Venice: May 1642, 1-15

Pages 45-53

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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May 1642, 1-15

May 1.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
40. To the Ambassador in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his last letters, although they have not answered the last two. Commendation of his offices and advices. Confidence that he will do his utmost in the affair of the currants, to preserve the trade unhampered by private interests or by those of the Company. He will pay his respects to the ambassador selected to reside at Venice at the earliest opportunity, in anticipation of the time when he will be able to perform a like office with the king. Enclose the sheet of advices.
Ayes, 107. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
May 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
41. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After many discussions they have settled on their reply to his Majesty's proposal touching his proceeding to Ireland, ostensibly in order to reduce the rebels. On Saturday they sent to York three commissioners, one of the Upper and two of the Lower House, (fn. 1) with instructions to read their resolution and present it to the king. Although they do not allow this to be seen before the return of the deputies I gather that it consists in dissuading him from that journey, and that in a very insolent manner they point out to him the personal inconvenience involved and the certain peril to which he will expose himself if he acts upon his orignial resolution since parliament is determined not to grant him the assistance for which he asks, in such an event, with other sentiments which ill become their duty as obedient subjects. In conclusion they state that if he leaves the kingdom the ordinary supplies for the maintenance of his royal household will not be continued. On the other hand they beseech him to join with them for the interests of his people, not to remain away from this city any longer, to assist parliament by his presence and the government of the monarchy. What his Majesty will reply to such insolent declarations is not yet known. The return of the commissioners is awaited with the utmost impatience to learn the particulars of his latest intentions, from which it is reasonable to suppose some inference may be safely drawn as to the hopes of a speedy accommodation or about the persistence of the disorders which trouble this island.
All the reports which come from York refer to the inflexible determination of the king to proceed to Ireland speedily and that after the celebration of the Gaiter ceremony, he will proceed to Carlil and cross from there to that kingdom. Of the more secret purposes which lie hidden in his breast they speak ambiguously, and everyone forms his opinion according to his personal bias. Accordingly one must wait for the event itself to supply that sound information which is so much to be desired.
Meanwhile the unfriendly parliamentarians try with all their might to render this decision distasteful to the people, as though they do not believe that it will be carried into effect. They declare that when his Majesty arrives in that island he proposes to put an end to the disturbances there by an agreement, upon any terms, no matter how disadvantageous, and by permitting the exercise of the Catholic religion. He will thus win the affection of the rebels, keep them firmly to their obedience and at the same time invite them to cross armed to England with him, in order with this assistance to reestablish himself in his ancient greatness, with the ruin of the laws and the country. This has had some effect on the feelings of the most zealous and has likewise served to stop the spread of a sentiment in favour of his Majesty, which many had recently expressed.
All those who in the past offered considerable sums of money down for the defence of that island, on condition that they received in return a portion of the goods confiscated from the rebels, are now refusing to fulfil their promises, because of these fresh circumstances, being persuaded that if his Majesty goes there, he will very soon bring the contest to an end by a general pardon, and this troubles the ill-affected not a little. Nevertheless they do not relax their energy over the levies of the English for that campaign, and it is said that these will be commanded by the Earl of Essex, one who has made himself known more than any other as the declared enemy of his Majesty's interests and also as an inexorable persecutor of the Catholic faith.
In the midst of all these suspicions which parliament betrays, they repeated with urgency their request to the king to give permission for the removal from Uls to the Tower here of all the munitions which are in that fortress. But by persisting in his refusal, with some sharpness, the king has increased the ill feeling and suspicion of the interested parties. After many perilous disputes they have decided to send a squadron of armed ships to those waters in order to carry this out by force, considering it unlikely that they can get this from his Majesty by way of insinuation or negotiation ; but so far they have not issued orders for this to be done. As many of the Upper House have protested against this men of experience are inclined to believe that they will move with caution, in order not to increase disorder by such a step or add incitements to the opposing parties to rush to extremes.
