Venice: August 1643

Pages 1-13

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 27, 1643-1647. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1926.

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August 1643

1643. Aug. 3.
Cinque Savii alla Mercanzia. Venetian Archives.
1. The farmers of the duties on currants at Zante and Cephalonia for the period beginning on the 1st August, 1642, represent that they farmed the duties for three years for 119,110 ducats a year, the highest price that has ever been paid. There followed the prohibition of the trade in currants by England, and in consequence of this they asked for relief. They waited for a year, hoping that the difficulties would be removed and the trade revived, but since experience shows that the English are observing the decree, they ask to be relieved of their contract.
We admit the reasonableness of the claim, as the damage arises from no fault of theirs, but chiefly from the step taken by the English, who consume a great quantity of currants. We believe that the difficulty can be solved in a manner satisfactory to all parties. We observe that the English ships which come to this city with their complete cargoes give pledges on leaving to go to the islands, and do not pay the newest duty of 5 ducats per thousand. While it would be just to relieve the farmers we do not at the same time think it desirable for the state to take up the duties and collect them for the Signoria, but to wait for a little while and see what the decision of England will be, when it will be possible at some other time or at the expiry of the contract to come to some appropriate decision after a due consideration of the losses suffered. During the present year our magistrates have granted licences to five English ships and to seven Flemish ones to go and lade currants. If these have not so far taken any currants away at any rate they make use of the licences and in the course of two years, the period for which the contract has still to run, it will be possible to ascertain the quantity of currants produced by the islands and how much of it has been exported.
Dated at the office the 3rd August, 1643.
Zuane Francesco Venier. Savii.
Piero Pisano.
Alvise Contarini.
Aug. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
2. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the scattering of Waller's army by the Royalists he escaped with a few others to Bristol. He there received some assistance, and hurriedly collecting 600 horse he proceeded to Warwick, whence, on Tuesday, he entered this city, acclaimed by the people with the title of "Conqueror" as he bears the same name as the famous William. Common report makes him commander of the army being assembled in London, of 10,000 men, of which they have not yet got half, as they are not coming in in the way expected, nor is it so easy to raise the money required. They magnify the achievements of this individual, although defeated, to stimulate the people to help and give them hope of good success under his valorous leadership.
This feeling is greatly helped by the inertia or malice of General Essex. Last Saturday he wrote very strongly to parliament declaring that he could not keep the field if he did not promptly receive assistance in men and money, having no more than 5,000 soldiers, reduced by sickness, and as none of the commanders sent for had chosen to come. Although their suspicions of his behaviour have reached a climax, yet to put a stop to more explicit declarations, which would be highly prejudicial to the credit of parliament under present circumstances, they deal with him delicately, and although they do not satisfy his demands, desiring that his army should waste away with this mistrust, they put him off with fair words. I am assured, however that, seizing the opportunity of the objection of his leading officers to take the oath, he has got them secretly to promise loyalty to himself, and that he is preparing a manifesto in which he will make out that he and the majority of the members of parliament have been deceived by a few persons, who, concealing their own selfish aims under the cloak of religion and of the public weal, have brought affairs to this calamity. There is nothing to show that he has made any arrangement with the king, but it is clear that his Majesty apprehends nothing from his forces, as he at once sent the troops which arrived with the queen to besiege Bristol, and Prince Rupert with others to Gloucester. Moreover the Earl of Newcastle is pressing Manchester, and large forces are occupied in the siege of Exeter. Warwick recently made an attempt to relieve it. He has taken a fort at the mouth of the sea, but has not so far been able to go forward. There is talk of quarrels between the captains of the ships. His Majesty thus remains with a small army at Oxford. This delays help to the revolters in Kent, with murmuring among his partisans, who think that more is to be gained by encouraging that movement than in capturing all the places mentioned, important and very rich as they are. Yet these revolters are holding their own, despite the capture of 200 prisoners and of the town of Tombrich, taken by the parliamentary troops, numbering 2,000, sent against them from here. On their side they have taken 15 pieces of artillery from ships in the River and have provided themselves with arms and munitions. Their numbers do not increase, although the nobility of the county is ready to declare itself when it can do so with better prospects. Although the king sent people to stir up that part a long time ago, yet the rising took him unexpectedly. It was due to the murder by a parliamentarian of a person who refused to take the oath. For this cause they have stopped giving it everywhere, finding it very harmful in practice. They have also offered terms to those gentlemen if they will submit, but they have not accepted. They demand the reinstatement of the bishops, satisfaction in the choice of ministers, the use of the book of common prayer, security for life and property, and exemption from all taxes. As this cannot be allowed without affording a dangerous precedent they have decided to reduce them by arms. This might easily happen if they do not receive prompt assistance. This should not be far off, as news has come that the king, though so short of men, has decided to send 1,000 horse in that direction, and they should be on the march by now. His Majesty has also issued a proclamation forbidding any kind of provisions to be brought to this city, declaring all that is seized to be good booty. This shows that when his troops are released from the sieges he thinks of advancing to occupy the River above, as he has long contemplated doing, and thus force the Londoners to submission through hunger. If this happens the ordinary will find great difficulty in crossing the sea, and this is already difficult owing to the disturbances in Kent ; but I will do my best to keep your Excellencies informed.
