king's assent in conformity with the laws ; that no innovation be made in the liturgy of the Church. That the order of bishops be maintained. That the fundamental laws of the crown shall not be diminished. That the kingdom shall not arm without the king's consent. That trade having fallen off, means may be devised for reorganising it and to restore to the people those benefits which they have so freely enjoyed in the past. The other demands of importance are all aimed at thwarting the designs of the parliamentarians, who now have control, and who are contumacious, in the king's favour.
This paper being all ready they seized the opportunity afforded at the present time of the tour of the London judges through the counties to try criminals, to have it read in the presence of a great concourse of people. Obtaining their consent they also got it signed by a large number of gentlemen with the intention of sending it afterwards by a commissioner or by some other means to the parliament. In the mean time they consigned a copy to one of the judges with an injunction to give it to the earl of Bristol in order that he may show it to his Majesty.
On the other hand parliament, being advised of this unexpected and important movement and alarmed lest such a step, based as it is upon the laws, might be imitated by several counties and make a wide breach in the hearts of the people, caused the judge (fn. 6) to be arrested and imprisoned without delay and Bristol also, the former for having brought and the latter for having accepted the paper. They have sent orders to the leading contrivers of this affair to come here and supply particulars of what happened. They propose to punish them severely. The object of all this is to frighten them and prevent the paper being presented and by an example of severe repression to prevent others in the future from entertaining any idea of opposing the principles of the present government. Nevertheless, many parliamentarians of moderate views, filled with sincere zeal for the public good, have strenuously opposed this deliberation in lengthy offices, arguing that they ought not to put obstacles in the way of so just a demand when they have hearkened to other counties making petitions which merited censure rather than acceptation. But the overbearing influence of the contrary party has refused to admit these arguments, valid as they are, and they are proceeding with great ardour to prevent this effort from making further progress. If it does spread it may serve as a very effective instrument for restoring the king to his former powers, and give back to England with tranquility, the ornaments of its ancient greatness. Whether these individuals mean to offer any resistance to the indignation of parliament and persist in their original intention is not a matter for human prudence to decide and I must refer myself to the issue, the passions of this country being subject to such sudden changes.
Vice Admiral Peninton refuses to resign his charge in response to the orders of Admiral the earl of Northumberland. He claims not to give up the execution of his duties until he is removed by the king, who having the greatest regard for this commander, declares that he means to support him. On the other hand, the earl of Warwick, who was chosen in his place, continues the equipment of his ships to put to sea as soon as possible with the fleet, and he seems to attach scant importance to the resistance of the other.
Baron Dandovert came to this house one day recently and informed me by order of his Majesty that he had commissions for the embassy at Venice. He said he had instructions to offer excuses for the incident of the opening of the letters and to satisfy your Excellencies. I made a suitable reply. Subsequently, two days ago, he sent his secretary on purpose to inform me that within a few days he will be starting for those parts. Owing to the pain which still tortures me, I have been unable to return his visit. I will endeavour to do so to-morrow and at the same time to gather further particulars about his going. London, the 11th April, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
34. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dunkirkers scour the seas. They have strong forces and meet with scant opposition from this quarter. They seize English ships and only recognise as friends those which have passports signed by the king.
It appears that the queen of England is trying to make use of a portion of her jewels in order to transmit ready money to her husband. The report is considered a device, in order to lead to some offer, and that is why it does not serve to bring about anything adequate. They move with great deliberation in the matter of the embassy extraordinary and in all other demonstrations which are concerned with the interests of that house.
Her Majesty says she will leave the Hague immediately after Easter, and go about the country to see the chief towns. Breda will be the last one visited, and after staying some days there, it is thought that the queen will proceed to Flanders, in order to await there the issue of her misfortunes.
The Hague, the 14th April, 1642.
