Venice: July 1645

Pages 194-201

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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July 1645

July 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
238. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In obedience to the instructions of the 27th May I gave the queen of England the most ample assurances of your Serenity's perfect disposition towards the king, her husband, telling her of the communications made by Talbot and the replies. I impressed on her how wrong it was of Talbot to complain of his reception, which was quite in accordance with his credentials, and he had never demanded more. I asked her to dissipate any prejudice that might be occasioned by any contrary statement, when she communicated with the king. Finally I congratulated her on the successes of the royalists since the taking of Leicester.
The queen received my communication graciously and after thanking your Excellencies for your good wishes said she fully realised that the serious attack threatened by the Turk was a sufficient reason to deprive his Majesty of any more positive help from the ancient friendship of your Excellencies ; but for the rest she was quite convinced of the republic's friendliness and neither Talbot nor any one else would ever be able to hurt it, She would tell her husband everything and he would certainly resent Talbot's behaviour, about which she expressed great surprise. She called it folly and said he knew he was in the wrong, as he had arrived in Paris and never breathed a hint of it to her. She was glad to know of it and would send for him and reprove him. I said I was glad he was here, as her Majesty now knew the whole truth and would impose silence on him, The queen assured me she would, repeating that he was quite in the wrong and the king should know of it.
The ducal missives of the 3rd ult. direct me to send advices of London every week. They infer that I have already received this command, but if I had, it should have been obeyed at once. I enclose the advices for this week. I understand that Capello has sent a request to Venice to be confirmed in the post of interpreter, with the usual salary, and payment for his letters, offering to send direct to your Excellencies and to the Courts. I do not know what answer has been given him.
Paris, the 4th July, 1645.
Enclosure. 239. Advices from London of the 21st June, 1645.
Colonel Goring, who is besieging Dampton, (fn. 1) has attacked the parliamentarians, who had introduced succour. There was loss on both sides and each claimed the advantage. The besieged, owing to the additions received, are very short of powder and other things and the succour has proved a burden rather than a relief to them.
Since the capture of Leicester and other towns in the neighbourhood, the king has greatly raised the spirits of his party, increased his contributions and extended his quarters, and is marching in haste to Oxford, whence the parliamentarians have completely decamped.
They have sent urgent messages to Scotland for powerful assistance from that nation to relieve the present weakness of the associated forces.
Meanwhile the city of London, more weary than ever of the burden of the war and impatient of the uncertain issue, has been pressing the Houses to give positive orders to General Fairfax to fight a battle in which fate shall declare absolutely on one side or the other. For this purpose they are raising troops to send with reinforcements to the army, and have announced fasts and prayers, from which they look for a successful issue, which is most ardently desired.
Amid these preparations more violence than ever is shown in raising money and men, and discord and confusion are making headway among the people. The leading men are objects of envy and suspicion to the common people, and rivalry and party spirit are to be found in parliament itself.
The new Earl of Sussex, back from Oxford, has been arrested and his papers seized, to bring his offences to light. The Earls of Essex, Manchester and Warwick, who commanded the forces of parliament, are accused of intelligence with Digby, the king's secretary of state. The Spanish ambassador is also stated to have had intelligence with them ; but Olis, accused by one of the Lower House, has had his accuser sent to prison, on the charge of calumny and imposture.
In Ireland the Catholics won advantages over the parliament by the capture of some places. A conference has been held at Dublin between the Catholics and Protestants to make some compact, but it broke down as the latter would not grant freedom of religion everywhere to the former.
In response to the energetic supplication of the Spanish ambassador parliament has granted to Madame de Chevreuse the passport requested, but they insisted on her crossing in one of their own ships, this has not been settled on yet. In the meantime she has sent jewels to the Spanish ambassador as a security for the money which she is raising through him for her support.
July 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
240. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen of England has gone to St. Germain for her health. The regent has sent her the news of the defeat of the king, related in the enclosed sheet, toned down as much as possible. But here the event has made a great impression and they fear the consequences if parliament remains the sole master of the kingdom. A member of the council did not conceal from me that they foresee an imminent union of all the Protestants, and that when the peace is made the allies of France will be the first to set about fomenting the Huguenots, and so France will be surrounded and attacked by all without any of the Catholic states coming to her rescue, the Austrians being more apt to execute their own vendettas and to lend a hand to keep that crown down.
Paris, the 14th July, 1645.
Enclosure. 241. Advices from London, the 29th June, 1645.
The king's successes were ephemeral, fortune having very quickly changed the scene and reduced his affairs to extremities. The battle desired by parliament was fought on the 22nd June a short distance from Northampton, where the king's army was worsted, losing its camp, guns and baggage. The parliamentary army suffered scarcely any loss. It is thought that the king, who had the larger numbers, had fraud and treason among his own followers to contend with more than the hostile forces. The cavalry in particular, abandoned the field at once, leaving the rest at the mercy of the enemy. The killed are few, on his Majesty's side not a thousand, and on the parliament side little more than a hundred, but 4,000 royalists have been taken prisoner. The king showed great courage everywhere and twice rallied his fleeing troops, but was obliged at length to run with the rest, being slightly wounded in the arm with the point of a sword. Prince Rupert was also wounded and had to take refuge in flight. On the king's side no other person of quality or importance has been slain or taken. On the other a lieutenant general of Fairfax, a person of courage and worth has been slain.
