Venice: July 1643

Pages 291-307

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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July 1643

July 2.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
285. To the Secretary in England.
Acknowledges receipt of his letters of the 14th ult. full of advices of the encroachments of the Lower House upon the royal prerogative, and with the news of Holland. The ambassador elect to the Most Christian, Giovanni Battista Nani, has sent some of his goods by sea in a ship sailing to Dover on its way to France. You will apply to parliament for a permit for the free transport of these goods, but you must do so by some private intermediary, without committing the state, in case the king is incapable of granting one, so that it may be delivered on the arrival of the ship and that the goods may be able to pass over in safety.
Ayes, 104. Noes, 7. Neutral, 11.
July 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Ingilterra. Venetian Archives.
286. Gerolamo Agostini. Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
By the occupation of a hill and with a fort well supplied with canon the royalists have made Oxford safe and prevented Essex from advancing compelling him to take a position unfavourable for attack and there to distribute his quarters, while they could await further reinforcements from other parts. Meanwhile, to avoid losing opportunities through sloth, and learning from Colonel Ori, who went over to him as reported, that supplies of money for the army were to reach Essex from here, the king sent Prince Rupert with 2000 horse to meet it. He missed the booty by a few hours, but beating up the nearest quarters he gained the advantage in a skirmish, though, it was of slight importance. I hear that another fight of greater consequence took place afterwards. (fn. 1) As they only speak of it here in whispers one concludes that they came off the worse, but the loss did not exceed 800 men.
The forces of Erford and Obton, united and powerful, have thwarted Waller from carrying out his orders to prevent their advance towards the king. They are moving in that direction, leaving Exeter surrounded by the troops of the country and some of their own.
The queen with 2000 infantry and 3000 horse has advanced successfully without opposition to Niuwarch, halfway between York and Oxford. She was to resume her march on Wednesday, her numbers augmented by the men found there. The route led through Cambridge, to avoid the hostile county of Nottingham, and it is thought that by now she cannot be far from the king, from whom the news is expected at any moment. The parliamentarians regret this union, not only because of the increase of the royal forces, but because the queen, in her hostility to them, will induce the king to take more vigorous steps, and will not listen to the corrupt advice of those friendly to this side who are about his Majesty.
Three leaders with sufficient forces were ordered to prevent the march, but they have done nothing, and there is deep suspicion here of their loyalty. For this reason they have sent Meldron, a Scot of good capacity, to take command of all those forces, and to arrest Hoddam, the chief commander among them, as he has done. This sudden step has given great concern to the other two leaders and to the troops as well, and creates some apprehension that the father, who has the custody of the important fortress of Ult, may not show resentment, although cruelty and barbarity have reached such a pitch among this people that passion has a much stronger influence than respect or natural affection.
These successful though insignificant actions together with the hope of considerable reinforcements for the king have encouraged the Lords, otherwise abject and despised, to draw up a paper in which they petition his Majesty to consider once again the old proposals for peace. This passed the Upper House and was proposed in the Lower on the plea of preventing so much bloodshed. They have taken time to consider, but it is considered very doubtful by many whether they will consent to fresh negotiations, after having given the rein to such violent and seditious proposals and deliberations.
On the question of counterfeiting the great seal coming before the Upper House for the second time they did not take a vote, but answered that if it was found necessary, they would agree, but seeing that the orders of the two Chambers were carried out without such authentication, they considered the use of the seal superfluous, since the use of the same seal by both parties would bring it into disrepute among the people.
The articles against the queen have been once read in the Lower House reduced to the number of 13. I have not yet been able to secure a copy but understand that it is all included under the two heads of having favoured the papistical religion and in having tried to introduce war into the kingdom.
Parliament has been ordered by the government of Scotland, although under another title, for the 22nd June. The king does not oppose this, but as it has been done without his assent, and forty days in advance of the period prescribed, he is sending writs to Scotland to convoke it by his own order. But the government has declined to distribute them, confirming its own convocation. Accordingly the king has issued an express prohibition, declaring that to proceed is an act of disobedience and rebellion. The people there are greatly incensed at this and have placed guards on the five lords sent there by his Majesty. They are collecting a powerful army, though it is not believed that this will be in a position to leave the country, since the royalists are active and serve to introduce division, if nothing else. Yet it will render that frontier a cause for misgiving especially with the weakening of the forces in Yorkshire, where Newcastle is left alone with little more than 8000 men.
