Venice: May 1642, 16-31

Pages 53-67

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, 16-31

May 16.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
49. To the Ambassador in England.
Acknowledge his letters which supply information of the continued progress of the troubles in that country. The event will show the effect of the king's absence and of the fresh embassy contemplated by the Dutch. Confidence in his diligence in the supply of news.
Vote of 300 ducats for couriers and the carriage of letters, to be paid to the ambassador's agents.
Ayes, 115. Noes, 0. Neutral, 5.
May 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
50. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The sequel to the declarations reported in support of the behaviour of the governor of Uls were sent on Saturday by the parliament commissioners to York, Lincoln and to the governor of Uls himself with instructions to express once more their appreciation of the faithfulness of that commander and of the garrison as well, and further to divert the counties of those parts from innovations and from any leanings to serve and obey the king.
The king, on his side, stung to the quick by the insult which he has received, labours without intermission to provide himself with the means of exacting a rightful vengenance and at the same time to make himself master of that town, whose inhabitants, taken as a whole, do not applaud but rather condemn the temerity of the governor.
To this end the king sent for all those in the county of York who possess more than 100 crowns a year in revenue. When these appeared he commended to them in affectionate terms the defence of his royal person and family and then told them all about the disobedience of that governor. He pointed out that such an insult was not to be borne and asked for their help and counsel as to the best means of vindicating his personal honour. They all with one accord loudly declared their perfect readiness to devote their fortunes, their children and their very lives in the defence of his Majesty and the royal stock. But as regards the incident at Uls they asked for time to consider what would best conduce to the general well-being. His Majesty granted this and protested aloud that he would rather lose the three crowns he wears than pass over an insult of such consequence without severe chastisement. Accordingly for the mature consideration of such an important question they at once made choice of ten of their leading men, with instructions to meet and decide upon the best course and then give their answer to the king. The tenor of this is not yet known for certain.
Meanwhile the sheriff of the county, (fn. 1) who takes part in the deliberation as the leading man, in order to escape censure, has since sent a report of what has happened so far to the parliament. That body, although not without supporters in that county, remains in anxious expectation of what will be decided by the people there, the majority of whom and the most substantial apparently inclining to support his Majesty's demands. But others who are obstinate professors of Puritanism, offer a vigorous opposition. They have presented a paper to the king to persuade him to put aside all memory of past bitterness and to renew his former confidential relations with parliament. So amid the conflict of such utterly contradictory passions the issue still remains doubtful.
Parliament, on its part, has held frequent debates upon this outstanding question. Foreseeing possible difficulties in the future, they decided to send deputies to York to-day, four of the Upper and eight of the Lower House ; ostensibly to petition his Majesty once more to come back and live here, but more particularly to try and introduce fresh overtures for a composition. Those among them who sincerely desire to see these prolonged quarrels converted into the enjoyment of tranquillity do not feel any confidence that this will prove an easy task. It is also said that if the people of York do not decide to take up the king's cause vigorously, he contemplates retiring to Newcastle or to Wales, where the people are calling for him, and there mature fresh plans while displaying his fortitude (et quivi maturare con prove di costanza nuove consigli).
In the mean time the chancellor of Scotland has put in an appearance at York, having been sent by the Council there to dissuade his Majesty from the journey to Ireland, warning him that if he goes the Scots will refrain from sending any more troops there. What is even more worthy of consideration, he brings a declaration that while the king's subjects in that country will gladly sacrifice their persons as well as their goods in the defence of his Majesty and his children, yet since they find that the peace of Scotland is bound up with that of England, they cannot, in the interests of its maintenance, dissociate themselves from the parliamentarians, a tacit admonition that they will not take the royal side in these unhappy disputes.
The commissioners of that country resident here have also sent petitions to the king to the same effect, advising him to devote his efforts to a sincere agreement, and they have offered their assistance to forward this. But those who have an intimate knowledge of the proceedings of parliament believe that this move of the chancellor and the petition of the commissioners have been secretly promoted by a few disaffected parliamentarians, influential with those who control affairs in Scotland, for the purpose of exciting his Majesty's apprehensions and at the same time of making the Scots mediators of an advantageous accommodation. But if for the settlement of these differences it becomes necessary to appeal to the tribunal of arms, the Scots will not suffer the king to be deprived of his rights and prerogatives, more especially in the distribution of appointments, so greedily claimed by parliament. The Scots are deeply interested that these shall remain at the disposal of his Majesty owing to the many and rich advantages which they derive therefrom.
