Venice: June 1646

Pages 261-266

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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June 1646

June 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
387. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
With affairs in England apparently more balanced and a slight reaction in favour of the king, their Majesties here have thought the moment opportune for a special embassy to negotiate a peace. The Resident Bellievre is marked for this function, but if he will not accept, they think of employing di Meson. In this way they hope not only to win the gratitude of that kingdom and procure friendship and advantages from peace there, but also to convince the English that this crown has preserved a perfect neutrality up to the present in the mediation it has undertaken, between the two parties and will continue to do so.
I enclose the usual sheet of the most important news of that country.
Paris, the 5th June, 1646.
Enclosure. 388. Advices from London, the 24th May, 1646.
The Scots have taken the king to Newcastle, appointing that place for his residence, with all the provision and commodities which his service requires, which means a splendid imprisonment at the discretion and mercy of that people, which is less hostile to his name. All the English have been sent away from him and the most faithful companion of his flight has thought it advisable to go elsewhere to hide himself better and escape the incessant demands of the London parliament to get him into their clutches. The Scots treat the king with every respect and are determined to have peace according to the agreement made between the two kingdoms, which means on much more moderate conditions than what good fortune has induced the English to claim. The commissioners of Scotland have sent another letter to the Houses in London in which, while clearly expressing their intentions, they protest that the king's arrival in their camp was not due to any previous arrangement, but was unexpected and secret. They say they sent the news to their parliament so that it may devise the best means for peace, to be communicated between the two kingdoms and decided upon in agreement.
Meanwhile in London the Lower House fumes, and unable to rest has sent a long paper to the Scots with many arguments why the disposal of the king's person belongs to them. The Upper House expresses more moderate opinions, and in this interval of respite for the king some speak more loudly against the populace. Of 26 lords present 15 declared that they could not suffer the imprisonment of their king.
Newark has surrendered. (fn. 1) They wanted it to be to the Scots, but these, to avoid making the English more suspicious in present circumstances, decided that it should surrender to the English commissioners. The armies of the two nations have since separated, the English remaining near Newark, and the Scots marching to Newcastle to keep near the king. Parliament in London, putting a bad interpretation on this, has decided to send General Massy thither with 4,000 horse, to keep the others in check. General Fairfax, who has attacked Oxford and demanded its surrender, is also urged to rid himself of that business as soon as possible in order to move with the mass of his forces towards Scotland, to prevent any designs they may be contriving against England.
June 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian. Archives.
389. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A certain Digbi has come from Ireland to implore the name and support of this crown for the treaty of peace which is in negotiation for the king of England so that they may contrive by offices and by assistance to impart vigour to the royal party in that kingdom. An agent who is in Paris on behalf of the Catholics of that country. (fn. 2) is watching his proceedings closely, so that no prejudice to the religion may result therefrom.
The Resident Bellievre has accepted the embassy to England and is busy with his preparations, so that he may start as soon as possible. Suspicion of the English is increasing here and that they are covertly causing some troops to pass over to the service of Spain, just as in London they have a suspicion that France is supplying assistance to the king. The state of affairs there is in the enclosed sheet.
Paris, the 12th June, 1646.
Enclosure. 390. Advices from London, of the 31st May, 1646.
On the 23rd the king entered Newcastle, accompanied by two troops of horse and a guard of musketeers, though attended with all magnificence and decorum. A report circulated that he had gone to a castle a few leagues away and was going to Edinburgh, causing great jealousy to the English, but this is not confirmed. Parliament in London was on the point of deciding that the whole army should go in that direction to check the Scots but afterwards they thought it best not to proceed to extremes yet. They have resolved, however, it being no longer necessary to keep so many armies, to dismiss the Scots in English pay, and to get them out of the places they occupy they offer 50,000l. sterling as soon as the Scots have evacuated the garrisons of Newcastle and Carlisle and a like amount when they have entirely left the kingdom. It is not believed that the Scots will be satisfied with these proposals, as they reckon that 1,400,000l. sterling is due to them for past pay ; but the Houses argue that as they have ruined the country and levied countless contributions, they are rather debtors, when it comes to settling up.
The Council of London, disgusted with parliament and supporting the Scots, is drawing up a long memorial, which will be printed, against the present government of the two Houses, and in particular the squandering of money. Meanwhile care is taken to prevent a riot in London, and they have held a review of 16,000 men well disciplined and equipped.
Oxford, finding a long resistance impossible, has thought to obtain better terms by an early surrender. After many journeys a conference was been arranged at a neighbouring place, between commissioners from both sides, and the result is awaited.
June 19.
Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
391. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 19th June, 1646.
