Venice: September 1643

Pages 13-24

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


September 1643

Sept. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
11. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
They have decided to send the Count d'Harcourt to England as ambassador. He was declared Grand Eeuyer these last days. The common pretext is to treat for some adjustment in that kingdom, but the real inner reason is supposed to be to deprive the House of Guise of a very powerful instrument at Court. But the count of Harcourt has not yet attached himself to the Guise faction.
Paris, the 1st September, 1643.
Sept. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
12. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
All ways to peace being abandoned and those of the people who leaned that way being imprisoned or otherwise punished, they are plunging headlong into war, which is vile and difficult, since despair is their only goal and violence their guide. The city of London has already usurped practically absolute power. They have formed a council for the militia, composed of citizens with supreme authority to do what is considered necessary for self defence, while for the equipment of the army and its despatch they are raising money and men, punishing those who refuse obedience by way of court martial, even with death, an unprecedented and illegal course. They have met and drawn up a new oath worse than the first, which they impose one by one on those whose loyalty they most suspect. All this week they have been pressing men with so much inhumanity that many of the objectors have been injured and five killed, not without serious riots, in one part and another of this confused, divided and wretched city.
Parliament also has selected 15 of its members to go into Kent to ruin those who were involved or had a share in the late revolt there, with authority to confiscate their goods and also to imprison. They subject favour to the same disadvantage that justice allows to penalties, since they state that whereas one alone may condemn, three must be in agreement for an acquittal.
After numerous visits to General Essex the commissioners have at last persuaded him to move to relieve Gloucester or to besiege Oxford whichever he prefers. He asked for 5,000 men more, 10,000l. at once and a deputation of commissioners to assist him. All was promptly granted as they sent two regiments of the trained bands of the citizens here for the purpose, and on Wednesday he set out with an army of over 10,000 men. On the road he is to be joined by as many of the cavalry of the levy as are ready, which the Earl of Manchester is raising in the counties near here.
Waller is still here with some troops, his numbers not yet being filled up and his men refusing to serve in the army of Essex. According to the issue of events they will decide whether he shall take the field or remain for the defence of the city, whose fortifications are now being most strictly guarded by the trained bands. For this reason and for others which do not appear, all the shops are kept shut by order of parliament, with loss to the merchants and inconvenience to the inhabitants.
Letters have arrived from the commisioners who went to Scotland. They report their arrival and courteous reception, as well as the favourable disposition of the people to assist the English, but that it cannot take effect in a brief space because of the lack of all the needful provisions. They also report a protestation by the queen mother of France of her hostility to the commissioners of that nation who are there. So amid so many difficulties and delays they have sent from here by sea 3,000 foot to Farfax, in Uls, so that he may again take the field and harass Yorkshire, or at least prevent Newcastle's forces from going to join the king. They are also sending troops by sea to Plymouth, with the idea of raising levies for the siege of Bristol, but as the parliament has scarcely anything else in Cornwall besides that town, a levy is likely to be a difficult matter.
When the six lords of the Upper House reached Oxford, the queen would not receive them until the king returned from Gloucester. He himself showed little satisfaction at their appearance, since he knew it was due to their ill treatment here, and not an acknowledgment of their duty or from true respect and loyalty to him. After performing this function the king went back immediately to Gloucester. Besides messages and protests, to which he only received impertinent replies, he delivered three general assaults last week, and was repulsed each time with loss, and in their last sortie the besieged captured three guns. Yet the siege is continued and it is thought that the place will be taken soon. But it is not known whether they will wait for the army of Essex there or come back to protect Oxford, from fear that he may attack it. Exeter is also holding out, and although abandoned of all succour, shows no sign of yielding.
The king followed the advice of true military counsellors in undertaking the siege of these two places, to secure his rear, before approaching, London. But the event, which is the real test shows that the queen's advice, after the taking of Bristol, to move straight to attack this city, was the more advantageous, as the confusion among the people here was very great, nothing was provided, and this is subsequently being made good, though by violent means.
The king has concluded a truce for a year between the rebels in Ireland and the other side, imprisoning some of the magistrates of Dublin who objected and restoring others who had been excluded at the beginning by order of parliament, for their devotion to his Majesty. Some are still opposed, but they have not the power to resist. The object is to use the captured ports for receiving reinforcements from that quarter in men for present needs and in any case as a set off against the Scots. They say that some barques have already reached Varmoud.