M. di Wilibi, who supports the parliament, has captured Ghensbero, in Lincolnshire, through intelligence with the guards, (fn. 1) but the people of Niuvarch have hastened up and hold it besieged.
The petition promoted by certain enthusiasts with the approval of the mayor and Council of London, has been presented, numerously signed to parliament. They ask for the setting up of a tribunal of citizens, independent of parliament, to deliberate upon what is best for the safety of the city, choose the general for its army and instruct him to act as they may see fit. Unprejudiced persons recognise the mischief and disorder, but the few, who would sacrifice the whole world for their own safety, love this employment, which they will easily attain. In consequence of this the lieutenant of the Tower will be dismissed, as the mayor wants to place one of his dependents there, devoted to himself, as the sole guard of the city. (fn. 2)
Lodan, Governor of Uls, who was brought prisoner here last week for having had intelligence with the king, has accused three of the leading rebels of having with his assistance exported a great sum of gold out of the kingdom from that part. He undertakes to prove it at the risk of his life. He uses this to excuse his action, as from such precautions he might feel sure that matters were going badly.
The support of this party may depend now on two heads, only one being the city of London. This is pledged as your Excellencies have heard, but as it can contribute little beyond its own requirements, they have laid taxes on almost all articles of food and clothing, amounting to 3 shillings in the pound and more, which is announced to last for 3 years and as much longer as parliament shall direct, possibly with the idea of farming out the collection, though this might produce more dangerous results than the oath.
In spite of the withdrawal of the two lords, (fn. 3) they have sent the four commoners to Scotland without nominating others. They hope that a consideration of its own interests and apprehension of danger if they fail here, may induce that nation to abandon its very high pretensions.
London, the 7th August, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
3. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Sieur de Cressi, the French minister, has returned from Oxford. He went to meet the queen at Niuvarch and accompanied her to the king. While he praises the constancy and generosity of this prince he lets it escape that he did not obtain entire satisfaction in his negotiations. He keeps these secret, with all his loquacity, and all he told me was that the king will have help if he wishes it. As regards the expulsion of the Capuchins, he said that he could not accept or countenance the fact, and the king replied that he shared these sentiments. On the point of help I have learned on good authority that he made the most ample offers of money or men, at his Majesty's pleasure, but I fancy he wanted to bind him to a treaty of alliance, with a promise to assist France with the naval forces of the crown in case of need. Only desperation and not his present advantage could persuade the king to this, especially as his Council is guided by the Earl of Bristol and Lord Cottington, strong partisans of Spain, who could easily show the mischief of such an agreement if the French wished to put in execution their design to capture Dunkirk, which would be most disadvantageous to the naval forces of England and their dominion over the sea here.