Fresh difficulties have arisen over the question of arming the kingdom. The king refuses to consent to the peril involved by these forces and to the control of them being prolonged for more than a year. He has further raised objections to the form in which parliament has had the bill drawn. Accordingly proposals to carry it without the king's consent are being revived.
These last days they have caused the petition from the county of Kent to be contemptuously consigned to the flames by the common hangman, as seditious. Yet in spite of this and of the most strenuous efforts to prevent its being presented, it was none the less brought here on Saturday in last week and presented to parliament by a number of the men of the county. To show their resentment that body caused two of the leaders to be seized and imprisoned. (fn. 2) The others, after receiving proofs of their high displeasure, have departed full of wrath. They have put it about that they will come back very soon in greater strength and numbers for the purpose of compelling parliament to return again to the straight path of the laws, to preserve for the Protestant church its ancient pastors and to assure the king, their lawful sovereign, the tranquil possession of the prerogatives enjoyed by his predecessors.
Parliament on its side, apprehensive of the consequences the example of such bold demands may involve, has been intriguing with some Puritans of the same county to get them to present a contrary petition, whereby they may discredit the first and so dissipate all idea among the people of other counties of combining for the same purposes, as not a few of them showed an inclination to do.
His Majesty has sent the order of the Garter to his nephew the Palatine Prince Rupert, in Holland. (fn. 3) In Ireland 2500 Scottish soldiers have landed, and falling in with the troops of the rebels, put them to flight, killing large numbers of them. (fn. 4)
The commissioners appointed for the reorganization of trade are at work establishing new prices for goods which are imported to and exported from this country, with the idea of increasing the duties on the former and decreasing them on the latter. The task is already well forward and the directors of the Levant Company do not relax their efforts for getting the importation of currants forbidden for some time. Under the colour of the bill I wrote of they are trying to prevent them from being registered in the book of these reforms. Their plan is that when the book has obtained the approval of parliament and of his Majesty, the omission of any mention of this fruit will be as good as a formal prohibition of it in this country. Being forewarned of the danger I will contrive to make an opportune suggestion to the customers so that they may prevent this inconvenience. Unfortunately their contract is at an end and as the duties are now under the state's control (caminando di presente per conto publico le dogane) it is to be feared that their offices will not be so energetic as the occasion requires. Moreover as the commissioners appointed for this function are biassed and won over by the merchants concerned, I cannot feel any confidence that my efforts will prove altogether successful. Nevertheless I will do my best, yet I shall be grateful if your Excellencies will send me instructions as to the form in which I should address the ministers and the king, in case he returns or approaches this city from which he is at present 350 miles and more away.
London, the 16th May, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
51. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
I enclose the comments of the English ambassador on the imperial proposals. He told me that he perceived it was all thrown back into delays and intrigues. That being the case there was no other course, upon the return of the courier sent to England at latest, with this caricature of negotiations, as he called it (con questo burlo di negotio), than to take himself off, on receiving his orders. He added however that there would be no rupture, as they knew the good intentions of the emperor by himself, and I know that he is so instructed by his king, and if the affair seems hopeless, to leave it in the hands of God (et cosi anco so incaricato dal suo Re, et di racommandare in tutti i casi di cosa disperata la causa nella mano di Dio).
Vienna, the 17th May, 1642.
Enclosure. 52. Comments of the English Ambassador on the Imperial Proposals.
Excell. Illus. ac Nobil. dom. Legati ad mediationem in causa Palatina deputati plurimum honorandi.
Molestissimum mihi accidit quod Ex. et III. dom V. officium istud personali praesentia praestare non possim, ideoque pauxilla haec (quae benignitatem vestram interpretaturam confido) ad Vos dirigere compellar.