All signs of the Prince of Orange moving have vanished. He only remains at Bergobson to make a diversion for the French, who continue their successes in Luxemburg. The States of the Provinces have not yet dissolved. They keep restricting the powers of the States General. The instructions for the plenipotentiaries for Minister are not yet completed. Holland objects to Count William of Nassau, and some provinces will not appoint before the French start, who are to pass that way. Some think that the arrival of the fleet in Spain, the successes in Catalonia with some advantage of the emperor over the Swedes, may cheek the desire of the Austrians for that Congress.
London, the 4th September, 1043.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 7.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives.
13. The Resident of the King of England came into the Collegio and spoke in conformity with the memorial presented.
The Doge replied : We have always wished his Majesty every success, from our regard for that crown, and that he may regain what has been usurped from him, returning to his previous flourishing state. We are therefore very pleased at the news and thank his Majesty for the communication, wishing him all prosperity and content.
The Resident said, I had such a gracious reply from your Serenity about the servant who is in prison, that I forgot his interests, my own, and what is more important, his Majesty's, to avoid being importunate. I would point out that this gentleman has now been two months in a dark cell and his sufferings have constituted a severe sentence. I should not wish the like to befall any of the household of the ministers in England, so I ask for a favourable and a speedy despatch.
The Doge said they would try to despatch it as soon as possible. The replies have already been intimated to him so that everything good that is possible may be done. With this the resident made his bow and departed.
From the day when your Serenity's friendly demonstration of the 13th June reached his Majesty his arms have visibly begun to gain force. Of the three armies kept up by the rebels two have been completely routed, while the third, under the Earl of Essex, is so reduced and disheartened that instead of besieging his Majesty in Oxford, as it was charged to do, it has thought it safer to retire to within a short distance of London.
The queen has succeeded without great difficulty in uniting her forces with the king. The towns of Bristol and Gloucester, after London are the most important in the realm, and their Majesties have marched there to receive the inhabitants into their favour. Several counties, suffering from the rebels' tyranny, are beginning to shake off the yoke and of these incendiaries some have fled the realm and others are asking for peace.
While this success is due to the Divine protection, his Majesty attributes not a little to the good wishes of your Serenity and has directed me to thank you and wish equal felicity to the arms of the republic. This has reached me very appropriately for the recent victory over the enemy which will afford the greatest pleasure to his Majesty, and upon which I congratulate you in his name. It may be seen that the good wishes of my king to the republic are not less cordial nor less efficacious.
Sept. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispaeci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
14. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Starting with a numerous army, although inexperienced, it being mostly composed of the trained bands, Essex halted at Colbruch, 17 miles from here. Dismissing the pressed men, from whom he looked for no service, he made fresh demands for men, money and clothing. These were partly met. They sent him another regiment of the trained bands of the city ; and persuaded by some of the commissioners of parliament who went there, he resumed his march towards Oxford, from which he is only 15 miles distant, intending to pass it and take up his quarters between it and Gloucester, to prevent a junction between the king and queen, and consequently of the besieging army with the other. The intention of parliament is that General Waller, who is busy with his preparations, of other forces, shall take a position this side of Oxford, and so hold it invested or cause apprehension that it will be, and thereby bring about the abandonment of the siege of Gloucester. Meanwhile Essex has sent forward some picked horse to enter that town and encourage the besieged ; but this is likely to be difficult, as the town has been very closely invested since the move of these armies.
His Majesty now realises how much he has lost through the resolute obstinacy of the governor and inhabitants of that place, of no great consequence, by committing himself to this enterprise, whereby he has let slip a great opportunity of ending the affair with advantage and glory, since he did not help the rising in Kent, where they are now ruined and incapable of stirring, while others are warned not to follow their example. He might well have considered that time would restore to some vigour the huge body of this city, which at that time was distressed and abject through disturbing humours.
Waller is collecting his men with great energy. To complete the number fixed and also to reduce the cost, they have had to send several companies of the trained bands. Those who do not want to go undertake to maintain a man in their place. As these are not paid it causes great inconvenience and may be of little good. It is uncertain precisely when he will move, but it should be soon, although when Essex gave the patents in blank for him to the commissioners of parliament he hinted that Waller was not a person to be trusted.
