Venice: August 1646

Pages 272-277

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 1646

Aug. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
408. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It becomes ever more manifest that the Dutch are not whole hearted in the campaign and they will become even more reserved when they find that Dunkirk is the objective. The English also are watching results closely and there is some apprehension that the Spaniards may avail themselves of this enterprise to induce the English to make some positive declaration and further that they may take the opportunity to avenge themselves for the hearty welcome which France has given to the Prince of Wales, much to their distaste.
Advices of England enclosed.
Moret, the 7th August, 1646.
Enclosure. 409. Advices from London, the 26th July, 1646.
The peace proposals have been sent to the king by 6 members, two of the Upper and four of the Lower House, with instructions to present them and not to wait more than ten days for his definite answer, after which they are to return with the peace arranged or broken off for good. They think they have the king so much at their mercy that they will not give him time to communicate with any one or to take counsel from France or from his wife. She is not even mentioned in the conditions, some members of the Commons having remarked with threats that this will make the Prince of Wales repent of having gone to her. It is thought that the king will have to sign all that is put before him, without gaining any advantage, either by argument or by force. Parliament is also pressing his Majesty to send strong orders to the Marquis of Ormond to hand over Dublin and all the other places in Ireland to their nominee. But while they believe that the king will be forced to consent, it is not thought that the marquis or the people will obey such a violent order.
The Houses have directed that the duke of York shall come to London, but that all his household shall be dismissed immediately on his arrival, and that commissioners shall provide for his maintenance and education. They have taken another important step in breaking the old seal of the realm and authorising only the one which parliament has been using for some time ; all acts under the original seal, since the separation of the king from parliament, being annulled. They have also directed the demolition of many fortresses, which were erected during the war and are now superfluous and might serve as a nest, for fresh quarrels.
The French ambassador Bellievre has arrived in London, being received with every honour. But as the peace conditions have already been forwarded he comes too late for affairs and will serve rather for the interests of France and for mere appearances.
Aug. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
410. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The affair of the English ambassador has gone headlong to the most extravagant lengths. The merchants are so fiercely eager against him that by the power of gold they have obtained a catserif of the king whereby he declares that the ambassador is not to have authority over them, the Grand Turk taking them under his protection, with the maintenance of the business, and they have solemnly chosen a leader for themselves, (fn. 1) who has been to audience of the Vizier, the Mufti and other ministers. By these he was invested and received as ambassador until another comes. They also wanted the present ambassador to be dismissed and sent away immediately, offering a million as a security that another will come immediately without prejudice to friendly relations.
The French ambassador has worked hard to put the matter straight, though many say without the necessary warmth. Yet he says that the first Vizier promised to order the merchants to return to their obedience to the ambassador. But the catserif obtained by the merchants through Fashi Pasha, the king's son in law, has upset everything. Up to the present they have certainly spent more than 80,000 reals. They have also obtained licence for the ships to go and two of them have already sailed.
The merchants asked me for an audience, and though the ambassador has behaved better and we have exchanged compliments, I received them. I took pains to be agreeable to them, in the interests of the state, since all of them are dependents of the parliament, and it may happen that your Excellencies might have need of applying to England for levies and for ships, so I would not show myself altogether opposed to them. They spoke most respectfully and said, that if it had not been for the war they would willingly have referred the matter to my direction. The paper they gave me is very lengthy and has all about the pretensions of the ambassador and his violent methods. There is one particular that the ambassador said to the chiasso who went to release those kept prisoners in his house, that he was to tell the Vizier that all those men were rebels against the Grand Turk because they had recently caused a ship to sail from Venice to Candia full of arms and munitions, and from Candia for Smyrna, to lade it with wheat and other provisions to take back to Candia. This circumstance is most emphatically denied by the ambassador, but I think it not unlikely that he said it, to discredit the merchants, who have expressed themselves as very pleased with my behaviour to them. Accordingly I shall abide by a useful neutrality in this most difficult affair.
The Vigne of Pera, the 10th August, 1646.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Aug. 14.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
411. Agreement made with Captain George Scort for the hire of his ship James the Scot, with 70 sailors and 45 guns. He promises obedience to any commander put over him and to serve with the ship in all eventualities. He is to be given the flag of St. Mark.
Approved in the Senate on the 14th August, 1646.
Ayes, 136. Noes, 0. Neutral, 11.
Aug. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
412. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Some English troops have arrived at Calais. The advices of England are enclosed.
Moret, the 14th August, 1646.
Enclosure. 413. Advices from London, of the 2nd August, 1646.