Immensum Ex. et III. Dom. V. laborem in procuranda domus Electoralis Palatinae reconciliatione cum sac. Caes. Maj. ac per reunionem unius ex praecipuis membris cum supremo capite et corpore stabilienda communi Germaniae securitate, non possum non grate agnoscere ; ea siquidem in re, peramplum prudentiae, judiciique vestri testimonium orbi Christiano exhibuistis, nulla probabiliori via incomparabile pacis bonum restitui posse, quam per aequitatem et justitiam, eorumque Principum in amicitiae vinculum receptionem, qui eodem affectu ac cura pro praeservatione libertatis sac. Romani Imperii feruntur. Idcirco pro tanta tamque sollicita industria nomine regiae dom. mei clem. Maj. Principisque Electoris Palatini ac III. domus ipsius generales particularesque Vobis ago gratias, hac cum asseveratione regium dom. mei Maj. ut et ser. suam in omnibus amicitiae necessitudinisque reciprocis officiis cum regibus et principibus vestris corresponsuras fore.
Verum cum dolenda decem fere mensium expectationis experientia comperiam Ex. atque III. Dom. V. nullum responsum obtinere potuisse ac demum tales declarationes exhibitas esse quae realiter et in effectu nullae sint, ad vestram ingenuitatem appello, rogans ut ipsimet judicare dignemini qualemnam earum interpretationem facere possimus, num non haec sit tacita quaedam et logica recusatio ac evidentia plenaria quod ego nihil tandem effectivi quoad scopum pacificationis nihilve quod regiae dom. mei Maj. benignis officiis amicitiaeque in proportione respondeat impetraturus sim.
Valde igitur sum sollicitus qualem vel vobis vel factis propositionibus responsionem dare possim praeterquam generalem : sed necesse est ut pro judicio meo dicam me ea quae sunt oblata et quoad totum et quoad partes prout restricta et gravata sunt, nulla et inania esse existimare.
Quod plurimae sint clausulae intertextae ita obscurae ut multa magnaque inconvenentia sub iis latere possint.
Quod tota series et scopus contra honorem regiae dom. mei Maj. et ser. domus Palatinae dignitatem vergat, dum indecora de impossibilia postulantur.
Quapropter quaemadmodum Ex. et III. Dom. V. pro ipsorum conatibus ingentes debeo gratias : ita necessarium esse duxi vobis significare si dom. vest. has propositiones ullo modo vel acceptabiles vel tractabiles esse judicaverint, vel super iis interessati persistere decreverint, me in infausto hoc negotio non ulterius vos cum incommodo vestro temporisque si non existimationis jactura, urgere aut importune vobis molestum esse velle ; sed at prudentiam vestram, quid vobis faciendum erit vos remittere. Me quidem quod attinet ea via progredi constitui quae cum honore regiae dom. mei Maj. convenit ; atque obsequio mandatis ipsius a me debito conformis est.
Sed ut, dilucide mentem meam aperiam, nullam aliam viam aptiorem inveni pro plenaria responsione quam ut oblatis propositionibus quid ser. rex meus et petit et expectat opponerem.
Placebit itaque Ex. et III. dom. V. certo scire nullam aliam inferioris Palatinatus restitutionem nisi integram cum omnibus juribus, membris et privilegiis tam politicis quam ecclesiasticis in eo statu ac conditione uti a Principibus Electoribus Palatinis antiquitas, et specialiter anno mdcxviii. possidebantur, absque ulla limitatione aut diminutione vel jurisdictionis vel possessionis sicut omnes alii Electores et Principes vel vi legum et constitutionum Imperialium vel jure proprio in ditionibus suis iisdem gaudent et possident, a nobis acceptatam iri.
Quod ad dignitatem Electoralem et Palatinatum Superiorem attinet Ex. et III. dom. V. atque universo orbi Christiano declaro ser. regem meum de accommodatione aequa et honesta tractare in animo habuisse ; sed vel terras emere vel de alia alternativa nisi immediata et integra quicquam audire nolle.
Quantum ad declarationes particulares quae in linqua mihi ignota exhibitae sunt, in mea iis pariter incognita replicare non libet : sed cum etiam vel nullas vel dubias aut injustas eas dijudicem, generalem hanc meam resolutionem sufficientem ad eas responsionem esse existimo.
Et haec sunt quae in mandatis Ex. atque III. dom. V. respondenda abeoque quidem prudenti vestrae considerationi submitto meque favori vestro commendo.