Returned here Cressi has seen some of the lords, telling them that there is still time to humble themselves and ask pardon, but if they go on they will not find it when they want it. He assured them that the queen, his mistress, would spend her last crown and devote the last soldier of France to assist the king. He advised them in all sincerity, such was his character and he had been equally frank even with Cardinal Richelieu. He was told that the time is unsuitable for an adjustment. They wished to gain the upper hand first, to obtain better conditions. He told them they were subjects and ought not to claim any conditions but the clemency of their prince. He will depart by the post to-morrow, leaving here M. de Molin with the title of ordinary resident, the one left by the Ambassador Fertambo being recalled. (fn. 4)
To respond to his office his Majesty has chosen the Sieur de San Ravi, his chief huntsman, a Frenchman but a Protestant, with the title of gentleman. He has asked for a passport here, but has failed to get it, so he will have to go incognito by another route. He may have orders to arrange for the queen to go to France. Melancholy and hardship have made her malady of phthisis (etesia) so much worse that it is predicted that her days will be short (le vien pronosticato pochi giorni di vita). If she goes she will try the effect of the climate on her health, and to get assistance for her husband from the Court, and nothing more.
The dissatisfaction of the people of the Netherlands with the Prince of Orange has gone so far that they call him a traitor to the republic. They believe he has correspondence with the Spaniards, since he has lost such an advantageous campaign. The great assistance which he offered to the king here, for which he has been obliged to sell all his property in the East, only increases suspicion of his designs. In spite of all this the resident Bosuel constantly repeats his requests to the States for succour, though without hope of obtaining any, at least to prevent any going to the parliament, and to bring into relief their ingratitude, which may be of use some day to serve the interests of the king's son in law.
The States have not yet sent commissions for their plenipotentiaries nor have the Provinces nominated any, except Holland. From Hamburg has gone young Oxestern, who is going to the congress for the crown of Sweden, and the Danes are ready.
London, the 7th August, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
4. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
With universal applause Waller has been chosen commander of the army being raised in the city of London. This proceeds slowly, not from lack of money, as the citizens vie with each other in their zeal to do their utmost, but of men, of whom there are few left who are ready to take service. Yet Waller himself is helping, and by his words and the hopes he holds out he so captivates the people that it is believed he will be able to take the field in a few days, and it is thought that in any case he will return to the abandoned West unless the king blocks the way.
General Essex objects to this choice, considering it a slight to himself and that the idea is to bring down his forces, so that his office may desert him, since he is not disposed to give it up, and it is considered dangerous to deprive him of it because of his popularity with the chief officers. He is at Becanfil, whence he writes to parliament that he wants five things. First that they repair his reputation, punishing those who have spoken and written opprobriously against it. Second that they pay the debts due to the army. Third that they reinforce it with recruits. Fourth that as generalissimo the choice of subordinate commanders shall rest with him. Lastly that he have leave to make an inquiry into the actions of Waller in the West, (fn. 5) which will show that parliament has suffered serious disadvantages through him, and expose the empty and mendacious fame which raises him to such glory.
In reply they have sent two aldermen to apologise for the lack of respect shown by the people. The Lower House has voted him 4,000 men as recruits, to please the Upper House, which supports him, but with no intention of carrying it into effect, since they and Waller are doing their utmost to draw away his own men to fill up the new levy. But they wish to assemble 6,000 horse whom the Earl of Manchester is to command. But it will be a lengthy and difficult matter, while the king is pursuing his conquests without delay, as your Serenity shall hear. The most important town of Bristol, strong in itself and with its almost impregnable castle, defended by the sea and secured by abundant provisions, has been taken at the fourth assault through the pure cowardice of the governor. He is son of one of the chief rebels, and to escape the king's severity he has tried to save himself in anticipation. (fn. 6)
The troops being abandoned and urged by the very rich inhabitants have had to come out without conditions, stick in hand. The town is to contribute to his Majesty 50,000l. sterling and to supply all the besieging army with one pay and a garment each. After the disability suffered by his Majesty in not having a footing on the sea in the West, this capture of the sole merchantile town in the kingdom after London is of the greatest consideration, with its most capacious port, where he can arm a considerable number of ships to oppose Warwick, without disturbing the very great trade of the town with Spain.