The king is labouring to give peace to the rebels of Ireland, so that he may be able to use them in England. Parliament is therefore doing everything in its power to prevent it. Some days ago the commissioners for that kingdom were treating with individual merchants to induce them to provide money and ships, offering a reward upon certain towns and places when recovered. But the offer is opposed by the merchants interested in the first bargain, to whom the same places were pledged so it will be very difficult to raise money upon such an uncertain basis.
Parliament has issued a book blaming the States General for the permission given to the queen to leave Holland and take with her arms, money and officers, as also for the scant respect shown to their deputy Stricland, to whom they have given no reply as yet. It remarks on the first beginnings of their liberties, the causes and means whereby they freed themselves from the Catholic, and shows by passages from the scriptures how they are bound in conscience to support and assist the parliamentary cause by every possible means. The secretary left here by the Ambassador Joachimi says he will protest against this book, but he is waiting to hear first from his master, to whom he has written.
The Prince of Orange has collected his army at Filippine, intending, it would appear, to attack in Guelders rather than in Flanders, since it is considered too late to engage in long and difficult sieges.
London, the 3rd July, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
287. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The proposal by the Lords to the Commons to petition the king for the renewal of peace negotiations has not only met with opposition from the latter, but they have been so stirred by a fresh incident, which I will relate, that the sword is the only antidote left to assuage their poison. His Majesty has sent a long proclamation here, in which after enumerating the many audacious proposals of the parliamentarians, he puts in the forefront the charges against the queen for having carried out his orders, and concludes by declaring the parliament null because it is not free, and its acts void, though reserving to himself the power to confirm those which he considers for the general good of the realm. He protests that he will not receive any more deputations from them, as being a body unlawfully assembled. At the same time he pardons those who have in any way offended against the duties of good subjects, except 17, including five peers. He exhorts them to come to Oxford, where he hints at an intention, though not clearly expressed, to assemble the same parliament. He promises to receive them with paternal affection, allowing them such liberty of speech as may serve to settle matters in a manner satisfactory to every moderate person.
They have not allowed the publication of this proclamation, and use all diligence to stop copies. Yet it has been read in full parliament. After this one of the leaders of the revolt spoke in the name of the Lower House. He said that the intention of the king was now clear, to destroy parliament, abolish the fundamental laws of the realm and reduce to slavery the liberty given by God to the English people. In fulfilment of the oath taken by both chambers they ought to unite and encourage everyone to uphold their liberty not only with their substance but with the last drop of their blood. They must prosecute the trial of the queen with energy ; renew the seal ; forbid all correspondence with Oxford ; maintain and increase trade outside for the benefit of the customs ; register the horses in London ; make no more proposals to the king ; press to the utmost for Scotch help ; and finally, put aside all consideration and endeavour that the ruin shall fall on him who is trying to destroy this fabric. (fn. 2)
This discourse produced the effect intended, and the well intentioned Lords, intimidated by such vigour in the Commons, let slip the opportunity to oppose, which was propitious and dreaded, since the king shows himself powerful and resolute. So his Majesty will not derive an advantage equivalent to the damage which these lords have brought him, and at present they pay more attention to preserving their own property than to recovering their authority, fallen, with that of the king, into the hands of the people.
The king has also gained a considerable advantage by the death, at the same time, of Hampden, one of the 17 leading rebels and considered wiser than any of the others (di maggior condotta d' ogni altro). He was wounded in the first encounter with the royal cavalry, acting as colonel and with the direction of the whole army of Essex.
This general remains in the same quarters as before, and is thought more likely to retire than to advance to any attack. This has caused murmuring in this city, which has had two great alarms in recent nights, parties of the royal cavalry having sacked some places quite near.
The marquis of Erfort and Obton have the way clear to Oxford. Waller is following them, but at a distance, being in no condition to attack. But they are moving slowly, to receive contributions and see the issue at Exeter, which is surrounded by their men.
The queen started from Niuwarch towards Nottingham, where meeting with opposition from the enemy, at the first encounter she decided to retire, five leading men of her followers being slain. She is still staying at Niuwarch which is quite strong. It is not known whether she will again attempt to pass. At the news of her moving the king sent 1500 horse to meet her, while Essex sent 2000 to reinforce his side, who have all returned.
Meanwhile the tutor of the two young princes here having died, parliament has appointed another, a creature of their own (a sua devotione). (fn. 3)
On Sunday and Wednesday last, being the day of the general fast, they decided to give the oath of the covenant in the churches ; but it was not done, as they are somewhat afraid of proposing it since many leaders of the army have refused to take it. Yet they have printed the order to be observed by every parish, and say that it will take place on Sunday next. Meanwhile many are trying to escape to avoid being forced against their wills and consciences.