A Viennae, xxx. Aprilis—x. Maii, MDCXLII. (fn. 5) *
May 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
53. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
After having decided on the embassy extraordinary to England the States here have agreed unanimously upon the selection of two, one the leading man among the most noble of the Province of Utrecht, (fn. 6) and the other the Pensionary Borelli of Amsterdam, both men of high repute and directly dependent upon the Prince of Orange. Vosbergh will not go, because he is the first deputy of Zeeland, and they do not want more than one from that Province, because Joachimi, who is in England, can supply that function. They have already send him the rank of extraordinary, so that he may treat jointly with the others, and have the largest part in the conduct of that arduous business.
Having reached this stage the States are now preparing the instructions. So far as the first drafts show, these contain express orders to the ambassadors to proceed to the spot as quickly as possible, and arrived in London to ask the parties directly whether their interposition for an adjustment will be acceptable. If they find them favourable, they are to make overtures. In the conduct of the negotiations they are recommended above all to see to the preservation of the rights of this detestable religion, begging the king to forget the past and to refer the present differences to them, and for Parliament to allow the king the free and peaceful possession of his own ancient prerogatives. The ambassadors are strictly charged to return immediately, without starting new projects, if the mediation of these Provinces is not welcomed, or if they show the slightest objection to entering into negotiation.
Everyone is driven to conclude that this mission is altogether alien from the requirements of the royal house, since the States are anxious not to offend the king or displease the Parliament by their operations, and as they incline to the Parliament, it is fairly evident that they cannot do anything effective for his Majesty, and the embassy will merely serve to show the power of the Prince's wishes over the States, and to keep the queen quiet for some time by this demonstration.
If these overtures take a good turn, the government hope to be able to use them for opening the way for the renewal of an alliance, thereby putting trade on a firm basis, and securing the passage between Dover and Dunkirk. But the ambassadors will not say anything about this unless they find that things have taken a good start, and the new proposal may serve to facilitate the progress of the other, which they must put in the first place.
To-morrow the Queen of England will go to Amsterdam, to note the marvels of the wealth of that city. She will have the most splendid reception that the country can afford. She will stay there over two days, and the Prince will accompany her ; on his return he will proceed with his preparations to take the field.
Cressi has arrived, who was sent on a complimentary mission by the Most Christian to his sister the queen. He brings elaborate replies which do not at all correspond with the expectations of her Majesty, who would have liked permission to proceed to France whenever she pleased.
The Hague, the 19th May, 1642.
May 23.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
54. To the Ambassador in England.
Acknowledge his letters, which indicate a continuance of the troubles though with hope of better things for the king's service.
With respect to the trade at Zante and in currants we have to say for information that we hear from our Proveditore in that island of the departure for England of two of the English merchants there, to return in the following August. They are going with such good impressions and with such friendly intentions that they will bring great help by their account of the truth and of the good treatment and facilities that all receive in general. In the present condition of that affair these considerations and the representations they may make should prove of great assistance in support of your offices and other efforts for the advantage and progress of that affair. Meanwhile our Rector there does everything in his power to afford them facilities while they receive the best of treatment, which will be continued as is fitting.
Enclose the usual sheet of advices.
Ayes, 100. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
55. To the Ambassador in England.
Owing to the continuance of the troubles in England with fear of worse disturbances, he is to take leave of the king. He will go to where his Majesty is and perform such offices as he considers appropriate and in accordance with the circumstances, assuring him of the republic's regard for his house and realm and their hope of a satisfactory solution for his affairs. To inform him that a successor will not long delay his appearance, to prove the republic's regard and esteem for his Majesty, and that in the mean time the Secretary Agostini will do all that is necessary. If the journey to see the king proves difficult or dangerous it is left to the ambassador's discretion to take leave by letter.
He is to perform the usual offices with the ministers and ambassadors. With the Secretary Agostini he will leave all the information pertaining to the office, so that he may carry on the the service, and remain on until further order, giving him the same assignments and directions as were decided for him last year. (fn. 7)
Ayes, 27.