April 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
35. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The replies received from the king by the commissioners returned from York were read in parliament on Saturday. These make more apparent than ever his steadfast intention to continue the line of conduct he has adopted, namely not to come back to this city unless the satisfaction he requires is decorously conceded to him, and not to give permission for arming the kingdom. This is the point upon which parliament seems to insist more than on any other at present. The replies have multiplied the mistrust and bitterness felt by the ill disposed while on the other hand they have confirmed the disposition of the king's partisans to keep closely united to his party and to offer a vigorous opposition to the ambitious designs of the others.
The king has had these fresh declarations of his also printed and published. Being full of plausible and loving sentiments towards his people while at the same time expressing his inevitable determination to defend the rights of his sovereignty at all costs, they are eagerly received by the unprejudiced with acclamations, likely to bear fruit, and have at the same time raised his Majesty's reputation for prudence and spirit among the generality, which during these last months seemed to have disappeared utterly from the heart of his subjects (che per esser ripieni di concetti plausibili et affetuosi verso sudditi non meno che espressive la necessaria risolutione di diffender a tutti i prezzi i dritti della propria realita, sono abbraciati dagli desinteressati con affetti d' una fruttuosa acclamatione, et hanno rilevato ugualmente appresso l' universale quel grido di prudenza et di generosita al nome di Sua Maesta che li mesi addietro pareva totalmente caduto dal cuore dei vassali).
At York we hear that the king is personally very popular and that the whole of that northern district is openly favourable and shows itself eager to support the royal fortunes. This circumstance gives rise to the hope that with the dissipation of the last remains of the suspicion designedly inculcated, about changes in religion and schemes against the liberty of the country, which have up to the present cast a shadow over the consciences of the more simple minded, the king may regain, before very long the use of an absolute authority, or at least that amount of power limited by the laws which his predecessors have enjoyed. Owing to these weighty considerations the minds of those who now have control are tossed by natural perplexity. Feeling uncertain whether they can for long maintain their present position without the backing of force and arms, they have issued fresh orders providing that the arming of the country shall be delayed no longer, even although the royal consent may not be obtained. They have also released the precept to all the lieutenants of the counties, recently appointed, to take up the exercise of their functions. Those who conspire in the troubles and whose sole thought is for the security of their own fortunes have at once displayed their allegiance by a prompt obedience to these orders. Others, however, have roundly refused to accept the charge and many who secretly cherish sentiments favourable to the king's interests but do not think it wise to declare themselves openly as yet, have adroitly excused themselves on the plea that as this deliberation has not been signed by his Majesty as required by the laws, it may not meet with absolute obedience from the officers and soldiers of the trained bands which are under their orders, and consequently it will not be possible to have these orders carried out. Accordingly with this important move checked by such serious obstacles, men of sound judgment prognosticate that it will come to nought and consequently that all the other measures of the same kind which may be undertaken by parliament will suffer the same fate.
By a letter written on purpose and under the great seal to be communicated to parliament and printed his Majesty takes strong exception to the election of the earl of Warwick as Vice Admiral, claiming that this is his prerogative alone. He desires that Sir [John] Peninton shall continue to hold the post, as an officer of recognised loyalty, of tried ability and from whom the crown has received notable services.
On the other side, after hearing this refusal with angry feelings, parliament, has confirmed the original appointment by a small majority at the end of prolonged discussions (ha dopo lunghe dispute confirmato di pochi voti la prima nominatione). Many of the Upper House have protested vigorously against it, arguing that it cannot be done without the king's consent. In spite of this Warwick, putting aside all thought of the peril that time may bring to his fortunes, has readily accepted the appointment, but there is no certainty as yet if Peninton is disposed to give up his post so cheaply, or if the captains of the ships will put themselves under the command of this new chief, who has no royal patents. Many assert that both Peninton and the captains will stand fast by their determination not to depart from the supreme command of his Majesty, and that by this specious pretext they will try to retain possession of their posts.