Parliament has assembled in Scotland against the will of the king, but under the title of assembly of the estates. No news has yet arrived of any decision of consequence there, although an unfriendly spirit is displayed against his Majesty's party, and they are energetically collecting troops, which will serve to defend the assembly and to enforce its decisions. What more they will be used for remains in doubt. The parliamentarians here do not neglect, even by inventions, to sharpen the hatred of that nation against the king. They state that their commanders in Ireland have taken a person sent by his Majesty with patents and commission to lead an army of rebels into Scotland, intending to take it to England also. They are preparing a declaration upon this fact, which is as veracious as the conspiracy of London, and meanwhile they sent a courier yesterday to Scotland with the news.
Patents having arrived from General Essex for a Court Martial on the alleged accomplices in the conspiracy, they have chosen as President the earl of Manchester, one of the five lords excluded from the pardon, with authority to choose what judges he pleases, up to 20, though twelve will be enough to act. The cause is being heard to-day in the Guildhall before a great crowd, the occasion being used to make it more credible (per imprimer la credenza). Yesterday evening Waller, possibly with some hope of saving his life, accused of complicity the earls of Northumberland and Holland, men of the highest standing, who were immediately examined, but they have not yet found a way to imprison them.
Some small English merchantmen crossing to this kingdom from Dunkirk escorted by a ship of war sent by Warwick, were taken without any ceremony by the Dutch, under the pretext that they were carrying contraband. However, Warwick has had his revenge, as ten very rich Dutch ships arriving afterwards in the Downs, some of them for the West, he had them seized, informing parliament, who confirmed the arrest until the others should be released. It is expected that this will be done without further dispute.
It seems that the Prince of Orange meant to besiege Ulst, as he circled about it with his army, but ultimately he has let it appear that he does not mean to undertake any siege, and he only took the field to give some outward satisfaction to the French.
London, the 10th July, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 14.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
288. The Secretary of England came into the Collegio and spoke as follows :
There has been a great disturbance at my house this morning. A gentleman of ours took a gondola from the ferry with one of my gondoliers and went to carry off a nun. As the nuns called after them, the gondoliers stopped rowing, not having known the woman for a nun as she entered the boat cloaked. My gondolier came to inform me of the incident and I have dismissed him. I have come to inform your Serenity that you may know I have no part or blame in the matter, and I wash my hands of such a black, shameful and infamous affair, nor do I know what more I can do to show my displeasure and my innocence.
The doge said, We have not heard anything of this. It seems strange that such things should happen from your house with your household. We will make enquiry.
The Resident replied, The six years I have resided here may testify to your Serenity the manner in which I have conducted myself, and there has been no mischance or accident to disturb it. With that he made his bow and went out.
July 16.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
289. The Secretary of England came into the Collegio and said :
To avoid being compromised in an action such as that of recent memory, I came to tell you of all that I knew in the matter. It seemed strange that this youth should have tried to commit such an excess, because he was considered, even among the English, as most modest and discreet. But having little experience in these affairs of women he has been deceived by a wicked old woman. If he had meant to carry off the girl he would have gone with more guards and more disguised, he would have employed more rowers and not have employed one in livery. If this does not suffice to prove his innocence, I hope that the certainty that he had no intention of doing wrong may have some influence with your Serenity.
The doge replied, The violation of places reserved for the service of God is an intolerable crime. If he has any defence, justice will hear it ; in the meantime it will take its course, and we hope that the result will be to absolve him and send him back to your house. With that the secretary made his bow and went out.
July 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
290. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England to the Doge and Senate.
General Essex has now been a long time confronting the king with a numerous army, not only without attempting any generous enterprise, but wasting money and men in sloth. He has not even hindered parties of the enemy cavalry who, confiding in his negligence and indolence have advanced to ravage places right up to this city. Moved by this, there has been much murmuring against him, and this coming to his ears has induced him to write an indignant letter to the Lower House complaining that all his actions or delays are censored without consideration for the numerous obstacles he has to deal with. He declared that it is unsuitable and prejudicial to confer with him about his plans, secrecy being necessary for their proper management, and he intimates that he would have carried them into execution if he had been promptly supplied with what he asked. If not, he asked them to choose another general, placing his office in their hands. Such a letter has caused no slight consternation, owing to the difficulty of meeting his requests, the city itself having grown tired of contributing. While they were discussing their reply another letter arrived from the general stating that in conformity with his orders he had essayed to give the oath to the army, and this had led to no small stir, twelve of his most trusted colonels having refused to take it. Since it was impossible for him not only to fulfil the order but to quiet the disturbance, he asked that commissioners might be sent to consult with him and to perform what was requisite with greater authority. The fact was borne out by another letter from these same colonels to the parliament ; but it was only read before secret commissioners, who are in considerable doubt owing to the ambiguity of one of their expressions, in which they say they know what is becoming to good and loyal subjects. Accordingly 6 commissioners were chosen without delay, two of the Upper and four of the Lower House, who set out immediately for the spot. But they had not gone 20 miles when they had to return, on hearing that the royal cavalry was occupying all the roads, and that it was trying to draw the army of Essex into a battle. But this has not taken place, as he has withdrawn to Alsberi, and it is believed he will soon return to Windsor having lost little less than 8000 men, with sick and deserters and a few engagements, in all of which he was worsted.