May 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
56. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The determined refusal of the king to agree to the new command of the troops for the defence of this kingdom in the manner lately proposed by parliament has roused such feelings of wrath that throwing to the winds every sense of duty they have finally come to the determination, after numerous disputes, to send orders to all the lieutenants selected to take up the exercise of their charge even without his Majesty's approval, to increase the companies of the trained bands, to replace the captains suspected of favouring the royal interests and to hold themselves in readiness for the orders and requirements of parliament. The leaders who are destined to superintend the militia of this city, who are all of the Puritan party and equally eager to see the remains of the monarchy brought down to be replaced by an entirely democratic state, have accepted the task. To afford a more striking proof of their favourable disposition they decided on Tuesday to hold a stately review of the old and new troops. There in the presence of a numerous concourse of people and in the presence of the principal members of this licentious parliament, who by their attendance not only magnified the beginning of their nascent rule but also added lustre to their present authority, they endeavoured, by suggesting the precariousness of the situation, to confirm their hold on the affections and in the interests of the common people here (hanno procurato con atti di una precaria auttorità di bene confirmarsi li affetti et gli interessi di questa minuta gente).
We do not hear as yet that they have gone as far as this in the provinces. Many of the governors and lieutenants nominated remain constant in their determination not to meddle in the disorders of these times, possibly from a premonition that the aspect of affairs may soon be subject to change. Great curiosity is felt to hear reports of the sentiments with which this most important move has been received by the people. If it meets with the submission that they claim it may prove a useful means of putting them in a position of control which includes his Majesty's person and that of his posterity as well (il quale quando trovi l' obedienza pretesa puo riuscire habile a ponersi in contingenza con l' imperio la stessa persona di Sua Maestà e quelle della posterità ancora).
While they are thus engaged here in the disposition of the government, the king on his side, by frequent public papers to the parliament, full of arguments and vigorous protests, demands in virtue of the constitution of the realm, that the fortress of Uls shall be restored to him, as well as the exemplary punishment of the governor for his fault. He points out the rashness of the measures they have taken in this connection ; the unlawfulness of their action, parliamentary authority being subject to his will. He proceeds adroitly to stir up the people not to allow the fundamental laws of their country to be abrogated or the introduction of arbitrary proceedings, to the injury of the public liberty. The object of all this is to warn his subjects of the passion and interest by which the form of the present government is ruled and thereby incline them to join with him and take revenge for the continuance of such violence, in the midst of which those of most experience do not think that it will be easy for England to hold out for long.
For the safe custody of the fortress of Uls the governor does not spare every sort of effort. He has deprived the inhabitants of arms, not being absolutely sure about their fidelity. Being anxious to increase the strength of the garrison he has sent strict orders to the commanders of the trained bands of the district to send him numerous companies of those troops. His Majesty, on the other hand, has forbidden the carrying out of these orders, under severe penalties, and directs that the militia of the country shall not assemble in future or be mustered without his express commission. In this way he aims at preventing the execution of the decrees of parliament in this particular.
Nothing is yet known with certainty about the decision of the people of York in response to his Majesty's demand for assistance to enable him to capture the town of Uls and to do justice upon the commander there, and they are longing impatiently for news. It is stated that with the support of the lesser nobility of those parts his Majesty proposes to proceed once again to Uls and to force his way in. The event will show whether this is to happen.
Meanwhile the people of the province of Wales have offered the king their services beseeching him again to go and live in that corner of his kingdom. This affords support to the rumours that if the people of York do not support his proposals with hearty good will the king contemplates retiring to that country, where the loyalty of the people and the strength of inaccessible positions will enable him to make a long and secure resistance to the shocks of the present attacks and await circumstances more favourable to his fortunes.
The members of parliament concerned do not exhibit that complete satisfaction with the declarations of the Council of Scotland by their deputies here that was at first expected. They object to them as not sufficiently emphatic and they do not even consider them altogether sincere. For this cause the relations between the two countries, which in the past they have done their utmost to make appear perfectly harmonious, are mingled with suspicion.
Six ships have been sent to reinforce the fleet, all supplied with a number of soldiers and with copious munitions. They are busily engaged in arming fourteen more, at the cost of the merchants, ostensibly to be sent to the coasts of Ireland and prevent the rebels there from receiving help from foreign princes. But there are some who believe that under this pretext are hidden other private designs of Vice Admiral the earl of Warwick and others interested in the islands and ships captured these last months by the Spanish forces in the Indies, and accordingly the Catholic ambassador here is apprehensive about these preparations. Following the example of the French minister he has made application for a levy, for the service of the king, his master, but his memorial being passed on by his Majesty to the parliament, he has been answered with a flat refusal. This has been printed and published, to the humiliation of that minister and the destruction of his hopes of advantage which he claimed on the strength of the neutrality which he professed.