Enclosure. 392. Advices from London, of the 7th June, 1646.
The king is at Newcastle guarded as usual. He has written to the two Houses in London that it was his firm intention to go to that city to treat with parliament for a suitable peace, but after so many repulses and the forbidding of any one to receive him, as a treason, he had been obliged to go elsewhere. Yet his desire for peace is unchanged and he would be glad if they would suggest the means as soon as possible. He offers that the two kingdoms shall decide about the form of religion. For the militia to be directed by the two parliaments for 7 years according to the conference of Oxbrig, and then some form subject to his consent. For Ireland he declares he will accept the measures proposed to him. If these proposals do not suit them, let them put forward others in agreement with the Scots, because he will accept anything that may conduce to the peace and quiet of the kingdom. He agrees that his troops shall be disbanded, and that honourable terms being granted to Oxford, the fortifications shall be demolished and the garrisons removed from all other places held by the royalists.
The Upper House approves of such overtures, but the Lower fumes, because the king will only treat with both kingdoms jointly, and because the royal name will have to continue, because the Scots, the nobility of England and the Council of London all wish it.
This last has presented a long paper, sharply worded, demanding the maintenance of a single form of religion and the prohibition of all other assemblies and sects which confound the realm. That a project for peace be sent to the king as soon as possible, in concert with the Scots. That account be given of how the money has been spent and that the city be relieved from taxation (taglie). (fn. 3) This remonstrance was favourably received by the Upper House, but the Lower, made the person who was to present it, wait at the doors 5 or 6 hours for audience.
The negotiations for the surrender of Oxford are broken off, so the commissioners on both sides have returned and General Fairfax has received orders to press the place hard.
Parliament invites the Prince of Wales to go to some place near London but he is not inclined to do so until he sees what turn the peace negotiations with his father will take.
News comes that Montrose while besieging some place has been defeated and put to flight by parliamentary Scots who went to its relief.
June 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
393. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Montreuil, late French resident in Scotland, since the king reached that army, has returned to Paris. With him has come the gentleman who accompanied and guided the king's flight, (fn. 4) to escape the persecution of the English.
The queen has sent Lord Germen to bring the Prince of Wales to Paris, being determined to have this pledge near her, because with the tendency to peace, desired by parliament and with the king obliged to accept any terms proposed, she is naturally afraid of being shut out. She hopes, however, that by keeping the son and heir in her hands, she will either be able to obtain better terms for herself, or that she may one day be able to improve the treaty.
The sheet of London enclosed.
Paris, the 26th June, 1646.
Enclosure. 394. Advices from London, the 14th June, 1646.
Parliament has given a general and inconclusive reply to the remonstrance of the Council of London. It commends the zeal and devotion of the city for the public welfare, promises a corresponding partiality towards the interests of the city and that it will take an early opportunity or discussing the articles of their paper and deciding what is considered advisable.
The king has sent express commands to Sir [Thomas] Glenham, who commands at Oxford, to surrender the place to the parliamentary forces. But he, seeing that the king, as a prisoner, cannot have free will in this, refuses to obey unless General Fairfax will grant honourable terms. Accordingly the siege is pressed. Yet they continue to discuss proposals for the surrender. There are three difficulties. First, whether some in Oxford whom parliament has excluded from pardon for ever, shall be included in the terms. The second, that the two Palatine princes be allowed to remain two months in the country after the surrender. Third, that the governor and garrison may come out with their arms and all the honours of war and be escorted 15 miles from the place.
The king has ordered Montrose and the others who follow the royal party in Scotland, to lay down their arms, and is waiting for the conditions agreed upon by the two kingdoms, to sign all that they present to him and submit to their dictation. He is still at Newcastle, guarded with the same care, to such an extent, that under the guise of service and honour a distinguished Scot sleeps every night in his very chamber.
June 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
395. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Every day exceedingly rich ships arrive at Smyrna, laden with golden merchandise (Robbe d'oro) and with cloth of Venice, sent by way of Leghorn. I hear that the greater part is for Jews and Englishmen ; but I know that our nation receives them precisely under the names of the Jews and English. They pay the dues to the ambassador of England and refuse them to your Serenity. In my present condition I can do nothing, and if force is not used they will continue as they are doing.
The Vigne di Pera, the 27th June, 1646.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
June 30.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
396. To the Ambassador in Spain.
Account of Turkish naval preparations. They are contemplating the employment of the English and Flemish ships now at Constantinople.
Ayes, 149. Noes, 1. Neutral, 10.


  • 1. On the 6-16 May.
  • 2. Probably Geoffrey Baron. sent to France in the autumn of 1645 to look after the interests of the confederates. Aiazzi : Nunziatura in Irlanda, page 58.
  • 3. The city petition of the 25th May, O.S. ; the text is printed in Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. VIII., pages 332, 333.
  • 4. John Ashburnham.