These favourable events are seconded by a considerable victory won by the king's arms in the North, in which the earl of Newcastle routed Fairfax (fn. 4) and has him shut up in Bradford, without having raised the siege of Litz, so there is little doubt of the capture of those two places, which will ensure the obedience of the great county of York, estimable for itself, but much more as being next to Scotland.
The queen did not succeed in her attempt to reach Oxford by Nottingham, as I wrote. It is reported that she is again ready to move. She has written to the king that she is strong enough to pass, and needs no help. But she does not say which way she will come, hoping that secrecy and speed will constitute her surest escort.
Meanwhile the son of Oddam, governor of Uls, has escaped and gone to arrange with his father for the surrender of that important fortress to his Majesty, the first stone of offence in this great machine. But the soldiers, grown suspicious have arrested both and all the family, sending them here by sea. They were found to have amassed 40,000l. sterling. The incident is not all loss to the king, for though he has not obtained that fortress, he has reduced the rebel party and given rise to discords among them.
Exeter is still besieged, with good hope, and Warwick has failed in all his efforts to introduce succour by small boats from the sea, some of them having fallen into the hands of the besiegers. The marquis of Erfort united with Prince Maurice, has not ventured to leave those quarters at the mercy of Waller, who is respected as a soldier of experience, weak as he is.
Laws and justice being destroyed four persons have so far been condemned to death on the pretence of complicity in the conspiracy, who were guilty of no other crime than devotion to God and loyalty to the king. Two of them have suffered, with courage on Wednesday the spectacle being given in front of their own houses. (fn. 5) Waller who was arrested first as the chief, has not yet been sentenced. He hopes to save himself being induced by his feeble heart and spirit to accuse those who are most distasteful to the party, as he is told to do. Five pecrs have been nominated by him so far, who display an equal determination to uphold the privileges of their rank at all risks and not to submit to any jurisdiction contrary to the laws.
Last Saturday was held the first sitting of the synod at Westminster at which there was nothing but a sermon. They have not met since, being convoked merely to give an apparent satisfaction in the present confusion of religion, and not to regulate anything with true zeal of devotion.
The parliament under the name of assembly is still sitting at Edinburgh, but in great confusion. It has done nothing so far except to declare some of the royalists traitors. The city is defended by 10,000 soldiers under the command of Lesle. As governor of the castle he wished it to be supplied with food for a year, but parliament will only supply it month by month. This shows their mistrust of that commander, and this must necessarily alienate his affection, which the king has already cultivated with many benefits.
The Dutch ships are still sequestrated, with considerable loss to the merchants concerned. These remonstrate through their agents, but have not been able to obtain their release. There is talk indeed of bringing them into the River, which would not be without danger to the cargo, and consequently of increasing misunderstandings with the States.
The Prince of Orange seems clearly determined not to engage in any enterprise in this campaign. He remains entrenched at Sas di Ghent, his sole object being to avoid offending the French ambassador.
In execution of my instructions I performed the offices by letters to the Secretary of State, of which I enclose copies together with his reply, showing the views and desires of his Majesty. (fn. 6)
London, the 17th July, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 20.
Cinque Savii alla Mercanzia. Venetian Archives.
291. Representations have been made from Zante and Cephalonia that the price of currants is so reduced that whereas they sold for 35 to 40 reals the thousand they now fetch barely 6 or 8, and they attribute this falling off chiefly to excessive taxation. We reply that the islands have themselves wrought the mischief by increasing the plantations, so that where, as in Cephalonia, they used to produce 8 to 9 millions, the output is now about 15 millions. At Zante the increase is of 50 per cent. and over. The laws against further plantation have had no effect and we are of opinion that they should be enforced.