Although the present disorders point clearly enough to the impotence of this crown to do anything useful in alliance with foreign powers to balance the predominance of France or to undertake other schemes, yet the minister of the Most Christian here, by order of his king, sent a strong remonstrance to his Majesty about the offers made by the Ambassador Ro at the Imperial Court to join the Austrians in the bonds of an offensive and defensive alliance against the disturbers of the peace of the empire, upon condition that the Palatine be replaced in possession of his ancient dominions. The ambassador declares that to tender such a scheme is an attack upon the interests of France and on those of the Dutch equally. He cultivates the most influential parliamentarians, and he has constituted a new precedent by showing them the very instructions of his king, to the end that parliament might condemn these proposals, and he hopes to obtain his intent by a public decree, since commissioners have been appointed to enquire into the affair. At the same time he makes it clearly understood that France will never permit the restoration of that house without her authority, and if it takes place, the Most Christian will not on that account neglect to procure advantages within the Palatinate itself. The talk has roused discussion and makes it perfectly certain that the friends of that house, no less than its enemies, conspire to depress it and strip it of its most lawful patrimony. Here, however, little or nothing to the advantage of the Palatines is expected from the side of the Austrians. They even think of recalling Ro and putting a stop to the negotiations altogether, recognising their delusive character and that their sole aim is to deceive England with vain hopes. The wisest here disapprove of the ambassador's proceedings and consider that his Majesty may claim to have been affronted by his having had recourse to parliament, which has never at any time had the right to interfere in the transactions with foreign princes, in the past. On the other hand the Imperial Agent here does not seem to have any objection to the Frenchman's move at a moment when England is incapable of supplying any succour to the empire. He claims that if parliament disapproves of the scheme for an alliance that will serve as a sufficient pretext to justify the plans of the Austrians when, as he fears, the negotiations are broken off without any result, and at the same time it will serve as a warning to the Princes of the Empire that the offices of France are hindering not only the restoration of the Palatine House, which is so greatly desired by the Protestants of Germany, but also the means for restoring peace in the whole province.
I am sending full particulars of all this to the Secretary Vico at Vienna.
London, the 23rd May. 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
57. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
In the affair of the Palatine they have been discussing some modification of the emperor's proposals and they meet on the evening and the morning of every day. The English ambassador considers all this merely a device to promote delay. He says that Denmark is the only straightforward one among the mediators and so little can be expected. Most of all he is filled with astonishment and roundly condemns the demands of Bavaria, which are so high, of 13 millions for the restitution of his dominions to the Palatine. The ambassador says that with this money England could collect forces sufficient not only to recover the Palatinate but to subdue, in a manner of speaking, the whole of the empire (dicendo egli che con questo denaro si potria dall' Inghilterra metter insieme tante forze che non solo bastassero a ricuperare il Palatinato ma a soggiogar per modo di dire tutto l' Imperio).
Vienna, the 24th May, 1642.
May 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
58. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday there arrived from England one Muri, first gentleman of the king's bedchamber, with news from there but little to the taste of the queen. (fn. 8) They have not yet divulged the particulars, but people believe that he brings word of his Majesty's decision to undertake the journey to Scotland, and if possible to send his eldest son here, to avoid, in any event, the danger of having to submit to the wishes of the Parliament.
The States have admonished their ambassadors to hasten their departure, without delay, seeing that affairs become more and more confused over there. Since it is enough for them to make a show of a good disposition in order to satisfy the queen, they want the rumours of his Majesty's journey to Scotland to afford them a colourable pretext for the deliberation they show over the despatch of that embassy.
The second daughter of the House of Orange has died at the age of eleven, after a painful illness. The Queen of England returned recently from Amsterdam, where they regaled her but did not give her royal honours.
The Hague, the 26th May, 1642.