The earl of Warwick still remains in the river with the fleet, patiently waiting for a favourable wind to put to sea. As the wind is blowing from the right quarter to-day he may put out from the Thames in a few hours. The precise number of ships that he may take with him is not quite certain as yet, since all are not completely fitted out. So far he has met with prompt obedience from the captains of ships and the sailors, but it is freely stated that he is not looked on with a friendly eye (che sia poco ben veduto). Men of a cautious disposition do not approve of his decision to undertake the exercise of this charge without the royal good will. They consider his remaining there undesirable and augur for him a very unhappy fate in the course of time. But those who look more deeply into these disturbances consider that the command of this force will tend to facilitate an advantageous settlement with his Majesty in every eventuality, not only for Warwick, but for the earls of Holland and Niuborgh, his brothers, as well, who without apprehension of punishment, have made themselves leaders of the party of the malcontents. The French ambassador has not neglected to contribute his share, with adroitness, for the appointment of Warwick to this fleet, in the hope that as an enemy of the Spaniards he may give rise to some incident which will lead to quarrels between the two crowns and so injure both.
Lengthy discussions have taken place over the conditions suggested by his Majesty for putting the kingdom in a state of defence. In the end parliament laid aside the rigour of its first demands and two days ago was disposed to accept them, with the sole difference that instead of one year which the king offers, the control of these forces should continue for two years in the hands of those chosen. It does not seem that his Majesty would object to this. He has thus gained the point on this question of reducing the most haughty parliamentarians to yield to his most righteous satisfaction, while on the one hand he has preserved intact his own royal prerogatives, and on the other he has damped the hopes of those ambitious to strike if they should attempt some fresh schemes in the future to the detriment of his prerogatives. The incident has encouraged good men and given them some confidence of seeing these differences composed by friendly means. There are some now who think of devoting themselves to inducing the queen, who is staying in Holland, to take up negotiations for a sincere adjustment. Many of the parliamentarians even, struck by the suspicion that the people of Kent may persist in their move in favour of the king, express themselves to the effect that this will not be difficult. God grant it may happen for the good of this royal house and of the whole realm as well (s' e da un canto conservato illeso il dritto della propria realita e dall' altro ha inlanguite le speranze agli ambitiosi di colpir, quando novelle inventioni tentassero in avvenire di derogar alle sue prerogative, successo che ha inalzato gl' animi dei buoni a qualche confidenza di vedere con mezzi amichevoli composte queste differenze et hormai vi e chi pensa di impiegarsi con disporre la Regina, che sta in Olanda a maneggi di un sincero aggiustamento, il quale molti Parlamentarii medesimi percossi dalli sospetti che li sudditi di Cancio continuino li mossi a favore del Re, si lascianointender che non sara di si difficile riuscità. Che voglia Dio segua per il bene di questa serenissima casa et del regno tutto ugualmente).
The earl of Bristol has been set at liberty and the sincerity of his conduct recognised, (fn. 2) while the incorruptible loyalty of this nobleman to his legitimate sovereign is admired.
London, the 2nd May, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
42. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador, not satisfied with the paper recently given to the mediators about the affair of the Palatine, has sent an answer to the emperor by Lesle, who took it to him, that unless his Majesty makes a more open and more substantial declaration for the most just cause and satisfaction of that prince he will put a final term to the negotiation by his departure. Subsequently with Lesle himself he expressed the opinion that if no satisfactory resolution should be obtained from the emperor this time, it would be necessary for England, Denmark and others to come to a rupture, making an alliance with the Swedes and the opposite party to secure that justice should be done to the Palatine, and instead of damping down the fire in the empire, to make it burn up more by war.
Vienna, the 3rd May, 1642.
May 5.
Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
43. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The deputies of Holland met as announced to discuss the decision of the States General to send promptly an embassy extraordinary to England. But the session was spoiled by the absence of four of the leading men of that Assembly, and so they could not settle the matter. They adjourned it to another meeting, to be held in six days, when the government hope that the matter will be satisfactorily settled, and that it may take this opportunity to provide a sufficient sum of money for the first requirements of this mission.
To gratify the queen the Prince would like to see this matter settled harmoniously before he takes the field with his army, and he is making every effort to secure this without delay. But the Dutch disclose their disinclination to the Prince, defending their aversion for going on with this matter by the absence of the king from London, so as not to do anything prejudicial to the dignity of the state. It is therefore believed that the matter may be involved in very prolonged delays, to the annoyance of the Prince.
The Hague, the 5th May, 1642.
May 9.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
44. To the Ambassador in England.
Acknowledge his letters of the 18th inst. His diligence gives complete satisfaction. Nothing more to add. Enclose sheet of advices.
Ayes, 115. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
45. To the Resident at the Hague.
In response to the offers of Prince Rupert he did well to follow the lines of the reply to the English Resident, who spoke to him, and to the Princess, Rupert's mother. He is to express to the prince the state's appreciation of his offer and to assure the Palatine family of the regard the most serene republic entertains for them and its readiness to serve them. He may be profuse with every demonstration of esteem, but without any commitment.