With regard to reducing the duties, the newest duty, of 5 per thousand, to which objection is taken, depends upon the traders themselves. The duty was imposed to attract them to Venice, instead of going to Genoa and Leghorn, and they can always escape it by coming to this city. A remission of the duty would only worsen the condition on this mart. If the merchants do not come here with their complete cargoes it is true that they are subject to a tax of 10 ducats on currants, 5 ducats for the newest duty and 4 ducats for the ordinary export duty, together with the loss on the exchange. We do not recommend the abolition of the newest duty, but if the Senate contemplates some reduction of the duties, which are certainly very heavy, this might be done on the old duty of 10 ducats, since we consider that every facility should be given to the English, in order to remove restrictions upon trading.
With regard to the petition from Zante to have the price of currants fixed, we do not consider this practicable, as the price depends upon the abundance or scarcity of a commodity, and it is not likely that the English would come of their own accord to trade at fixed prices.
Dated at the office, the 20th July, 1643.
Niccolo Pisani Savii.
Zuanne Francesco Venier
Piero Pisani
Alvise Contarini
July 21.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Roma. Venetian Archives.
292. The French ambassador came into the Collegio and spoke in conformity with a paper which he handed in, he said :
All the ministers here agree in pitying the case of the secretary of England here, and I add my supplication that compassion may be shown to him, or his punishment reduced, as his error was due to youthful ardour more than to anything else.
The doge replied that the fault was very grave because it was a question of a holy place. They would take into consideration his recommendation, to do what was possible, but the excess was very grave. The ambassador said, he is worthy of sympathy, rose and departed.
July 24.
Senato. Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
293. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
General Essex has written to parliament from Alsberi that with his cavalry reduced by desertion and sickness while the few left lack arms, money and spirit, he is in no position to keep the field in the face of the daily increasing forces of the king, unless he is promptly reinforced and assisted. As it is to be feared that the provision for so many contingencies may not be easy or quick, he considers it prudent and even necessary to suggest proposals for an adjustment to his Majesty, with safeguards to secure religion, the laws and their lives, prescribing a single day for the treaty, and if that passed without a conclusion, he would ask his Majesty to withdraw to a safe place and give battle to the army, as he did not wish to fight against his Majesty's person.
The tenor of this letter, so contrary to the views of the most seditious parliamentarians is enough in itself to make it likely that it has aroused the most lively suspicions of Essex, especially after his other letters, which I reported. Some proposed to remove him and appoint another general in his place, but the majority thought the sudden change dangerous, especially in face of the royal army, his leading officers being under obligation to him, with his most liberal table. They therefore decided to write him a letter, on which they voted, pointing out that the king's last proclamation annulling the parliament and refusing to receive any message from it, prevents them from making proposals of peace. Moreover they cannot decide this without the consent of the Scots, who are interested in the cause. This would take time and would be an improper demand under present circumstances. He must therefore maintain his army in strength and loyalty, which will soon be reinforced and provisioned to enable it to resist any assault as well as to undertake such enterprises as he may deem fit for the common liberty. Meanwhile by an extraordinary effort they have sent him 20,000l. sterling, which will not go far.
The Upper House, overborne and intimidated by violence, has not only approved this letter, but has urged the commissioners for Scotland to start at once, to induce that nation to enter England with an army. But it was only carried by two votes, seven to nine.
The inhabitants of London, even the most zealous for liberty, tired of the taxes and suspicious of General Essex, have intimated to the mayor and council that they do not intend to keep on enriching with their money those who are interested in making the war last for ever. Instead of contributing, as they have done so far, they are ready to put into the field and to maintain entirely at their expense 10,000 soldiers, but they want the commander and the officers to be dependent on the Council. When laid before parliament the suggestion was not approved as they saw clearly that the city aims at usurping the chief power over them. However, they are negotiating and necessity may easily induce parliament to concede something, especially as the support of this war rests upon the city alone (dipendendo massime il sostenimento di questa guerra dalla sola citta).
Meanwhile, to help themselves they report two victories gained by Waller over Obton and the marquis of Erfort ; but the truth is difficult to learn since they do not allow any couriers to pass but those who bring news to suit their wishes.
News is also eagerly awaited of the queen joining the king, which should now have happened. Nothing is certain except that she has set out with 3000 foot and 2000 good horse, and has passed the most dangerous places. The king has sent a part of his army a few miles from Oxford to meet her.
In Yorkshire Newcastle has captured Litz and is still besieging Bradford. Fairfax has escaped to Uls. They have secured the river by placing a garrison at a post near by. He has sent full information here of his plans and requirements by the ship which is bringing Odam, which has not yet arrived owing to contrary winds.
Although four were condemned to death for the conspiracy, only two have paid the penalty, and the others are kept in suspense. The death of the first did not produce a favourable impression among the generality of the people, for though ignorant they cannot help resenting the absolute power usurped by parliament over the lives of all, breaking and abusing the laws. Some lords, ladies and others are still in prison, and they do not deal with their cases, although they press for this.