May 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
59. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday the earl of Holland gave an account to parliament of the complaints reported, made by the French ambassador touching the manoeuvres of the English minister about proposals for an alliance between the imperialists and this crown. He represented how improper such a proposal was ; the necessity amid the circumstances of these times, to avoid anything likely to arouse the suspicions of the Most Christian and render him definitely hostile. These offices were heard with approval on account of the natural dislike felt by this nation towards the House of Austria, to the desire to oblige France with proofs of respect to keep her from interesting herself in the affairs of the royal house here, and to enable parliament to create a precedent for interfering in the negotiations with the foreign ministers. Accordingly, after discussing the best way of dealing with requests of such a plausible character they decided to send deputies to urge his Majesty to disavow the offers made by Ro, while adroitly intimating to the king that they will never consent to an alliance with the Austrians or to anything likely to cause offence to France. Subsequently they appointed two commissioners with instructions to assure him orally of these identical sentiments and to take him a resolution in writing in which parliament asserts that it has no information about Ro's suggestions and that it will do everything in its power to prevent anything which might tend to upset the friendly relations with the Most Christian, which it is determined to maintain intact with all its might.
The ambassador has expressed his complete satisfaction with these assurances, and invited England to make an alliance with the king, his master, to compel the Austrians to make restitution of the Palatinate. He hopes that in a short space Ro will be recalled and the body of his transactions broken off. On the other hand the partisans of the Palatine deeply resent this new interference of France. They declare openly that it is aimed at injuring that House and at the same time to increase the ill will between the king and parliament with the object of keeping this country involved for a long period in the distractions of the present times, and they are waiting with anxious impatience to hear how his Majesty will take that action.
It is still uncertain what decision the county of York will take with regard to supporting the king's authority. To give a spur to their deliberations his Majesty on Wednesday sent for the people of those parts a second time. In lengthy offices he renewed his demands for assistance for the defence of his person and to avenge the insults which he receives every day from those who have cast aside the respectful duty they owe him and are trying to take away his authority and to end the ancient obedience to the laws. He protests again and again that he will never depart from the fundamental constitution of the kingdom and will most faithfully endeavour to see that it is observed. The king was heard with attention, but as the opinions of the nobles did not coincide with those of the populace, the assembly was dissolved without any decision, being prorogued until this day, when it is definitely decided to give his Majesty their final decision in response to his requests.
On the 5th of next month the assembly is to meet in Scotland to discuss the present condition of his Majesty and thereafter to decide upon such measures as are found to be best adapted to the service and honour of that nation, to wit, whether they shall take the royal side or else support the principles of the parliament, or again whether they shall interpose actively to facilitate the means for a just composition. It is not yet possible to form an accurate opinion about what they will decide. Many who are not blinded by partisan bias announce the most friendly disposition towards the king's service. But others, strict disciples of Calvinism, being very strongly prejudiced, support the development of the plans of the Puritans. Their professions of faith being identical, they would like to see the same similarity in matters of liberty and licence. Accordingly it may be feared that the opposition of this party may offer some obstacle to the efforts of the other, which is sincerely anxious to see its king released from the travail of the present disorders.
In the counties of Notingam and Arbi, both very populous, all the substantial persons and gentlemen have unanimously declared in favour of the king's cause. In the province of Wales the devotion of the people is constantly receiving fresh confirmation. They have sent a deputy to parliament with instructions to represent to them that while they have up to the present time paid all the taxes imposed on them, they will not consent to pay any more until they have been shown how the money collected has been employed ; nor will they do so while the command of their militia remains in the hands of an individual who is not approved by his Majesty, whom they protest their intention to serve as loyal subjects, in conformity with the laws.
Meanwhile, three days ago orders reached the Great Seal from the king directing him to send to York the archives of documents and to warn all by proclamation that in future the courts of civil justice will be held in that city, not in London, as they used. It is thought that the object is to strip this city, which shows itself so hostile to his interests, of the honour and advantage which it has enjoyed in such large measure, from the concourse of people here, who from time to time have flocked here from all parts of the kingdom for the settlement of their legal disputes, to give it subsequently to York and so encourage the latter by the stimulus of this important advantage to hold fast to his party.
The king has further asked parliament that they will send him the book in which are registered all the acts which have been passed up to the present. The motive for this request is not yet apparent. Obedience has been refused to both demands by decree which qualifies them as contrary to the laws of the country and to the liberty of the subject.