Ayes, 115. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
May 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
46. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The hopes of a speedy accommodation between his Majesty and the parliament have been interrupted by the inroad of fresh accidents. As these subject affairs here to ever increasing hazards they may possibly constrain the king to the most desperate resolutions (li quali ponendo sotto contingenze sempre maggiori questi affari possono per avventura constringer il Re alle piu disperate rissolutioni).
The arrival in Yorkshire of the news of the order issued for the arms and munitions stored in the fortress of Uls to be transported to the Tower here, aroused hostile feelings in the breasts of many of that district, and among the lower nobility in particular. These being impelled by the desire to prevent the transfer being made petitioned his Majesty both orally and in writing not to permit provisions intended for the defence of those frontiers to be taken elsewhere at a time of so much disturbance. As this happened to coincide with the king's own sentiments, he granted their request. Considering that this would be a favourable pretext for securing to himself a fortress of such importance, without noise, he took counsel to proceed thither with the intention of confirming its loyalty by his presence, and subsequently to facilitate by its possession those schemes which the condition of the time and circumstances might persuade him to undertake (prese consiglio di portarvisi a disegno con la presenza di bene confirmarla alla propria divotione et con il possesso francheggiare poscia quei tentativi che la conditione del tempo et le congionture lo persuadessero ad intraprendere).
To sound the intentions of the governor, who is a member of parliament and by no means disposed to promote the king's interests, his Majesty sent thither, ostensibly for recreation, his second son, the duke of York with the Prince Palatine. On arriving they were brought into the town with every demonstration of respect, and they immediately informed the king of what had happened. Being persuaded wrongly that he would find the same style of reception the king also advanced in that direction with expedition, accompanied by only 150 men of his household, and warned the governor of his approach a few hours before. That individual made up his mind not to permit him to enter, and without hesitation he caused the bridges of the town to be raised and the gates shut. When his Majesty arrived and sent orders to the governor to open, instead of doing so he appeared on the walls, and with every sign of humbleness said in a loud voice that he was the king's faithful subject, but he could not obey this order without prejudicing the duty which he owed to parliament, and consequently he begged his Majesty to excuse him. The king, in great wrath, endeavoured by repeated and severe threats to induce him to obey, but as the governor persisted in his refusal it soon became apparent that nothing was to be gained by further insistence. Accordingly deeply sensible of so public an affront the king declared the governor guilty of treason, and withdrawing a short distance from the town he recalled his son and nephew. Together with them he was compelled to return to his original station at York with no little shame and wrathful compassion on the part of his loyal subjects at seeing their natural prince so shamefully scorned by the ambition of a few malcontents.
After his Majesty's departure, the governor sent a courier to parliament with an account of this most serious incident. The king also sent the same news accompanied by very vigorous denunciations of the governor, demanding that he shall be severely punished and reparation afforded for his own dignity and that of the nation, by public demonstrations, both being so deeply offended by an act of disobedience for which there is no possible excuse. On the other hand parliament, which is only attended at present by those who can find salvation in no other way than by keeping the crown in the midst of such troublous agitations, has heard of this incident with complete gratification. They hope that the incautious zeal of this commander may serve as an example for keeping the others steadfast in devotion to their interests, and instead of punishing they sent him letters of commendation, with sums of money for the garrison, in order to encourage them to continue so in the future. Under severe penalties they have forbidden any one to impede in any way the couriers who pass to and fro between this city and Uls, charging the ministers of justice to prosecute those who may infringe this order ; and finally they have passed a resolution that the declaration of his Majesty against the governor, who is a member of parliament, is an infringement of the privileges of that Senate and of the liberty of the subject.
Unprejudiced men express the strongest resentment against this deliberation and at so monstrous an action and they announce with great frankness that the scandal of approving such open disobedience will make a very serious impression on the people and provide still further justification for the line the king had taken (publicano a piena bocca che il scandolo di approvare si aperta disobedienza riuscira a populi ben grave e sempre piu giustifichera li consigli del Re). What this may be amid the anxieties of so many troublesome incidents, does not yet appear. Some think that with the diminution of the hopes of reattaining the seat of his former authority without great peril, he may incline to humble himself to the wishes of the most seditious and wait for time to bring about better conditions. Others are of opinion that he will attempt by arms to avenge himself for such great insults. Thus amid these various opinions the decisions which may emerge are as interesting in themselves as their consequences are great.