The synod has met a second time, when ten articles of the Anglican religion were brought forward to be examined, to the scandal of the more devout who think it strange to call in question the foundation of their faith. They will proceed slowly as they only want to gain time, without deciding anything, to avoid offending the other sectaries, who all help for the immediate occasion, binding themselves to a single form of belief (obligandosi ad una sola credenza). In the parliament or assembly of Scotland nothing has been done except the exclusion from it, under lying pretences, of all known partisans of the king. They have, however, reinstated some who demeaned themselves to ask pardon and to bind themselves to the party.
In execution of your instructions of the 2nd July an ample passport from parliament has been sent for the import and export of the goods of Sig. Nani. I presented a memorial in the name of Edward Piters, merchant at Dover, and under a pretext of bringing to notice his efforts on behalf of that nobleman I assisted him with my offices to the most confidential parliamentarians, so I got what I wanted, using all the caution prescribed.
London, the 24th July, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
294. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince of Orange remains inactive between Flanders and Brabant, amid the murmurs of some of the Provinces, who burdened with taxes see no gain from their arms except to support what the French have won. Don Francisco di Melo, quartered between Sas de Gand and Bruges has now over 80 cornets besides his infantry. He has sent Cantelmo with 1400 men to occupy the route by which the Dutch come, near Namur. General Bech, having entered Luxemburg with 5000 foot and 1500 horse, is trying to relieve Teonville and to harass the French besieging it.
The States of all the Provinces are to meet shortly at the Hague, to make some change in the government. It is said they mean to limit the power of the States General, which often let themselves be won by the gold and authority of the Prince of Orange. They will draw up instructions for the plenipotentiaries going to the Congress of Munster, though only the province of Holland has chosen hers, Matanes, Pau and count William of Nassau. The others are disputing over the persons, and are in no hurry since it seems doubtful if the congress will be held, the French apparently desiring the peace negotiations to be at their Court and not elsewhere.
The king here has written angrily to the States General because they have treated with Stricland, and received him as a public minister. He protests that this is not only ingratitude for favours received from his predecessors, but an infringement of the alliance with this crown. They seem to care little for this since the deputies for the Province of Zeeland have proposed in the Assembly to ordain one day each month for a solemn fast and prayers for the success of the English parliament ; but nothing has been decided yet. In Rotterdam there are persons sent by his Majesty to buy arms, munitions and other provisions of war, but they find it difficult as the merchants want an insurance for the ships supposing they are captured by Warwick.
Of the English ships seized by the Dutch they say they will restore everything known to belong to the merchants here, but the Dutch arrested in England are not satisfied with this, as they have suffered considerable losses.
The King of Denmark lays claim to dominion over the Baltic Sea. His Admiral required certain Swedish ships to lower their topsails to him in recognition of this. As they would not obey the king has issued orders to treat the Swedes as enemies. Count Udmor son of that king by his second wife, is to marry the daughter of the Muscovite, which will cause the utmost jealousy to the crown of Sweden. The Ambassador of the King of Congo has proceeded to the army and had audience of the Prince of Orange, but it was purely complimentary. Ten rich ships have reached Amsterdam from the East for the Company there.
London, the 24th July, 1643.
July 27.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
295. The Resident of the King of Great Britain came into the Collegio and spoke as follows :
I have this letter for your Serenity from the count Palatine. The letter was read and is as follows :
Charles Louis, count Palatine of the Rhine etc., to Francisco Erizzo, Doge of Venice.
His occasion for writing is the peace conference to take place at Osnabruck on the 1—11 prox., firstly to thank the doge for obtaining a safe conduct for him from the emperor ; secondly to commend to the Signory the cause of his House so that it may be restored to its rights and dignities. If the ancient liberties of Germany are not vindicated there will be no peace in the empire or elsewhere. Compliments.
Dated at the Hague, the 29th May, 1643.
After the reading the doge said the republic had a sincere regard for the Palatine and will always try to serve him, whenever opportunity offers. If necessary the Signory will send an answer.
The Resident then said Sir John Douglas petitions through me for the few months' advanced pay for past service, notwithstanding the necessity of his proceeding to England to serve his Majesty. The doge said they would make enquiry and issue orders in accordance with the requirements and justice.