Fairfax sallied out of Uls with a few men against Newcastle, but his forces were destroyed in a flash by the power of the royalists in Yorkshire, so he had to return to his original quarters to wait for better help, either from the people sent him from here or through the appearance of the Scottish army.
The English commissioners in that country, to prove the readiness of that nation to assist this, have sent a covenant suggested by the parliament there, for confirmation. It serves for nothing except for a renewal of the alliance already made between the two countries, under cover of maintaining the Protestant religion, but actually to reduce it to the most rigid Puritanism, and to preserve the privileges of both parliaments in general, a head under which they can bring any decisions they choose. In the matter of assistance, so urgently requested, they will agree upon special conditions, for which I shall watch.
The old Walloons, who are numerous in this kingdom, being gathered in places contiguous to the city, have entered it in considerable numbers bearing aloft crucifixes and images. Appearing at the Houses of Parliament they demanded the utmost severity against the Popish idolaters, and the abolition everywhere of images and figures of every sort. To please them parliament, which has constituted itself the stoutest and most trustworthy support of sedition, has decreed that in every church in the realm the monuments and every sort of figure found there shall be destroyed. This would seem a very inopportune moment for the coming of the Count of Harcourt as ambassador extraordinary of the Most Christian, to arrange an adjustment for the restoration of the Capuchins and raise the condition of the Catholics, but the private interests of the one who now governs at that Court induce him to get the Count away, as being the most considerable member of the House of Lorraine, especially in the present disturbances. Neither do they show the respect due to the reputation of France, sufficiently injured in the person of the Sieur de Cressi, who in his eagerness for an ambassadorship, is content to come privately as a courier for Harcourt, merely with the hope of remaining as ordinary when the Count leaves, if he arranges some adjustment, though this is extremely unlikely, especially as they lack the support of the French pensioners, who fled from here and were ill received at Court.
The Resident Molino has informed the king of this choice, by an express, and it has caused him great satisfaction, as in the somewhat disadvantageous position to which he has relapsed, he hopes to receive vigorous assistance without incurring responsibility. M. de San Ravi has crossed the sea and arrived at the French Court to respond to the office performed by Cressi, and to take some commissions from the queen here to her Majesty. Lord Gorin has been appointed ambassador in ordinary, a man more given to joking than to affairs (sogetto piu da facetie che da negotii). The Prince of Orange thinks only of retiring, and his army has done nothing but defeat some companies of Don Andrea Cantelmo near Antwerp. The French ambassador Tullerie complained in the Assembly of the States General of the loss of such a promising campaign, but this did not prevent him swearing the new subsidiary alliance in the name of the new French king.
London, the 11th September, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 12.
Senato. Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
15. To the Secretary Agostini in London.
Order to proceed to the Hague in the way he finds most convenient, and presenting to their High Mightinesses his. credentials to try and obtain from them through the ministers or other persons in authority a levy of 2,000 Dutch soldiers, upon the same conditions and at the same pay as on previous occasions, advising the Senate with all diligence of what he has done in the matter since the business is most urgent. He is to pay the usual respects to the king for taking leave, assuring his Majesty of the constant regard of the republic.
[Italian ; the vote is lacking.]
Sept. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
16. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The siege of Gloucester occupies the attention of all. Although success would not indemnify the king for his lost opportunities, yet it will give his arms a considerable advantage, or at least prevent the very great mischief that would result were the issue different. Neither bombs, mines nor repeated assaults have been able to shake the besieged, whose obstinate resistance is making the attack lose heart, and in the last assault they would not expose themselves, so the very cavalry had to dismount. The king being personally engaged under that place, while Essex is advancing towards Oxford with a large army, he has had to increase the garrison there out of his own army. To replace these and to ensure a stout resistance, he has called off numbers of troops from the siege of Exeter, leaving only a few to blockade the place, who will hardly suffice to prevent the entry of food and munitions of war. He has fetched reinforcements from other places as well, giving him over 12,000 combatants in a single body.
General Essex, passing by Oxford, is now at Staun, a few miles from the royal army, so a battle is expected, although it is thought that the king will avoid one at all costs, in the expectation that the hardships of those inexperienced troops will give him the victory with less risk.
Meanwhile Commissioner Wilmot with 2,000 horse has fallen upon 15 companies of trained bands proceeding from Surrey to join Essex, a short distance from Oxford, but he only scattered a part of them because the news reached him too late.