Meanwhile the king's replies have appeared to the outspoken remonstrances of parliament to divert him from the journey to Ireland and induce him to return and live here. As these are couched in prudent language and equally adapted to the posture of events here, they meet with the approval of right minded men. In the course of them he refers in terms of moderate resentment to the license which the parliamentarians at present permit themselves, defends the motives from which he acted on that occasion, reiterates the sincere zeal which he bears in his heart for the propagation of the Protestant religion and for the service of his subjects and his perfect readiness to sacrifice even his life for these objects He represents the advantage that his presence will bring to affairs in those parts, and promises that before he undertakes the journey he will give notice again to Parliament. By this he has made it quite apparent that he does not persist in the idea and confirms the opinion I reported that the offer of his person for that enterprise was for the purpose of dissipating the false reports that he had given encouragement to those rebels.
With regard to his presence with the parliament he declares that he will agree if provision is made beforehand for his safety or that he may go to another city. (fn. 3)
Although favourable winds have been blowing these last days Warwick has not yet put to sea with the fleet. He remains in the Downs and it is uncertain whether he will go any further. He has thirty one ships with him, sixteen royal ones and fifteen hired from merchants. All are provided with supplies for six months, and for the rest powerfully armed.
In the Garter celebrations the king only gave the order to the Duke of York. (fn. 4) He has not yet disposed of any of the vacant appointments. Those who lost them are making great efforts to recover them, but it is believed that all their pains will be in vain.
News has come from Ireland of fresh encounters there with advantage to the Catholics, of which better authenticated particulars are awaited with impatience. It is said that a great number of the heretics have been slain. This increases their hatred of the true faith, and this very week they have caused three priests to suffer by the hand of the executioner the glorious pains of martyrdom, two in the city of York, and one here, (fn. 5) arousing the regrets of those who are less thirsty for innocent blood.
London, the 9th May, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
47. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The mediators have not yet imparted to the English ambassador the emperor's paper about the affair of the Palatine, since the nuncio had previously demanded in a memorial written on purpose that the point should be inserted with reservations about the Catholic religion and its free exercise in those states in case any agreement should be concluded. However, few believe in it, including the English ambassador himself, owing to the objections in the way.
Vienna, the 10th May, 1642.
May 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haia. Venetian Archives.
48. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince's influence has prevailed over the inclinations of the States of Holland, and they have come to a unanimous decision to consent to the prompt sending of an embassy extraordinary to England. Their consent was intimated to the Assembly General the day before yesterday. They also nominated from their Province a person of standing, (fn. 6) and after he has received the approval of the government and taken up his charge together with another, who will be sent by the Provinces in common ; he is to leave at once unless they come to some new decision, to send the quality of extraordinary to the ordinary now resident there. But in any case it is decided that they will give him a colleague in that eventuality. So far the choice of the States General rests on the two persons I reported, Gaspar Vosbergh and the noble from the province of Utrecht. The Dutch have chosen the Pensionary Borelli, of Amsterdam, who has already made excuses against accepting this embassy. Everyone believes that this important mission will be entrusted to him and to Vosbergh. Owing to the consequences involved the government consider it possibly the most serious that ever called for their attention. This decision having been effected by those of Holland, and a sum of 1,500,000 florins having been provided for the first and most necessary requirements of the campaign, they dissolved their Assembly and returned to their homes, and they will not reassemble at the Hague for a long time.
They are expecting from the French Court a certain Cressi, sent by his Majesty to return a complimentary office with his sister and at the same time to impart to the government and to Tullerie some special commissions of the king.
The Hague, the 12th May, 1642.


  • 1. The earl of Stamford, Sir John Colepeper chancellor of the exchequer and Mr. Hungerford. Rushworth ; Hist. Collections, Part III, Vol. I, page 560.
  • 2. By resolution of the House of Lords of the 29th April. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. V, page 6.
  • 3. The replies were read to the Lords on the 5th May. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. V, pages 12—14.
  • 4. On Monday the 18/28 April. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641—3, page 307.
  • 5. Edward Morgan, suffered in London on the 26th April, O.S. At York, on the 13th April, O.S. the two victims were John Lockwood and Edmund Cattheriche alias Huddleston. Catholic Records Soc. Douay Diaries, Vol. II, pages, 433, 434.
  • 6. William Boreel. Aitzema : Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. II, page 816.