Orders have been sent to the governor of Uls to forward to the Tower of London some portion of the munitions of war which are in the magazines there, with the object of depriving the king of the opportunity of using them if under the pressure of necessity he should resolve to appeal to arms in order to put a bridle upon the licence of the present time. But the person in charge of the munitions, disdaining the orders of the governor, who shows himself a dependant of the parliament, has so far refused his consent to their removal without orders from his Majesty. From this it is clear that parliament does not find that willingness to carry out its orders that was looked for, and further incidents are expected to offer even more certain evidence to confirm this belief.
The affair of the county of Kent remains in its original position, and it is not yet known whether they will desist or persevere in their deliberation to present the paper reported. They have had it printed, to the annoyance of the parliamentarians.
Meanwhile we hear that Somerset and other counties, following its example, are contemplating making the same petition. To prevent this happening, since it might greatly enfeeble the machinations of parliament while promoting the interests of his Majesty to the height of their originial greatness, severe orders have been sent to the authors of these movements to make their appearance before parliament without delay to justify their actions, as if they hoped at least to defer if not to extinguish completely the first sparks of this fire which threatens to break out in so many quarters.
In the city of York sumptuous preparations are being made to celebrate the function of the Garter, which will take place next month. The king has commanded that his second son, the Duke of York shall proceed thither with the purpose, so they say, of instituting him in that Order and subsequently appoint him Lord High Admiral, and in that way take away the honour of this appointment from the earl of Northumberland, who has betrayed sentiments utterly contrary to his Majesty's service.
It is reported that the king will take this opportunity to confer the valued insignia of this Order upon other leading nobles, who have shown themselves loyal to him, and that the garter will also be sent to the Palatine Prince Rupert, who is staying with his mother in Holland.
After strenuous efforts the Most Christian ambassador here has succeeded in obtaining permission for the transport to France of the Scottish levies that were granted to him. Eight hundred soldiers have crossed the sea this week and he is busy hastening the passage of the rest. This excites the resentment and the blushes of the Catholic ambassador, who was so grossly deceived over the levy of Ireland.
Ships arrived in these waters from Dublin bring news that the Irish rebels, assisted by the favour of the populace and by other stratagems have captured the town of Waterford, without bloodshed, a place capable of a long and vigorous resistance both from its situation and by art. This increases their hopes of keeping up that rebellion.
I have duly returned the visit to Baron Dandovert. He confirmed to me his intention to set out very soon for those parts. He was only waiting for the commissioners of the Treasury to pay him the money for the journey. He showed me the king's commands for this to be done. But in these times of excessive scarcity it will not be so easy to perform although some one of position informs me that the queen has certainly sent his Majesty considerable sums of ready money from Holland, raised from her own jewels. If this should be confirmed it will greatly facilitate the successful conduct of his designs.
London, the 18th April, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
36. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of these States writes from England in his last that he has sounded the feelings of the Parliament men about accepting the interposition of this government to open overtures for an adjustment with his Majesty, and they let him understand clearly that they do not desire foreign mediators to meddle for the present in their affairs. They would rather have the mediation of the queen herself, since they are disposed on their side to take reasonable steps calculated to give his Majesty entire satisfaction and nothing is wanting save her consent for starting negotiations for a sincere composition.
This report from the minister serves to justify the excuses of the States for their tardiness and proves very welcome. The selection of the embassy extraordinary, which was left in an unsettled state, has been buried in oblivion since the arrival of this news.
The queen is displeased at the announcement and declares that she has no knowledge of any kind about it, while she is always suspicious of the extreme ill will of her disaffected subjects. The States let it pass and say no more, but she treats as pure inventions their reports spread since the arrival of the dispatch in question, as a means of evading the sending of an ambassador and to escape the instances which have been made to them, perhaps too often.
The King of Denmark has withdrawn all the troops he had in the neighbourhood of Hamburg. As he has a large number of warships ready and well armed they continue to think here that he may employ most of them for the service of the King of England.
The Dunkirkers have captured five ships of this state and two English ones, all laden with rich merchandise.
The Hague, the 21st April, 1642.