General Waller remains here, and although they talk of his starting any day, there is no sign of it as yet, since his army has more officers than soldiers so far. In the difficulty of obtaining volunteers and the unsatisfactory service to be expected from the pressed men, they have sent for all the river boatmen, who are extremely numerous, and tried to persuade a part of them to take arms ; but they did not favour the occupation and so the results are like to be scanty.
The Earl of Manchester who went to Norfolk to raise men, finding the town of Lin, important for its nearness to the sea, on the king's side, is laying siege to it with his first scanty forces. The defenders display great steadfastness and have sent to his Majesty for help, but in the present crisis he is unlikely to send any.
The Lords who went to Oxford have not been able to see the queen yet and have not even been admitted to general intercourse. The king has stated that he wishes them first to denounce the oath taken for the parliament and to renew solemnly that of allegiance to himself. They have proceeded for this purpose to the camp under Gloucester.
The covenant sent here by the Scots has been referred to the synod, to relieve the parliamentarians of all scruple about swearing it, touching the rites of the religion which were established by ancient parliaments in the time of Queen Elizabeth, different in this kingdom from those in Scotland. Some of the theologians have consequently refused to accept it and have been expelled from the synod. So religion and the laws have no other ritual at present than the will of the rebels. Meanwhile the Scots have publicly announced their readiness to give help here, but this will not come to deeds without the advantages which they have set forth. They have issued a proclamation that everyone under obligation to serve is to hold himself in readiness to take arms for the two parliaments when called upon. The Earl of Newcastle, who keeps a strong army, has moved to the northern frontier and is trying by threats to obtain a declaration at least of neutrality from Lancashire, which has hitherto seemed to object.
The Sieur di Cressi has returned here without other title than that of gentleman, sent as before, and he went on at once to Court with a passport from parliament. He reports that the Count of Harcourt, the ambassador extraordinary designate, is all ready to start as soon as he hears from him. Cressi told me himself that he sees that the position is unfavourable for peace, but one must do one's best. He will show great energy in this business because he has the promise of the queen mother to remain as ambassador in ordinary, if an adjustment ensues, and he desires this exceedingly.
London, the 18th September, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 19.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
17. In the Pregadi on the 19th September.
With respect to the representations made by the people of the island of Cephalonia who state that they have no market for their currants, since, owing to the wars of England, no ships arrive from the West to buy them :
That to revive the trade the duty of 10 ducats per thousand be reduced to 8 ducats, to begin from the date of the arrival of these present at the island.
That it is not desirable at present to direct the Secretary in England to treat about a fixed price.
That the recall of the Englishman, Henry Hider, as being able to help the export of currants, be referred to another time.
Ayes, 80. Noes, 4. Neutral 2.
18. To the Proveditore of Zante.
Enclose copy of the deliberation of the Senate touching the reduction of the duty on currants from 10 to 8 ducats.
Sept. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
19. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The individual Crassi, who was despatched to England, has sent word by an express of the eagerness with which the Count d'Harcourt is awaited both by the king and by the parliament ; accordingly Harcourt is hastening his departure.
Paris, the 22nd September, 1643.
Sept. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Munster. Venetian Archives.
20. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador to the Congress at Munster, to the Doge and Senate.
The Resident of the king of England, who looks after the affairs of the Palatine (fn. 1) here, has been to visit me, with terms of respect and of friendly confidence and with insinuations in the interests of that House. He told me that in this Assembly the interests of the Palatine are supported by the general body of the Electors and Princes, and are only contested by the duke of Bavaria, whose influence prevails over that of all the others from the advantage of the army, which depends on him, and which causes all the others to take his side. He refuses absolutely to allow that the Palatinate shall be discussed in the general congress at Munster, especially since France has written a letter to the king of Denmark dated the 28th of August last, inciting him to procure the reinstatement of the Palatine. But Bavaria wishes that affair to be dealt with separately, or to have it referred to the conference of Frankfort, but all in order to gain time, as he has been doing for practically twenty years, constantly ringing the changes in his offers and promises.
Francfort, the 22nd September, 1643.
