Venice: July 1646

Pages 266-272

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 1646

July 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
397. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
With the Ambassador Bellievre on the point of starting for London, they are sending the Resident Montreuil back to Scotland to resume his negotiations there, showing clearly that France had a hand in the king's taking refuge in those parts.
Apartments are being prepared in the Louvre for the Prince of Wales. He is expected this week and some say that Montreuil is to induce the Scots to accept the prince himself as the leader of their party.
The news of England is enclosed.
Count Lesle, a member of one of the principal houses of Scotland, now in exile owing to the present dissensions, (fn. 1) has come here to offer to raise as many Irish and Germans as your Excellencies may think fit. He produces proof of long service not only in his own country but in Holland and later in Muscovy, where he commanded the foreigners, as general. Not content with my thanks, he asked me to inform your Serenity.
Paris, the 3rd July, 1646.
Enclosure. 398. Advices from London, the 21st June, 1646.
Parliament has intercepted letters from the king written to Ireland in which he explains his reasons for going to the Scots, laying the blame on the two Houses for having refused him a pass, access, asylum or any terms of peace, whereas he has arranged with the Scots to withdraw with them to establish a settlement on honourable conditions, and if the parliament of England will not agree, to operate jointly by arms to compel them. This has been immediately printed in London, and being contrary to the assertions of the Scots, has not failed to sow jealousy between the two countries. The Scottish commissioners deny it absolutely, not without suspicion that it is an invention of the English.
The party of the Independents has presented a petition to the two Houses about the form of religion that it wishes established in the country but they do not attach much importance to it. On the other hand, to satisfy the Council of London, Presbyterianism has been confirmed, though not in the manner claimed by the Scots, but dependent upon and subordinate to parliament. The affairs of religion are so confused here that while it serves as a pretext for war they are as yet by no means agreed upon the form they will adopt with peace. So the door remains open to countless sects and men live without knowing either what to believe at the moment or what should be their tenets for the future, faith depending upon the arbitrament of men and upon what best suits the interests of the two kingdoms, a question not yet decided.
The second companion of the king's flight, who is one of the leading ministers of the kingdom, has been captured at a port as he was trying to escape across the sea, and brought to London. (fn. 2) He will be subjected to a very severe and searching examination.
A new conference has been opened about the surrender of Oxford, which is not yet agreed. The king has sent orders to Montrose in Scotland and to the others of his party to lay down their arms and to abandon all further efforts. The result is not yet known.
The most elaborate preparations are being made in London for the Ambassador Bellievre, parliament being well pleased that France should render it this honour of such a conspicuous embassy. For the rest his mediation is expected to be more show than reality, because if peace is to be made, the two kingdoms will make it for themselves and the Scots will be mediators and parties to the treaty.
July 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
399. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier has come from the Resident Sabran in England with news that peace is progressing favourably, the king submitting to everything. They are sending off Bellievre at once so that he may at least be present at the conclusion. Although France appears to desire this end, yet it cannot altogether please her, since disturbance and balanced parties suit her interests better. They want at least to earn gratitude for their mediation and by this obligation to render the English less disposed to take any steps against them. There is some apprehension that if Holland quiets down and England becomes united, the Spaniards will try to make capital by suggesting to both objections to the excessive progress of the French arms in Flanders. They have sent orders to Sabran to return to Court at once and to confer with Bellievre at Calais in passing. The ministry is dissatisfied with him because it tried to raise some levies through him which have not been realised, and because he has always shown a propensity for the parliamentary party. The enclosed sheet shows the state of affairs there.
The queen of England has been to Paris to see the regent, deploring her state with tears, because Lord Germen has returned without bringing the prince. He would not leave his island, feeling himself safe there in the present lull of fighting. Those with him represented that if he abandoned that corner of his kingdom he might find it difficult to return. In France he would be a foreigner, begging his bread, subject to the will of others. Moreover the state of affairs and the signs of peace have induced him to wait for the issue. So the queen has failed in the stroke by which she hoped to improve her condition in the treaty, while France also wished to have this hostage in her hands, enabling her to use the name of the successor to the throne in opposition to any measures taken by parliament.
Paris, the 10th July, 1646.
Enclosure. 400. Advices from London of the 28th June, 1646.
The Scots have published an answer to the alleged intercepted letter of the king, in which they state that the question of the authenticity of the letter itself is a matter for his Majesty, but all the agreements mentioned in it to the prejudice of the English are false, and they prove this by many arguments.