The booty which has pleased the parliamentarians most, and which may do the king an immense amount of harm, is his coach, which was captured with a chest containing the most important papers, the letters of the queen and others, which will make it easy for parliament to discover the secret correspondence and intelligence which his Majesty may have inside and outside the kingdom.
In consequence of the victory, General Fairfax has recovered the important town of Leicester and the neighbouring places, which had shortly before fallen into his Majesty's hands and so greatly raised his fortunes. Parliament is pressing its advantage and the king will have great difficulty in restoring his army. Colonel Goring, who was besieging Taunton gives him hopes of considerable reinforcements, and various reports have reached London about the surrender or resistance of that town.
12,000 Scots have entered the kingdom from the other side, so the king is caught between them, with little hope of reestablishing himself or taking the field again.
July 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
242. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
From all parts they are hurrying in levies and 1,500 Irish have arrived on the shores of the kingdom. I enclose the advices from England.
Various ships which landed the Irish mentioned above, having cast anchor in Britanny the Cardinal has taken it upon him to intimate to Monsignor Ranuccini that he must leave at the beginning of next month for the exercise of his functions in Ireland. This intimation is a severe blow to the nuncio because he will either have to undertake the journey or return to Rome, all the doors being closed against him by which he might hope to be able to enter upon negotiations and confirm his position at the Court. Yet he will take away with him the golden rose which was secretly entrusted to him by the pope to be presented to the queen, with secret orders not to unpack it until he had first ascertained that it would be well received. He was flatly told that it would be refused.
Paris, the 18th July, 1645.
Enclosure. 243. Advices from London, the 6th July, 1645.
The report that the king was wounded in the battle proves false, but his reverse is confirmed. General Fairfax, after taking Leicester has invested Ashby and leaving a part of his men there is pursuing the king, so that he may not be able to collect his forces. His Majesty after going first to Hereford has proceeded post to Bristol, calling to him Colonel Goring and all the others who are devoted to his party. Colonel Gerard joined him at once with a few troops and Goring holds out hopes of powerful reinforcements. It is uncertain whether Tampton has surrendered to this officer, but beyond a doubt the detachment of those forces was fatal to the king, and if they had all been with him he might possibly have beaten the enemy. If Goring has not succeeded by this time he will have to break camp at once.
Parliament does not rely on its good fortune, but redoubles its efforts to send fresh reinforcements to the army, using violence and force to compel persons of every sort to take arms. From this remarkable energy it is concluded either that they think the other side strong enough to set itself up again, or they hope by a mighty effort to terminate the war in this campaign, reducing the king to such straits as will oblige him to withdraw and leave the realm.
They have brought to London in triumph 3,000 prisoners, 3 carts of wounded, 30 stand of cavalry colours and a like number of the foot, spoils of the late battle.
They have set to work eagerly to examine the papers and have found 36 copies of letters from the king to his wife, and some of her replies. They are discovering various intelligences which will very quickly fill the prisons in a matter so jealous that suspicion is as bad as the crime. The Resident of Portugal is one of the first to be hit, because among the king's letters mention is made of a letter of his with some proposals for a marriage and pecuniary assistance. The Resident denies it, but admits that his master asked the king of England to interpose with the king of Spain for the release of his brother, offering him 60,000 Jacobus if this was achieved by his means. But the suspicion against this minister is augmented by the discovery that he served as intermediary in the correspondence between the king and the queen. The parliamentarians are correspondingly pleased with France, as apart from the welcome to the queen they do not find a trace of any actual succour from that crown for the king.
July 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian. Archives.
244. Giovanni Ambrogio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports the hiring of six large ships of war, English and Flemish ; the terms of hiring are enclosed. Obliged to go somewhat beyond his commissions with the ship Sarah and Judith, an English one, which, truth to tell, is by universal estimation the queen of ships for war purposes of all those that sail the seas. It was built expressly for war and is of 3,000 salme burthen, with 65 sailors and 30 large pieces of artillery, to which 8 might be added, with a valorous captain. It was a very hard matter to induce him to accept conditions which were only 200 ducats a month beyond the highest price given by the Signory. Indeed it was only possible to induce him to agree to give up the voyage to Tunis, with lead and other contraband, most prejudicial to Christendom, to proceed subsequently with goods to Constantinople, where he might possibly be constrained by the Turks to transport at least munitions and troops, by promising him that he should receive a donation of 250 reals on his arrival at Corfu.
Leghorn, the 18th July, 1645.
July 21.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Rettori. Venetian Archives.
245. To the Proveditore General da Mar.
Order to cause a donation of 250 reals to be paid to the captain of the English ship Sarah and Judith as soon as it arrives at that place, in accordance with the arrangement made at Leghorn by the Resident Sarotti.
Ayes, 170. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
July 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives.
246. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Agent of the Queen of England made an effort recently to visit the Count of Sirvela, the Spanish ambassador. To save him inconvenience he asked the ambassador to appoint him some convenient hour. Sirvela sent him word that he should go to his ante chamber when he could easily find out when it would be convenient for his Excellency to see and hear him. This curt behaviour greatly offended the Agent, so when he met Sirvela in his coach the day before yesterday he did not stop, and it is considered certain that this Spanish ambassador will have to leave this Court very soon.
Rome, the 22nd July, 1645.
July 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
247. Giovanni Ambrogio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Efforts to hire other four ships have so far proved unsuccessful. The English ships Defence and St. George were determined to proceed empty to Zante to lade currants, though the Senate might send orders to stop them. The English ship Dragon has decided to lade for Tunis the contraband of the Sarah and Judith. There are momentarily expected from Constantinople the English ship Marie, and the English ship Rainbow of London, a very powerful vessel. Also the English ship Golden Fleece which has already reached Genoa from Lisbon, and the English ship Anna Buonaventura from Apulia with grain. Has no doubt but he can get the four in a few days.
Leghorn, the 22nd July, 1645.
July 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
248. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador maintains his usual reserve. I heard lately that by two ships which recently arrived at Smyrna an English merchant had received news very advantageous to your Excellencies. As the English ambassador made no sign, I sent Dr. Scocardi to make enquiries, but the ambassador pretended that he knew nothing. In such cases the ambassador is generally accustomed to broadcast news rather than to keep it close. Nevertheless it has been said to me that he is greatly afraid of its being known here that among the armed vessels of your Excellencies there are some English ones. This does indeed seem an excess of caution, yet it must be admitted, from what one sees and hears every day, that the times could not be more perilous.
The Vigne di Pera, the 25th July, 1645.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
July 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
249. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Some remains still exist of the association formed by the late duke of Nevers against the Turks. They have never given up their idea of serving religion in some important enterprise. The queen of England found out about this sentiment and some months ago she requested them to serve the Catholic religion by some assistance to those in Ireland. They were on the point of agreeing to this, but on further reflection and the consideration that it would all turn in the end to the profit of the king, which is as much as to say of the Protestants, they gave up the idea.
Paris, the 27th July, 1645.
250. Giovanni Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It has been decided to send a minister to reside in Scotland for this crown, lest in civil strife all recollection of the ancient and uninterrupted alliance between the two kingdoms should disappear. It is possible that higher motives may have led to the decision, such as covertly favouring the royal cause, or if that is desperate, to sow the seeds of discord between the English and Scottish parliaments, and by means of that friendship which inclination and time have rooted between France and Scotland to revive the ancient jealousy and counterpoise which was always set up against the power of the English. Encloses usual sheet of advices.
The Duchess of Chevreuse has at last crossed the Channel and is now at Brussels.
Paris, the 27th July, 1645.
Enclosure. 251. Advices from London, the 13th July, 1645.
The suspicions aroused in the parliamentarians since the capture of the king's papers have begun to show their effects and the foreign ministers are the first to be affected. The Resident of Portugal, suspected of marriage negotiations and convicted of acting as mediary for the correspondence between the king and the queen is on the point of being expelled from the country, parliament not having yet decided about it, after long discussion. But the ministers of the emperor and Lorraine have suffered worse insults. The first, who promised the king liberal assistance if he would use his warships to stop French progress in Flanders, had his doors broken open by troops sent by the Chambers, the place sacked and two English priests arrested. (fn. 2) The minister of Lorraine has also had his house violated and received orders to leave the kingdom within ten days, because a copy of a letter from the king to the queen has disclosed that his Majesty urged his wife to press Duke Charles to send him the succour in cavalry that he had promised.
The minister of France, on the other hand, is more respected than before because the same papers have disclosed that the king warned his wife not to trust him on any account. As a mark of confidence and to gratify him the Chambers have shown him the originals, and to show him the esteem resulting from the king's dislike, when parliament had all the letters opened which were brought by the last ordinary from France, his alone were left with the seals intact. The others were delivered, though open, except those of the Resident of Portugal, which have been detained.
Three points prejudicial to the interests of the king have been found of which they are making the most among the people. First, his inclination towards the Catholics, which has grown more lively, promising the queen to restore them to a more tranquil condition with more consideration. The second is an assurance to the queen that he will conclude no treaty without her consent or without consulting her. The third, also to the queen, that if ever he recovers his original power he will take the most complete revenge on his enemies.
Small but frequent, skirmishes are taking place between the troops on both sides. The king's forces nearly always get the worse, from the fortune and strength of the others.
Prince Maurice is hurriedly collecting new troops about Worcester to oppose to the invasion of the Scots. Their army, by order of the two chambers is advancing further into the kingdom, to surround the king's forces, which are now between Monmouth and Hereford in good quarters.


  • 1. Taunton.
  • 2. On the 13th July. Lisola himself was absent on leave and in Brussels at the time. Salvetti on 14th July. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 279624. Pribram : Franz Paul Freiherr Von Lisola p. 52. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. VII., p. 518.