Sept. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
21. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Amid the uncertainty that ruled after the departure of the army of Essex to relieve Gloucester, reports most prejudicial to the king were circulated here. But yesterday definite information arrived that although at the appearance of this army his Majesty raised the siege and left the way clear for Essex to enter Gloucester, yet he now holds him besieged with powerful forces, and hopes soon to secure his defeat without risk to himself. It is true that the decision not to contest the entry is not approved by all the king's partisans. Essex writes to parliament that unless prompt succour reaches him he will be in some danger, and so they are urging on Waller. But he has no wish to see his enemy Essex successful, and from fear of losing that reputation which is commonly entertained, without any merit or courage to support it, will not easily be induced to expose himself. Meanwhile the king has his successes, as Barnstable and Bideford have voluntarily submitted to him, and although of slight importance, they are by the sea and afford a capacious and convenient port.
His Majesty's forces under Exeter, seeing the city reduced to extremity, preferred to postpone their obedience to the royal commands about joining him, to losing the opportunity of taking it. The place surrendered with the usual honourable terms for the defenders. (fn. 2) The capture is of very great importance, but the expectation of even greater dims its lustre.
With matters in this state they do not lose heart here, and above all they are urging from the city the collection of the 50 subsidies and the other taxes, though payment is hindered not only by lack of will but by lack of means.
A part of the boatmen enlisted have been sent by sea to Plymouth to secure that strong place, the only one left to parliament in Cornwall. Sciomle, originally a parliamentary leader, but long since returned to his loyalty, with troops given him by Newcastle has taken Beverley in Yorkshire, opening a way to lay siege to Uls. It is stated that Newcastle with all his forces is on the way thither, having some intelligence with the inhabitants. This will help the success of a difficult enterprise, but necessary, to resist an advance of the Scots, if they enter this kingdom. These are moving very slowly in action though they express readiness to assist, either because they see the exhausted state in which they are here for money, or because they fear a rising in the counties of Northumberland and Cumberland, which are still suffering from the harm done when they were last there. In spite of this they have sent commissioners here, under pretence of taking part in the synod, to give information about the rites, so that the church here may be regulated to their taste, but they will also interest themselves in political matters, while the new alliance sent by the Scots has been sworn, in spite of the opposition of the synodalists.
When the king of Denmark heard the news of the capture by the parliamentary fleet of his ship with arms for the king, and of the contempt shown for his device, he had an English ship seized at the Sound, laden with cloth of the value of 50,000l. sterling, and further imprisoned two English merchants who went to him from Hamburg for its release, Those concerned, stunned by such action, have applied to parliament, which has directed them to select two of the most expert of their number, whom it thinks of sending in their name, not to the king, but to the estates of Denmark. The choice is made, but greater severity is promised to them than to those already imprisoned, since a mission from parliament to king is not lawful, and their recourse to the estates is not welcome. (fn. 3)
M. di Cressi has returned from Court and at once sent a courier to France. He has proceeded to Dover to await the Ambassador Harcourt. He has not yet begun any negotiations, but only heard the king's pleasure to receive Harcourt, who will stay with his Majesty, to negotiate upon what is sent him by Cressi, who without any title, will treat with the parliament.
The troops have gone to garrison and the Prince of Orange returned to the Hague, at which the Ambassador Tullerie makes great commotion. He had orders by express from France to procure, a diversion for some weeks longer. Two things influenced his Highness, the bold demands of officers for their pay, and the winding up of the Assembly of the Provinces, to prevent the mischief with which he is threatened. The Assembly, after a pause, resumed its session to decide about the plenipotentiaries as the French are already on the way, and the Province of Guelders has given up its claims. I understand they will be instructed to act in concert with France.
London, the 23rd September, 1643.
22. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
It is many weeks since some English ships appeared in the Downs laden with two millions of currants from your Serenity's islands, for Flemish merchants. These petitioned parliament for leave to unlade them, but the Levant Company opposed this vigorously and obtained a decree confirming the old prohibition. Keeping on the watch, as I do, for a favorable opportunity for reopening this trade, I took occasion to write to the secretary, copy enclosed, to congratulate his Majesty on the capture of Bristol, and to suggest giving permission to the people there to go with their own ships to lade currants in those islands. I was not without hope that when this came to the ears of the Levant Company, who have the privilege, they might petition parliament for the permission, moved by interest when they are not accessible to argument. I enclose a copy of the secretary's reply, showing that his Majesty approves and has ordered him to carry it into effect, with the consent of the merchants of the place. It now seems as if my efforts will not prove unavailing, as the Company, aware of his Majesty's attention to this matter, is contemplating, so I am assured, a meeting of those interested to make such a petition, foreseeing the loss they would suffer if others took up the trade. Alive to the advantages of competition to our public and private interests, I will await the royal decisions, while I will not neglect to stir them up here, until such time as definite instructions reach me from your Excellencies. In a postscript the secretary asks me in his Majesty's name to recommend Mr. Talbot's secretary to the clemency of your Excellencies.