The Resident further said, I must again earnestly beseech your Serenity for the release of the member of my house who is in prison. His innocence will appear from the examinations, and if he is punished on earth he will certainly be absolved in Heaven. I will not repeat how the affair occurred, but what happened to him might have happened to any one, as he did not go with the intention of doing ill, and any way it is better to absolve a guilty man than to punish an innocent one. I would also draw attention to the rank of the individual, my own office, the privileges of ministers, the rights of nations, good relations with the king, my master, and what you yourself would feel in like case. I only ask most earnestly for his acquittal and release.
The doge said, We have no information upon what you represent, and we have never heard that the law of nations and the privileges of ministers admit of violence and scandal in sacred places. However, we will make enquiries and will certainly do all that we can. With this the Resident took leave and went out.
Esposizioni, Principi. Filza, Venetian Archives. Memorial.
296. Sir John Douglas feels bound in honour to return to England to serve the king, his master, who has sent for him by a special letter, though when this occasion has ceased he most earnestly desires to serve your Serenity, and he left Italy with this firm determination. He wishes this memorial to testify to his eternal obligation to the republic and his desire to sacrifice himself for its service. He asks for an advance of the few months' pay due to him, and will take this as a particular favour.
Col. John Douglas has been paid at the rate of 100 ducats a month up to the 20th March, 1642. The returns show that his company on the main land which he led under Captain Christopher Sheston was inspected by the Proveditore General Zorzi on the 24th August, 1642.
July 27.
Consiglio di X. Parti Criminale. Venetian Archives.
297. That the reports of the Captain of the Conseglio and of the Inspectors of the monasteries about the removal of a nun from the monastery of the Convertite on the Giudecca by a youth in a cloak and by a woman be taken for the process, together with the examinations.
Ayes, 16. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
That Margarita Lucarda of Vesentino be detained and committed to the Criminal Collegio.
Ayes, 15. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.
That John Bren, an Englishman, be detained and committed to the Criminal Collegio.
Ayes, 13. Noes, 3. Neutral, 0.
July 31.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra, Venetian Archives.
298. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The false and mendacious reports of Waller's victories have been converted into a complete defeat of his army, he himself barely escaping with a few horse to Bristol. (fn. 7) After frequent but brief skirmishes between his army and Obton's the latter found himself so short of munitions, that he had to retire, although with advantage. Waller took occasion to report a victory, which was magnified again here, to encourage the party, much cast down by other accidents. The king learning of Obton's requirements sent Prince Rupert from Oxford in all haste, with sufficient provisions and a reinforcement of 3000 horse. These surprised Waller, scattering his troops and capturing all his baggage, with 16 pieces of artillery, 30 flags and 8 cornets. The wife of this esteemed and beloved commander (fn. 8) accuses General Essex to parliament, who when asked by three messages to approach Oxford to secure Waller against attack there by a diversion, would never listen. The suspicions against Essex are thus constantly gaining ground. Although some think that this is due to envy at his high rank, the majority are persuaded that he has secret relations with the king, his recent indolence and the letters written to parliament being strong reasons to prove it. However, two days ago he wrote that it will not be long before he makes the weight of his sword felt, and make the people speak differently from what it has done about his actions, as he has sent for troops which are under other leaders as a reinforcement. But the city of London has no confidence in this. They are making great strides with their levy of 10,000 foot, for which many of the citizens have voluntarily contributed money, and their example will force others to contribute. The general for this army is not yet nominated, but the people incline to give it to Waller, who at present is unemployed. He will be more acceptable to the parliamentarians than anyone else, as one of their own members and over whom they can claim greater powers in any differences which seem to be threatened, between the city and parliament. Their aims are different, the former being moved by true zeal for religion, while the leaders of the latter act from private, though concealed, ambitious interest. The citizens will expose themselves to the most extreme perils and many believe they will win the crown of martyrdom if they lose their lives in such an obstinate rebellion.
A paper started by private enthusiasts is going round for signatures which, after slandering to the utmost the past actions of the king, petitions parliament to force everyone capable of bearing arms to take the field to resist any attempt that may be made against the city. They have good cause to fear, from what I am about to relate.
Last Saturday the queen arrived safely at Oxford, the king meeting her several miles out. She met with no resistance on the road, which was extended somewhat for greater security. She brought with her 3000 foot and 2000 horse, with money and munitions of war as well. The same rejoicings which greeted her entry served to celebrate the victory over Waller, news of which arrived simultaneously. Newcastle, reinforced by lucky arrivals of men, is not only master of Yorkshire but makes himself feared outside, having gained an advantage in Lancaster against the countrymen, with hope that he may soon have Manchester, the capital. Fairfax is shut up in Uls with the garrison alone, and that is the only place left to parliament in Yorkshire, as it is bathed by the sea.