April 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
37. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The other day the Princess Palatine, through the English resident, suggested to me that one of the princes, her sons, should serve your Excellencies. The Resident came to this embassy on the 16th inst. and expressed himself to the following effect. The Palatine House had always professed the greatest regard for the most serene republic, and knew that your Serenity was most friendly. The Princess wished to show her sense of obligation by putting her own son at the disposition of your Excellencies. He added that the king, his master, would always be especially gratified by any honours shown to his nephew. He said he had orders to make this proposal in the names of his Majesty and his sister conjointly.
I responded cordially and promised to inform your Excellencies at once. Yesterday I went, according to custom to the Palatine Court, with Easter greetings. After thanking me, the Princess repeated the offer, in the same terms used by the Resident. She only added, that when her fourth son was alive, he was much honoured with the title of son of the republic, and she hoped that her second would enjoy the paternal favour of your Excellencies. She had a large family, and had long desired to see some of them in employment, if their age and the circumstances of her House had permitted it earlier.
In response to this office, expressed with the utmost cordiality, I expressed the gratification of your Excellencies and my readiness to serve her, and thus I left her content, without pledging myself to anything. The name of this prince is Roberto, the second son, aged about twenty five years. (fn. 7) He is tall and of agreeable appearance (dii gran Statura e d'aspetti civile). He was served in the wars here with a good reputation and is highly esteemed ; even the Prince of Orange considers him a soldier of great courage. He was taken prisoner by the Imperialists in 1638 at the defeat of Mepen, when he had command of the cavalry in the army of the Palatine, his brother. He desires the same post of general from your Excellencies, such as was formerly held by the Duke of Candale, or some other honourable employment, suitable to his high birth.
The Hague, the 22nd April, 1642.
April 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
38. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The earl of Newport reached this city from York on Monday. He brought parliament a long paper from the king, in which after expressing his great regret at the rebellion in Ireland and for the false reports circulated touching religion in that country, which he says touch his honour to the quick and multiply mistrust among his subjects, he states seriously that he has decided to proceed with all speed to Ireland, in order to punish the rebels and restore peace to that land, while dissipating the suspicions that at present surround it. He asserts that bearing in his heart as he does the most sincere and urgent stimulus to propagate the Protestant religion, he will never allow to the people there the exercise of the Roman faith. He asks earnestly for assistance on this occasion, namely to supply him with the means to maintain 2000 foot and 200 horse, whom he proposes to take with him to guard his person. He adds however that if the undertaking of this expense is found too heavy for his subjects, he is prepared, with the consent of parliament, to sell his own lands, parks and other things, to supply subsistence for these troops. He hopes that these together with the other English and Scots will suffice to reduce the rebels in a brief space to their original obedience and facilitate for him the glory of this undertaking, for which he promises exquisite application and true sincerity. He declares that in his absence he will provide for the government of this kingdom in the way he considers best adapted for the public tranquillity and safety and in conclusion he urges parliament to hasten on the completion of the levies destined for those operations. (fn. 8)
The parliamentarians are alarmed at this unexpected move and shaken by fresh apprehension since they suspect that under the pretext of this journey are hidden other secret objects of greater consequence to their prejudice. In lengthy debates they have discussed what reply it behoves them to give to such proposals. But although the majority are of one mind upon the question of refusing the assistance demanded and of endeavouring at all costs to prevent the carrying out of this new plan, yet they have not as yet come to any definite decision. This is expected to come to-day but not to be in favour of his Majesty's projects.
The most statesmanlike among them cannot be persuaded that amid the contingencies of these times his Majesty will persist in his intention to leave the kingdom of England, the chief and most powerful part of his dominions. They believe that this present declaration of his against the rebels is intended to show with increasing clearness the falsity of the opinions designedly inculcated in the past that he contributed to this rising, and in this way to acquire greater credit with the Protestants. This does not square with the ends of the contrary party, which is ever intent on rendering all the actions of his Majesty suspect to the generality, on the score of religion and on that of the public liberty as well, which are still the strongest influences upon which they seek to make sure of securing their own interests.