The king has written again to the two Houses from Newcastle, urging them to send him the peace proposals which they have prepared, as soon as possible, to put an end to the turmoil. He promises to accept all that the two parliaments judge opportune, in the hope that the proposals will be such as to save his honour, dignity and rights. He says specifically that he will agree to all that the two kingdoms desire in religion, the control of the army etc. and offers, when the terms are settled, to bring the Prince of Wales back to the country. The Scots have sent commissioners to learn his Majesty's opinions on four points : first, the approval of the treaty they call the Covenant, in operation between the two countries ; second, to submit to the direction set up in Scotland for religion ; third, to join with the parliament and follow their advice in all things affecting arms, money and the most essential matters of control ; fourth, to bring back the Prince of Wales to the country. Something has been put in writing on both sides and since the king must submit to everything it looks as if peace is not far off.
Oxford has agreed to surrender, but we have not yet heard the terms. A part of the English army is going towards Worcester which, with the other places having royalist garrisons, is only waiting to be confronted by force to surrender with more honour and upon more honourable terms. Many troops from these garrisons are being disbanded and the ministers of France and Spain are competing with each other to get them for their masters.
In Ireland the parliamentarians have suffered a great defeat from the Catholics, 5 to 6,000 being slain. (fn. 3) But if peace comes in England the united forces of the two kingdoms will go to subdue the scanty remnants of religion in Ireland.
July 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives
401. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has had a serious and scandalous difference with his merchants. He claimed the right to exact from them 200,000 reals, ostensibly for expenses incurred in the embassy, but the greater part of it because he has been adjudged by parliament to be of the royalist party and all his property confiscated in consequence. (fn. 4) He had raised more than 100,000 reals of this ; for the rest, as the merchants proved recalcitrant, he proceeded to put a seal on all their goods and to the arrest of their persons, and he even sent a Chiaussi to Smyrna to bring here all those of his nation, who have increased enormously because of the great trade (a far condur qui tutti quelli della nation, che per il grande traffico e fatta grossissima). He has kept many of them prisoners in his own house. But possibly being treated with too great severity, they have bestirred themselves and determined to have nothing more to do with him and have put themselves under the protection of the Resident of Holland, who has besides swallowed some thousands of reals and cares for nothing in the world except to accept gladly such advantageous proposals, without a thought of what is honourable or becoming. For an outlay of 20,000 reals they obtained an order from the army for the release of the prisoners and for the unsealing of the goods, with the declaration moreover of an intention to have the ambassador put on a ship and sent to England. In the midst of this great uproar the ambassador has been abandoned also by his secretary and by the dragoman grande, who after advising him to take all the measures aforesaid, have taken up the protection and defence of the merchants, who have summoned the ambassador to appear to answer before the Vizier and the Cadaleschieri. This has all caused a most serious disturbance and affords an example of the worst kind. The merchants are also favoured by the whole body of the Jews because they have borrowed more than 150,000 reals from them at interest. Although the ambassador has most advantageous capitulations he has lost courage and thrown himself into the arms of the French ambassador, through whose efforts he has escaped from appearing for judgment. The French ambassador sent to inform me of this affair and to ask my opinion. Although I have no reason for satisfaction with England I advised France to support him and not allow such an example to run the lengths it might easily go to. He has asked audience of the Vizier several times, but without success, because the merchants spend lavishly and it is not easy to see what the end of this affair will be.
The Vigne di Pera, the 12th July, 1646.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
July 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
402. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The persistence of the queen of England has at last brought the Prince of Wales to France. He is with her at St. Germain, having left the islands of Gerze and Granze well supplied. Almost all those who were with him have decided to remain, fearing the wrath and severity of parliament, which has enacted that under pain of rebellion the heir to the crown shall not be withdrawn from the kingdom without the consent of the Houses. 8,000 crowns a month have been assigned for the prince's maintenance. He will have trouble in getting them, as the queen herself has experienced with her own assignment. In visiting the king he claimed the right hand, based on what happened with his father at the Court of Spain, to whom by exceptional favour this was readily granted. But here they told him that France did not need to take example from others, and the privilege can only be given by kings mutually to each other. It has been arranged, however, that the queen of England shall go to visit the regent taking the prince with her, and the king will be there as if by chance, when the prince will have a seat on an equality with the king, who will keep on the right, and who will then return the visit at St. Germain also accompanied by his mother. The prince wishes to preserve his incognito here. As it is uncertain whether the compliments of ministers will be received I shall follow the example of the others.
I enclose the advices from London.
Paris, the 17th July, 1646.
Enclosure. 403. Advices from London, the 5th July, 1646.
In the conference about the surrender of Oxford the following terms were agreed upon : the duke of York to be taken to London, to stay there until his Majesty disposes otherwise. The Princes Rupert and Maurice to have a pass to cross the sea within six months, during which they must not live in any place where there is a garrison or come within 20 miles of London. The city, its magistrate and the chancery shall remain as before, with all immunities and privileges. By this treaty parliament gets in to its hands two of his Majesty's children, the third son having been kept in London since the beginning of the troubles, as well as all the remaining strength of the royal party in England.