Four ships have been sent these last days to the fortress of Uls to fetch away the arms and munitions and bring them to the Tower here. But when this was about to be done the inhabitants and garrison of the town joined together and offered a furious resistance ; refusing to allow their magazines to be despoiled without the good pleasure of his Majesty. They also devised plots against the commander personally, lamenting that he refused the entry to his legitimate sovereign to that fortress, inflicting so much shame on the royal name. The governor being warned of these seditious designs immediately sent orders to the captains of the militia of that district, so that by the despatch of other troops they might supply him with the means of repressing this disobedience. But they treated his orders with contempt and refused to obey. The governor's hopes of carrying out the commands of parliament having thus fallen through, and being fearful of his own safety, he speedily sent word here of what had happened, imploring assistance, otherwise he represents he mistrusts his power to keep that town loyal to him any longer. On this account the hopes of his Majesty's most loyal servants are rising of being able to gather a party in that district strong enough to relieve him from the troubles which vex him.
On the other hand parliament, shaken by news of such consequence and equally apprehensive as to what the people of York may decide, not to speak of the Scots, urgently attends to make good all these incidents. They have sent other deputies to Uls to reduce the people there to their duty. They have sent a precept to all the sheriffs and other officials of York to do all in their power to prevent the assembly which is to be held there to-day, and they offer their protection by proclamation to those who obey their orders, while on the other hand they threaten with severe correction those who attempt to prevent their fulfilment. With the Scots also they do not fail to conduct themselves in the manner they consider best adapted to the circumstances. To certain lords of influence present with his Majesty and the reputed authors of these moves, parliament has sent an individual on purpose to order them to come here without delay. (fn. 9) But instead of obeying these lords have persuaded the king to have the man arrested and imprisoned, as he has done. When parliament learned of this they declared the lords enemies of the state. They are making fresh efforts to secure their persons, and in the mean time they are busy over another declaration against the actions of his Majesty, to publish it to the people and increase if possible the universal odium against him. Thus with the parties inflamed to the very extreme of bitterness everything goes to show that it will not be long before they appeal to arms or else agree upon a composition. Those of most experience feel persuaded that in view of the justice of his cause and the present disposition of the people the king may be able in a few days to enforce obedience and cause himself to be acknowledged for the virtuous and excellent prince that he is (et li piu prattici si persuadono che in riguardo alla giustitia della causa et alla dispositione de populi possa il Re in pochi giorni farsi ubbedire et riconoscere per quel virtuoso et ottimo Prencipe ch' egli e.)
Fortune continues to smile more and more on the rebels in Ireland. For lack of money and food the English troops previously sent there have mutined against their own commanders and thus afforded an opportunity to the insurgents to win greater advantages through the disorders of their opponents. (fn. 10) On this account it is apprehended that the troubles of that kingdom will be prolonged and very disastrous, with very little chance of its being reunited under the dominance of England without great difficulty, the latter country also being the subject of the most dismal prognostications.
London, the 30th May, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 31.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
60. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The affair of the Palatine continues its troubled career amid the most knotty discussions. Although they are trying to round off the edges, yet here they take the line that it is impossible to settle anything with any security, even if they wished, in the present state of affairs in that kingdom, owing to which it is not possible to know whether in the end the king or the parliamentarians will have the upper hand ; and that in consequence the whole of this treaty is in the air. Traumesdorf said as much to me.
Vienna, the last day of May, 1642.


  • 1. Sir Thomas Gore.
  • 2. Sir William Boteler and Capt. Richard Lovelace, the poet. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641—3, page 316.
  • 3. Sir John Borough was to have taken the order to Rupert, but died before starting and the prince was not invested until after his arrival in England. Nichols : History of the Orders of British Knighthood, Vol. I, pages 236, 237.
  • 4. The Scots newly landed routed the Irish at Ennisloughlin near Moira on the 29th April, O.S. Bagwell : Ireland under the Stuarts, Vol. II, page 15.
  • 5. Lundorp : Acta Publica, Vol. V, page 786. A copy of this paper is preserved among the Nicholas papers Vol. I, fol. 331, Brit. Mus. Egerton MSS. 2533.
  • 6. Jan van Reede sieur of Renswoude. See note at page 44 above.
  • 7. See the preceding volume of this Calendar, pages 68, 231.
  • 8. Sir William Murray. See Boswell's letter to Roe. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641—3, page 329.
  • 9. According to Salvetti, writing on the same date, these were the Earl of Newport and Viscount Savile. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 279621. The messenger was Francis Marley. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. V, page 85.
  • 10. The corners of the page are torn, but the sense of the passage is clear.