The prisoners Odam and Colonel Gorin have arrived from there this week. They have not yet been examined, but Fairfax's brother has appeared to accuse the Governor Odam of having refused to assist his army.
The violence shown in administering the oath does great harm to the parliamentarians, as in spite of this the oath is refused by the majority of the people, who know that it is improper and directly contrary to others taken. Thus many of the minor parts of the city (della poca parte della citta), although most devoted to the party, have asked for the exception of some points from it, and it has not been possible to refuse them. In the county of Kent, which is so important, it has caused a rising of 3000 men. These have gathered at Senoc, 20 miles from here, whither parliament is hourly sending with great energy guns and cavalry, to prevent other gatherings or attempts. But as those people have been in communication with (pratticati) the king for some time past, the assistance intended for them should be ready, namely the duke of Lenos with a strong force ; but it has not yet passed. His Majesty designs to close the river on that side, and then to do the same above, in order to reduce this city to want of all provisions and so force it to submit, without risking his troops in attacking the fortifications, which would be useless in such case. Amid so many considerable disadvantages the rebels do not lose heart, but the present occasion serves as a means to persuade those concerned to help them, and so they are eagerly devoting themselves to making an appeal to the Scots. Negotiations have taken place with the commissioners of that nation here, and they offered them all the goods of the Catholics and royalists taken by their own armies. But while the Scots express their readiness to help, they make it clear that they are not willing to incur a certain expense for uncertain and feeble hopes of reward. They have presented 13 articles with their demands, which are reasonable if ticklish, though impossible to carry out by those here, as they claim large sums of money, and places of refuge as well. They were examined by a few commissioners, who would not inform parliament in order not to discourage it about such help by so many difficulties. It is true that while they are urging the departure of the six deputies destined for that kingdom for some time past, three of them have cried off under various pretexts, either because of the difficulties they foresee or because they see some advantage on the side of the king. Yet they have not hesitated to put in the Tower Lord Grey, the first to refuse. Meanwhile, the mission cannot start so soon as was expected owing to the need of making new appointments. Meanwhile, they have persuaded the province of Zeeland to write to the Assembly of the States, representing the danger to their faith. To create the belief that this is the sole aim of the rebels they have ordered an extraordinary solemn fast in the city for to-day.
Melo, feeling satisfied that the Prince of Orange will attempt nothing of importance, being now retired to Schinscans, proposes to leave only the local militia opposite him while he takes his whole army to join Bech to raise the siege of Teonville. All the deputies have met at the Hague to choose plenipotentiaries for the congress of Munster and to decide other important affairs.
When the earl of Warwick met with some Dutch ships of war the captains would not vail their topsails, saying that they wished to see the royal commissions.
I enclose a copy of an article from the Mercurius Aulicus of last week, which is printed at Oxford with the king's consent and information from the Secretary of State. You will observe the reply given to the office of the Secretary Talbot, which was in character different from the other, and they draw conclusions favourable to his Majesty therefrom.
London, the 31st July, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 299. Copy of Article from the Mercurius Aulicus of 10th July, 1643, old style. (fn. 9)
On the same day by divers letters from over sea was reported the regret with which foreign states had heard of the indignities done to the king by some of his rebel subjects, particularly the republic of Venice, which would gladly have contributed to support this monarchy, as appears by their statement to Mr. Talbot, the Resident, on the 1st of June. From this it appears that if his Majesty had not entirely cast himself upon the loyalty and affection of his subjects to recover his rights and theirs, he would have no reason to despair of the help of the kings, his neighbours, who are so deeply interested, since the most serene republic, which is so distant, expresses its readiness to assist him.
[Italian, from the English.]


  • 1. No doubt the skirmish at Chalgrove on the 18—28 June at which Hampden was mortally wounded.
  • 2. The proclamation was read in the Lords by Lord Say on the 26th June, O.S. On the following day Pym reported on the matter in the Lower House and is no doubt the author of the speech referred to. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. VI, page 108. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. III, page 146.
  • 3. On the 28th June, O.S., it was resolved that Lady Vero should be governess to the king's children, presumably Mary, widow of Horace, baron Vere of Tilbury. For some reason she did not take up the appointment and on the 28th July it was resolved to appoint the countess of Dorset. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. III, pages 148, 186.
  • 4. At Adwalton Moor, on the 10th July.
  • 5. Nathaniel Tompkins and Richard Chaloner.
  • 6. Not in the file.
  • 7. The battle of Roundway Down on the 13—23 July.
  • 8. His second wife Anne Finch daughter of the first earl of Winchelsea.
  • 9. The extract is from the Mercurius Aulicus of the 2nd July.