Hudson, the minister who accompanied the king in his flight, has been examined by the special commissioners appointed, but we do not yet know whether he has disclosed anything of importance.
A gentleman sent by the king to order Montrose to disarm reports that he is ready to dismiss his troops provided they are granted honourable terms. Those who do not want peace, because of the profit they derive from turmoil, are busy sowing dissension between the two countries, and it looks as if feeling is becoming embittered, the press affording every day matter for offence and suspicion between the two countries. The parliament of London has intimated to the Scots that it will appoint commissioners for the settlement of accounts so that the Scots may cease their incessant cry about what is due to them.
The victory of the Catholics in Ireland is confirmed with an even heavier slaughter of the Protestants. Parliament has arranged for fresh troops to go to that country, but it is thought that the Catholics will make the most of their advantage and of time. Accordingly a fast has been announced in London that the remnants of the parliament faction in Ireland may not be utterly overwhelmed.
July 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
404. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince Rupert, being compelled to leave England, has landed at Calais. His brother Maurice, has gone to Holland.
The news of London is attached as usual.
Paris, the 24th July, 1646.
Enclosure. 405. Advices from London, of the 12th July, 1646.
The garrison of Oxford came out on the 4th, yielding the place to General Fairfax. The soldiers would not go away before they had received their full pay. As there was no ready money, the parliamentarians, to prevent a disturbance, were obliged to agree to the sale to the inhabitants of all the food in the magazines, which were supplied for six months. Satisfied with this the troops came out without further difficulty. 38 guns were found, besides many other arms and abundant munitions. The Princes Palatine went to a small place not far from London, outside the 20 mile limit assigned to them, but received orders, by an express courier, to leave the country without delay, and they must obey this. (fn. 5) When a party of the parliamentarians reached Worcester, the governor, in conformity with orders sent by the king to all commanders of fortresses, deputed commissioners to arrange the surrender. All the towns and strong castles are doing the same. Pendennis and a few others hold out, but they cannot do so for long.
The Scottish commissioners have renewed their demands to the two Houses for the publication of the terms of peace, which have been under consideration so long, and for the satisfaction claimed for their army. In Ireland parliament is trying to restore its forces. Meanwhile the general of the Catholics has taken a few places and pillaged the country.
In London Father Morgan, a Benedictine, has been publicly executed for practising the Catholic faith, which he refused to renounce. He died with every mark of piety and constancy. (fn. 6)
July 31.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
406. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Prince Maurice has arrived at St. Germain, where he has joined the Prince of Wales, the arrangements for his appearance at Court not having been completely settled as yet.
[Advices enclosed.]
Paris, the 31st July, 1646.
Enclosure. 407. Advices from London, the 19th July, 1646.
The terms of peace have been set out by parliament and the Scots to whom they were communicated have approved. It was believed that they would be sent to the king without further delay by a deputation of leading men, but this has been suspended at the last moment, as the journey of the Prince of Wales to France seems to have made a great change in affairs and to have aroused suspicion. Meanwhile the general Assembly of the Scots has sent various ministers to his Majesty to urge him to embrace the covenant, agreed between the two kingdoms, especially in the matter of religion.
The king has assured the Houses in a special letter that he has ordered the Marquis of Ormond to abstain from any further understanding or communication with the Catholics in Ireland. He sent a copy of the order itself, which was read publicly in parliament and gave satisfaction to many. Not entirely content the Houses have asked his Majesty to direct the Marquis to hand over to parliament all the places he holds in the king's name.
The governor of Worcester has begun to parley with Colonel Valler. The island of Anglesea has followed the same course, and Colonel Mutton, who went against it, is governor. The Duke of York is still at Oxford, where General Fairfax is preparing to take him to London in state. The French ambassador Bellievre has arrived at Dover. He has not yet informed the Houses of his coming, although at London they are preparing his apartments and a stately reception. The Resident Sabran has gone to meet him and to confer with him. He will then go on to Paris.


  • 1. Possibly John Leslie 12th baron of Balquhain, who became the heir of Walter Leslie, count of the Holy Roman Empire.
  • 2. Michael Hudson, taken at Newcastle on the 15-25 May. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IV., page 554.
  • 3. The parliamentary forces under Maj. Gen. Robert Monro were defeated by the Ulster rebels under Owen O'Neill at Benburb, co. Tyrone, on the 5-15 June. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. VIII., pages 378-9, 394-5.
  • 4. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1645-7, page 469.
  • 5. Rupert and Maurice went to Oatlands from Oxford, but parliament refused them leave to stay there. Journals of the House of the Commons, Vol. IV., page 588.
  • 6. Edward Morgan, alias Powel, hanged at Tyburn on the 30th June. Rushworth : Hist. Collections Pt., IV., Vol L, page 305. In the Douay Diaries (Cath. Rec. Soc. II, 476) the date is given as the 26th April, which would seem from this to be incorrect.