The men of Niuvarc have taken Ghensbero and captured Wilibi, who had it by stratagem. (fn. 7) The people of Gloucester are also parleying, but they want to make their bargain with the king in person, who is said to have gone there. News of the surrender of Exeter is expected at any moment, the Earl of Warwick who went to relieve it from the sea having lost three ships and 2,000 sailors, without result. After the capture of the first fort he entered the channel to master two others, when the besiegers by sinking boats with stones at the mouth, cut off the retreat of the large vessels which were sunk by gunshot.
All these commitments have prevented the king from giving assistance to the men of Kent, who are now quiet, having been overcome by the parliamentary forces. However they preserve the most favourable disposition towards his Majesty, ready to come to the fore when they are encouraged and assisted. It is believed that this will be soon unless the Scots, on whom the last hopes of the parliamentarians rest, make a move. We hear no news of this yet, as the commissioners sent by the Lower House cannot have arrived. Meanwhile the utmost severity is shown against the peasants who bring food to this city, many having been taken and punished by the king's troops, so that the scarcity is beginning to be unbearable. Moved by this parliament has sent three commissioners to the city. In the great hall before a great crowd they delivered three long speeches urging them to contribute to provide food for the city before the scarcity becomes greater, though bidding them be of good courage and minimising the danger, so as not to alarm them.
Odan, governor of Uls, who accused three of the members of parliament of exporting gold, is reported to be dead, with suspicion of poison. I have no confirmation, but the mere report causes misgivings of complicity if not of poison on the part of the accused. Accordingly it is said that they will be excluded from the number of the most secret commissioners, and others will be appointed in their place. This has not happened yet, but in any case it cannot fail to promote divisions since such a rumour opens the eyes of many which were closed by prejudice.
London, the 13th August, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
5. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
M. di Cressi, the French minister was to have left on Saturday, but did not go till yesterday. He had orders from the queen, his mistress, to release Sir [Kenelm] Dighbi, known to your Serenity, imprisoned as a Catholic and a royalist also. After much difficulty he succeeded, but on condition that Dighbi should cross the sea with him, as he will do. Although he has not found any disposition in parliament for an accommodation with the king, as he himself has told me several times, yet from his talk I gather that he will glose over this reluctance and the ill treatment he has received, as he is ambitious to return with the title of ambassador, either alone or with some one of higher rank. He looks to have influence with the leading royal councillors, although they are friendly to Spain, for having obliged them by the release of Dicbi, their friend, which they strongly urged upon him ; but if the affairs of their Majesties here do not change their aspect, and become unfavourable, he will have great difficulty in obtaining any employment. It is true that Cardinal Mazzarini, who wants to keep France agitated by the war, is aiming by every means, to interest this crown, and there is some talk of his allowing Prince Rupert to marry Mademoiselle de Rohan, if the king will promise to do something for the Palatine his brother, as since the death of Richelieu the Cardinal seems more inclined to favour that house, through the change of policy of the Duke of Bavaria.
The Parliament's fleet has captured and brought into the River here a ship of the King of Denmark, with numerous packages which were going to their Majesties, full of arms and munitions of war. The commissioner who was on board to present them has been summoned to parliament. He has declared himself a public minister, though he has not presented his credentials, and he spoke very high, protesting that his master will know how to make himself respected, and that all English ships which pass the Sound with their goods will be seized. (fn. 8) Accordingly, to prevent the news reaching Hamburg before they come to a decision on the matter, parliament has closed the ports and stopped the letters going to Flanders last week ; and there is no sign of their opening the routes this week. I have tried to get some one to Dover with this despatch, and asked M. de Cressi, who will not have crossed yet, I hope, to take it to Sig. Giustinian in France, to be forwarded.