London, the 25th September, 1643.
Enclosure. 23. Gerolamo Agostini to the Secretary of State Nicolas, the 28th July, 1643.
Request to offer congratulations to the king on the taking of Bristol as such would be the desire of the Signory. As his Majesty has always favoured trade between the two states, the opportunity seems favourable with the acquisition of a wealthy mercantile town, with abundant ships and near the Strait, to renew the free commerce in currants, granting permission to the Bristol men to go to Zante and Cephalonia to fetch them. This would aggrandise the city, enrich the port with ships, prove very advantageous to the duties and provide the whole kingdom at a cheaper price.
24. The Secretary Nicolas to Gerolamo Agostini, the 12th September, 1643, old style.
Would have replied sooner, if the commissioners and merchants with whom he had communicated by his Majesty's order had sent their decision. This has not yet come, but will do what he can, as the matter will serve the republic as well as his Majesty.
Postscript : The king has driven the rebel Earl of Essex into Gloucester, and now has over 6,000 horse and 9,000 foot with which he has no doubt he will soon destroy the rebel army.
Asks for a word in favour of the Secretary of Signor Talbot, who has fallen into the hands of the law through the arts of a bad woman. He is young and it is very excusable, as the affair is reported. The king's honour is concerned in his sufferings.
[Italian from the French.]
Sept. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Zante. Venetian Archives.
25. Antonio Molino, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ship Golden Falcon cast anchor in this port these last days, come from Leghorn to lade currants of the Morea. From this city she wished to take cooperage and bombasine (botterie et botane (fn. 4) ) ; but in view of the perfidy with which the parliament of England is seeking to destroy the main support of these islands, I did not think fit to permit it. None the less he has gone to the Morea to fetch the currants of Anatolia. But as that will not suffice for the cargo of a vessel capable of taking a million or thereabouts, it is necessary to suppose that he may open negotiations to take away a certain quantity from these islands for the completion of his cargo, even if he does not take away oil, wool and other goods. I have taken the requisite measures to prevent this. Nevertheless I understand that two Cephalonian frigates were on the lee of the ship laden with currants which were being received by those of the ship. I will warn the Proveditore of Cephalonia. I think, however, that exportation is unlikely, as currants this year are very scarce and many have been turned into wine.
I wanted to intervene to prevent this traffic but considering the obstinacy of the English, who will not have the currants in London, the short life of the fruit, which cannot be preserved from one year to another and the poverty of the islanders here, who are so reduced that they have not so much as a farthing, I did not think it advisable to bear more hardly upon them.
With regard to the trade of the Morea, the merchant Hyder is the cause of all the mischief. As I have written so many times some determined step is required to remove him from there or otherwise cause him to disappear (che si vuole qualche risoluta risolutione per levarlo di la o altrimente far suanire) ; there is absolutely no other expedient which can serve to redeem the interests of the state. As I have said, it is not only currants of the Morea, but oil, wool, wheat, etc., which should all, for the most part, derive from here and subsequently go to Venice, with no slight advantage to the state. To all this must be added the prejudice which the public customs duties are constantly receiving from the unloading and the disposal of Londons and other cloths which the English bring, whereas previously this business was for the most part transacted by the merchants here.
Zante, the 19th September, 1643, old style.


  • 1. William Curtius.
  • 2. On the 4-14 September.
  • 3. Five ships were seized in all, according to the petition of the Eastland merchants on the 10th October. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. VI., page 251. The Journals record the selection of Richard Jenks to go to Denmark, Sweden and the Baltic States, but not until the 21 Nov. O.S. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. III., page 317. On the other hand, on the 10-20 Nov. Avery reports the arrival at Hamburg of the two deputies sent by parliament about the ships of the Merchant Adventurers seized. S.P. For. Denmark, Vol. XVI.
  • 4. Bottana a kind of cotton cloth, bombasine. Hoare : Italian Dictionary.