The king has sent another paper to the Attorney General to be read to parliament in which he offers to give his consent to the decree for arming the kingdom and also to approve of the nomination of the lieutenants but under certain conditions, many reservations and other limitations, (fn. 9) which while securing his royal rights entirely deprive parliament of the authority to dispose of the control of these forces without his permission. Accordingly it remains doubtful for the present whether this offer will be accepted, as on previous occasions it did not meet with the approval of those who have the direction of affairs.
Meanwhile his Majesty, cherishing a natural resentment in his heart against those who have opposed the continuance of his greatness, has unexpectedly taken the office of Great Chamberlain from the earl of Essex, that of the lieutenancy of Ireland from the earl of Lester, and from the earl of Holland all the very rich appointments which he enjoyed in the palace, on the ground that they did not betake themselves to York in conformity with his orders for the exercise of their functions. (fn. 10) As other courtiers are threatened with the same misadventure the general uneasiness is increased with signs of desperate resolutions. Those who have been struck first are the most accredited leaders of the Puritan party and the authors of the present troubles. They have surrendered their appointments and given parliament a passionate account of what has happened. This has lead to a resolution that the king by despoiling of their offices those lords who in their devotion to the service of their country refused to give up their attendance at this Senate, has infringed the privileges of parliament, and they have decided to send deputies to remonstrate roundly with his Majesty upon the impropriety of this proceeding and to make a great effort to get him to retract. It does not seem reasonable to expect that this will be an easy task, yet in this country, which is so subject to change, it is necessary to wait to see the results before one can form a sound opinion.
In addition to all this the Lower House has issued an order forbidding anyone soever, under pain of being declared an enemy of the state, to dare to accept any of the appointments rendered vacant by this accident. So with disputes multiplying between the two parties it may well be doubted whether they will long continue to restrain themselves within the modest limits of offices with the results of the tongue and the pen.
The earl of Warwick, having received the patents of parliament and caring nothing for the veto of the king, set out three days ago for the sea ports to take up the command of the fleet. They are waiting with the most anxious impatience to learn whether he has met with the prompt obedience which he claims from the captains of the ships and their crews. If this should prove to be the case and he puts to sea in strength in these waters the Spaniards cannot be altogether easy about the proceedings of this commander, who makes no secret of his hostility to the interests of the Catholic king, whose forces surprised an island in the Indies in which the earl was concerned and inflicted other very serious losses there. (fn. 11) To recoup himself for these injuries, the earl formerly asked for letters of marque against the ships and goods of the Spaniards. Accordingly, now that he has this opportunity many fear that he may do his utmost to injure them and possibly give rise to fresh disturbance.
The petition of the county of Kent which was given to the printers last week, has been burned with contumely by the hand of the common hangman. This has caused right minded men to murmur and has roused the resentment of the people of that county in particular. It is still uncertain however whether they intend to persevere with their laudable purpose, and there is much curious speculation as to what will happen on the day appointed when they have threatened to appear with a numerous concourse of people in this city to demand boldly of parliament the satisfaction which they claim. On the other hand the people of Yorkshire have presented other petitions to the king and parliament in which they express the desire for the preservation without diminution of the royal prerogatives on the one hand and of the privileges of parliament on the other, and make some suggestion to act as mediators for a composition. These were received with expressions of the utmost pleasure by both parties, although men of sound judgment do not consider this move to be of advantage to the king's interests (vanno insinuando di rendersi mediatori per una compositione, et hanno riportati dalle parti voci di perfetto gradimento, ancorche non sia giudicato dagli uomini di buon senso vantaggioso agli interessi del Re questo motivo).
In conformity with what I wrote the little duke of York set out on Monday to go and join the king for the Garter celebrations which will take place next week. But only a few knights will attend, many being unwilling to disobey parliament, and others, not considering themselves safe, have thought it wise to keep away.