London, the 13th August, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
6. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Notwithstanding the king's good fortune his Majesty has sent a declaration here, making the most of his present advantage, but intimating that he detests the victories themselves, as they are always hurtful to his subjects, and consequently to himself, and he will gladly embrace them if they will recognise their fault and return to their natural duty. He protests that this will be his last offer. Taking heart from this declaration the lords of the Upper House have resolved to consider a composition, for which they have drawn up articles largely modelled on the first, and such as his Majesty might be expected to accept with slight alteration. The proposal was laid before the Lower House and they were taking time to consider it when the mayor accompanied by more than 5,000 of the lower inhabitants presented a petition in their name against its acceptance. (fn. 9) The disposition of many of the Chamber being overawed by this, they complied with the demand, but the proposal was only rejected by a majority of seven.
The Lords were in danger of suffering from the barbarity of this mob, which was summoned for nothing else than to inveigh against their proper inclination to render to the king the obedience due to him, and bring peace to the kingdom. Accordingly the more moderate, and especially the women, who deplore the miseries of these times, appeared on the following day in equal numbers, with their children in their arms, to soften the hardest hearts and implore peace. But these rascals, fomented by soldiers, regardless of the sex, engaged in a bloody conflict with them at the Houses of Parliament, which forced the lords to flee from their own chamber and some even from the city, ten persons being killed and more than a hundred injured, mostly women.
To foment the obstinacy of the few, who have shown themselves so determined and violent, and to arouse the detestation of the rest against the royal person, they have published some letters which they say were found among the papers of the Archbishop of Canterbury, making it appear that he had correspondence with Rome, and held out hopes of bringing his Majesty and consequently the whole kingdom to the obedience of the Roman Church ; but the eyes of even the most ignorant are by this time opened to such devices and the pen no longer prevails over the sword.
The importance of the capture of Bristol becomes ever more apparent. The king has been there in person to give the necessary orders for its defence. He has left Viscount Obton as governor, although greater personages had claims ; and there was some quarrelling among them, which was stopped by his Majesty. They found a good number of armed ships in the port and the king ordered the rapid equipment of a fleet, which will be stronger in numbers if not in quality than that of Warwick. Four royalist ships which escaped from him have taken refuge there. The merchants here have already taken alarm at possible damage to their trade.
The king went on to Gloucester with the intention of obtaining its surrender on his appearance. But this did not occur, the people there showing the utmost determination to hold out until the last gasp. He is pressing the place hard and it will have to capitulate soon, as it cannot be relieved. Exeter also displays great obstinacy, and does not parley although abandoned by land and by sea. In Lincoln also, a most important city, after a long contest between the inhabitants, the royalists have prevailed, the parliamentarians have left and a royal garrison has entered. The same thing has happened at Dorchester, Warmoud and other towns near the sea, of no slight convenience and consequence.
General Essex draws nearer and nearer to this city with his men, who do not exceed 3,000, and is at Oxbrich, only 12 miles away. Four commissioners have been sent to him, as a compliment, to learn his views, and to mitigate his dislike of Waller. They were not fully satisfied, as, contrary to their wishes he showed in his talk a propensity to peace, and would not show any sign of regard for Waller. They managed, however, to take from his army some of the largest guns, which will serve for Waller. That officer continues his levy with the utmost energy, but is constantly delayed by numerous obstacles. No news comes from Scotland, the last refuge of their hopes.
Three of the leading rebels having been accused by Odam of exporting money, (fn. 10) and a ship having been seized recently in the River with a quantity of sterling on board, which proves it, the Lords have proposed to the Commons to appoint commissioners to draw up an account of receipts and expenses, under the pretext that it ought to be printed to inform the people of the exhausted state of the treasury and so persuade them to contribute. But the real object was to discover the default of those accused ; but these, who maintain a close alliance with the city of London and who are reestablishing their power by the acts of violence reported, have caused the proposal to be dropped.
From fear that with the king close to this city the prisoners, who are exceedingly numerous and whose only crime is being good subjects of his Majesty, may break their prisons, which are private houses, and augment or even rouse the party, they have decided to send them for confinement on the ships of the fleet, a new sort of punishment and torture.
No consideration of respect or fear for the consequences has sufficed to obtain the release of the Danish ship, the policy of this government being from hand to mouth and not far sighted. So they have unladed it and taken the arms, which have come in opportunely for the new levies, since some laded at Dunkirk for the parliament by permission of Don Francisco di Melo, have been seized by his order, given covertly at the instance of the king.