London, the 25th April, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
39. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
After repeated deliberations about the embassy extraordinary to England, the States have at last decided to nominate two of the leading men of their Assembly, Gasper Vosbergh, father of the one already selected to reside with your Serenity, and the other the first deputy and one of the most noble of the Province of Utrecht. (fn. 12) The Prince has contributed much to reconcile differences upon this decision. Although it has been taken by the unanimous decision of the States General, yet as those of Holland do not entirely approve, it will not be carried into effect very promptly. It may indeed happen that the entire course of the embassy will be confined to this nomination, because it is not easy for the Prince to attempt to move without the consent of the Hollanders, and even if his influence smoothed away all obstacles, the embassy could not be despatched very soon, since it is necessary to await first a fresh discussion among those deputies. They must assemble and make a more detailed enquiry into the matter and then report to their principals, to obtain the approval of the towns and small villages, without whose consent the decision cannot be carried through.
Meanwhile they claim here to have satisfied the queen entirely by this first demonstration. The Prince, as being partly interested, cannot, as he would like, press the matter on without compromising his credit as a good director. He suffers not a little from this opposition and apologises for it to her Majesty. It distresses him to see his authority too much restrained in this matter, and as his health keeps growing worse, it is feared that with the multiplicity of his anxieties and his age, the occurrence of some other unlucky circumstance might shorten his days, when he is most necessary to the establishment of his House.
They expect from England, a matter which greatly preoccupies the Prince of Orange, a substitute for the king there, to take the investiture of a property sufficient to produce a yearly revenue of 200,000 florins, promised as counter dowry to the Princess Mary, before they come to stipulate the marriage contract. She is to be put into immediate possession of this, with the consent of the States. They pledged themselves in the marriage treaty possibly more than they wished. They will have to consent to this investiture being secured upon lands or some other jurisdiction. These may certainly pertain to the House of Orange, but the maintenance of the act must be solemnly ratified in the name of all the Provinces. It is expected that infinite opposition will be encountered over this affair, since it is claimed that the ambassadors who were sent by the Prince and the government in common, went far beyond their commissions in this matter, and that therefore the state ought not to be bound to approve of all the terms of an agreement which contains things that are prejudicial. The people of most intelligence argue in this fashion, but the issue alone will show where the truth lies. That will soon be a matter of common knowledge, as the States of Holland are to move to the Hague next Thursday for this purpose.
The Hague, the 28th April, 1642.


  • 1. Proclamation dated at Stamford on the 16/26 March. Rushworth : Hist. Collections, Part III, Vol. I, pages 558, 559.
  • 2. Lord Willoughby of Eresby, Lord Dungarvan and Sir Anthony Erby. Rushworth : Hist. Collections, Part III, Vol. I, page 539.
  • 3. Apparently these were the Lion, Mary Rose, Happy Entrance, Providence, Greyhound, and Tenth Whelp. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641-3, pages 236, 237, 251, 282, 284.
  • 4. Not correct. On the contrary Inchquin scattered the besieging Irish in a sally on the 13th April. Bagwell : Ireland under the Stuarts, Vol. II, page 4.
  • 5. The text is given in Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. IV, pages 667-8 ; it is dated 21/31 March.
  • 6. See Thomas Mallett.
  • 7. Rupert was born on 17th December, 1619, and consequently was not yet 23. The fourth son referred to is Louis who died in 1625 aged two years. His godfather was the king of France. It was the next son, Edward, born in 1624, to whom Venice stood sponsor. Vol. XVIII of this Calendar, page 532.
  • 8. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. IV, pages 709, 710.
  • 9. A militia bill prepared by the king, which has not been preserved. Gardiner : Hist. of Eng., Vol. X, page 186.
  • 10. In the Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. IV, page 714, it is stated that Essex and Holland resigned, and this is borne out by a letter of the Secretary Nicholas. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641—3, page 307. The king ordered them to attend him at York or to give up their ensigns of office.
  • 11. Probably Tortuga near Hayti where the Spaniards extirpated the English colony early in 1635. Vol. XXIII of this Calendar, page 360.
  • 12. Jan van Reede sieur of Renswoude, Aitzema : Saken van Staet en Oorlogh. Vol. II, page 816.