The French enterprise at Tionville being done, (fn. 11) the Prince of Orange is thinking more of retiring than of doing anything as he only took the field by compulsion of the French, who may be in no condition for anything further after the loss of their best soldiers in that army. The States are still assembled at the Hague for the appointment of the plenipotentiaries for the congress of Munster. They have announced that the instructions will be communicated to these alone. The Prince, though with great regret, is realising all the money which he had out, having recently sold his interest in the West, and from what I hear he has also pawned the lordship of Breda. He finds himself becoming more distrusted and the times are not favourable for resenting it, owing to the prolongation of the troubles here.
London, the 21st August, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
7. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On Wednesday last there returned from England the individual Crasi, who was sent there by the queen. He brings an unadorned account of the state of affairs there, and he handed me the attached packet from the Resident Agostini for your Serenity. In place of this Crasi the queen is sending Boisireon, gentleman of the duke or Orleans. Crasi said something about a project of the king of England to betake himself here to France, but it is not quite certain.
Paris, the 25th August, 1643.
Aug. 26.
Senato. Secreta, Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian. Archives.
8. Niccolo Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The growing strength of the pirates is becoming noticeable. A fortnight ago they fought four ships at once, a Biscayan, an English and two Flemings. The first escaped by flight, the second was burned, the third sank and the fourth remained their prize.
Madrid, the 26th August, 1643.
Aug. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
9. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Every effort, not omitting violence, is used to purge this city of the pacific royalists and neutrals. Many of the women who went to implore peace have been imprisoned, as well as their husbands, the mere suspicion of desiring it being considered the last degree of criminality. For this reason they have made a fresh general search in the houses, and taken away arms of every sort, even swords, from those not actually serving the parliament. Many have been arrested without any evidence about their sympathies save the indiscretion of soldiers, who permit themselves every liberty, without any reason, and even carry off anything they take a fancy to. On Tuesday they visited the royal palace where some ladies have taken refuge, but no courtesy or respect could restrain the greed of these fellows, who left behind nothing of use.
Unable to bear any longer all this cruelty and insolence, some of the members of the Upper House, six in number, have made up their minds to go over to the king, under the pretext of retiring to their country houses. (fn. 12) The Earl of Northumberland, the richest and most powerful of them has assembled in his country 600 gentlemen on horse, and these with their servants form a corps of 1,200. The others also are trying to supply as much as they can in order to earn his Majesty's pardon, since their opposition at the beginning started the present disorders. The Upper House is now reduced to only six, all obstinate, and two of these will soon go, as they are charged to raise levies for the parliament. (fn. 13) This diminution is by no means displeasing to the Lower House, which, even if it should not support their proposals, could not speedily carry into effect its own. It would seem, all the same, as if the Commons have lost a great part of their influence, which is being won by the city of London, as since the city pays the money for the war they also claim the right to direct it. This is dragging on amid great disorders especially as the generals and leaders, who are all members of parliament, seem to have no other aim than to fill their own pockets, and arrange to live elsewhere. Accordingly they have abandoned the strict maintenance of the authority of parliament and support the city. To improve their advantage in this way and make themselves safe they have induced it to decide to raise ten subsidies, worth 300,000l. sterling, but they cannot be sure everyone will consent to the payment after so many demands.
Waller remains here and it is not known when he will have his army ready. It is unlikely to be soon, as they have put 3,000 men of the new levy on ships to go to the relief of Exeter, which is still besieged.
Amid the apprehensions of these delays they would like to get the General Essex to march, reinforced by some cavalry under the Earl of Manchester. To prevail on him they twice this week sent commissioners from among the most interested, but he has no more than 3,000 men, and is not yet disposed to move as they would wish.
Before approaching this city the king decided to secure the country behind him to resist any attempt that the Scots might make, of whose movements or resolutions we hear nothing as yet. For this reason he went in person to the siege of Gloucester, where he has delivered various assaults, with some loss, but the town is so obstinately defended by the inhabitants and the governor, so that while it is thought that its surrender will be late, it is not known whether the siege will be continued, since it is a great hindrance under the circumstances.
To Exeter, which still holds out, the king has sent Prince Rupert with cavalry, to encompass it on every side and to scour the country to cut off supplies, which enter it by some secret way.
One of the most seditious and violent members has been put in the Tower by order of parliament. (fn. 14) The pretext is that he said publicly that it was necessary to exterminate the king and all his posterity, because it was better for one family to perish than the whole kingdom. I learn, however, that the chief reason is because he spoke against another member of the same type, with a more powerful following. But however this may be, the arrest and the rumour cannot fail to assist his Majesty greatly.
The coach of the Spanish ambassador has been seized by the ministers of parliament, encouraged by the people, and they removed from it and imprisoned a gentleman and a priest of his household. The ambassador went in person to the commissioners of parliament to make vigorous remonstrance. This served for the release of the gentleman, but not of the priest, although he is a Fleming and a subject of his king.
London, the 28th August, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
10. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince of Orange seems disposed not to retire without attempting something, though many still doubt it. The threats of the French to pursue their conquests in Luxemburg will help him as they will keep the forces of Melo busy there. The deputies of the Provinces at the Hague have not yet perfected their instructions to the plenipotentiaries for the congress. There appears to be some difficulty about the nominees, particularly Count William of Nassau, as being too dependent on the Prince. Most of the Provinces have made their deputies swear not to divulge anything dealt with at the Assembly, and not to take up any business without first informing their own Province. Many took it readily, but M. di Martanessi, deputy for the nobles of Holland, refused to bind himself so strictly, so he is no longer admitted to the States General.
The Bishop of Bremen, second son of the King of Denmark, is to marry the sister of the Duke of Lunemburg. The Elector of Brandenburg will be present at the wedding. He is returning from his negotiations for the marriage with the queen of Sweden, which has fallen through. Her councillors, remembering the rule of Gustavus Adolphus, prefer the dominion of a woman.
London, the 28th August, 1643.


  • 1. On the 20-30 July.
  • 2. The lieutenant was Sir John Conyers. The Mayor, Pennington, was appointed to take charge of the Tower only on the 27th October. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. VI., page 279.
  • 3. The earl of Rutland and lord Grey of Wark.
  • 4. M. de Bure.
  • 5. The letter, dated 28 July, O.S., is printed, Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. VI., page 160.
  • 6. Nathaniel Fiennes, governor of Bristol, capitulated on the 5th August, N.S.
  • 7. Recaptured on the 9th August, Lord Willoughby of Parham got away to Boston.
  • 8. The Ark Christian, Captain Ribkins, captured on her way to Newcastle, with munitions sent by the Danish monarch to King Charles. Salvetti on the 14th Aug. Brit. Mus, Add. MSS. 27962K ; Journals of the House of Commons, pages 186, 188, 216.
  • 9. On Monday, August 7-17.
  • 10. In his examination Hotham denied having charged Pym and Lord Say and Sele with having transported money beyond the sea. Parliamentary History, Vol. XII., pages 379, 380. Possibly the resident believed the nobleman with a double title to be two persons. The same charge was made by a certain Coleman. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. III., page 240.
  • 11. Taken by Condé on the 4th August.
  • 12. There were seven, viz. : Bedford, Clare, Conway, Holland, Lovelace, Northumberland and Portland.
  • 13. Not permanently. Thus on the 23rd Sept. besides Lord Grey of Wark as Speaker, eight peers are recorded as present, the earls of Bolingbroke, Stamford, Lincoln, Denbigh, Viscount Say and Sele. Lords Wharton, Howard of Escrick and Hunsden. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. VI., page 230. In the months immediately following several others are mentioned as present, Pembroke, Northumberland, Manchester, Salisbury, Suffolk, Bruce, Rutland. Ibid. pages 290, 297, 298. Clarendon, at a somewhat later date, gives the number of peers on the parliamentary side as twenty-two. Hist. of the Rebellion, Bk. VII., pages 443, 444.
  • 14. Henry Marten, on the 26th August.