The deputies sent to take the peace proposals to the king are supposed to have arrived as their letters have come from York, and his Majesty's decision is awaited with great impatience. Meanwhile Bellievre has had audience of parliament, in which he offered the mediation of his king for peace, and asked for a passport to the king here to facilitate the treaty. The Houses showed him every outward honour and readily granted the passport. But as regards the essence of his business they passed an extraordinary resolution that the disputes between the king and parliament did not admit of any mediation or negotiation whatsoever from foreign powers, who should not meddle with such intimate affairs of the kingdom.
Worcester has surrendered to Fairfax on very hard terms. (fn. 2) The garrison are granted their lives, but with the exception of a few officers and soldiers they must give up their horses and arms.
Earl Onel, general of the Catholics in Ireland, after the great victory reported a few weeks ago, has defeated another large force and is consolidating his hold on the country by occupying the strongest places there.
Aug. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
414. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince of Wales arrived at Fontainebleau the day before yesterday with his mother. As arranged the queen regent with the king went to meet them a short way from the chateau. He will only stay three or four days, and as he keeps his incognito the foreign ministers will not have to pay their respects.
They are very apprehensive about peace in that country, not being able to endure under the very eyes of this monarchy the planting of a popular republic, powerful in itself, by its adherents and by the correspondence which religion gives it in the very bowels of this kingdom. The king there who is no longer considered as anything but a shadow, has not yet consented to sign the treaty proposed before he has shown it to Bellievre, whom he was momentarily expecting. But necessity compels everything.
The advices are enclosed.
Moret, the 21st August, 1646.
Enclosure. 415. Advices from London, of the 9th August, 1646.
The peace proposals made to the king are substantially : that peace shall be established by a perpetual act of parliament ; that his Majesty shall confirm all past treaties between both parliaments and what is done between them for the peace ; that he shall observe the religion established by a synod of the two countries ; that all archbishops, bishops and inferior orders of the Anglican Church shall be suppressed, and the Houses shall dispose of their revenues as they think fit ; that the laws against the Catholics shall be renewed and enforced, so that the mass shall not be read anywhere in the kingdom, and in particular at Court ; that as a protection against their intrigues and against the Jesuits a form of oath shall be prescribed renouncing the authority of the pope, the adoration of the mass and other essential points of the Catholic faith, and that recusants shall be punished according to law ; that the control of the army shall rest with the two Houses and those deputed by them for 20 years, after which parliament shall make such arrangements as it sees fit ; that for this purpose it may raise money as it sees fit ; that appointments shall be made by parliament, but that all his Majesty's acts since he separated from parliament shall be null, and those of parliament under the new seal valid ; that all treaties with the Catholics of Ireland shall be broken and the war there carried on by the two kingdoms ; that Princes Rupert and Maurice and many other persons named, of those most intimate with the king, shall be excluded from the peace and pardon, so that the few who still remain of that party and those who have been the most faithful are to be persecuted and punished and their goods confiscated and distributed as parliament may choose. Nothing is said about the queen, but the prohibition of the mass at Court is understood as excluding her from the realm.
Aug. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
416. Giovanni Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince of Wales has returned to St. Germain with his mother. Offices not being strictly admitted, I expressed myself to the queen upon his arrival and she was much pleased. With his stay here prolonged I shall have an opportunity of paying my respects in person.
The queen has received a fresh delight in her little daughter, (fn. 3) whom she left newly born in England, when she had to take to flight, and whose nurse has contrived by cunning to get the child out of the hands of parliament and has brought her to France, arriving in perfect health.
The sheet from London is enclosed.
I have spoken to Lesle, who offered the levy, in conformity with the instructions of the 28th July. If he makes me any definite proposals I will report them punctually.
Moret, the 28th August, 1646.
Enclosure. 417. Advices from London, the 16th August, 1646.
The Ambassador Bellievre was welcomed by the king at Newcastle with extraordinary satisfaction. When the peace proposals were imparted to him his Majesty asked the deputies what powers they had to treat. They replied that they had none, but only to hear his Majesty's will and report it. The king said he would have liked parliament to send deputies with powers to treat upon the articles, as some were of such a character that he could not agree to them without alteration. The deputies have gone and, with the negotiations practically broken off, it remains to see what parliament will decide.
Many people are flocking to Newcastle, rousing the suspicions of the Scots that the royalists are gathering, and they have issued a severe edict expelling all those who have borne arms against the two kingdoms. The gentleman sent by the king to Montrose with orders to dismiss his troops, has returned. He reports that the marquis is ready to do this provided safe terms are granted to him and to those who have followed him. He is one of those excluded from pardon in the peace. They have accordingly sent orders a third time with the threat that if he does not obey he will forthwith be declared a traitor and rebel and dealt with according to law.
The duke of York has arrived in London from Oxford and received a state welcome but all his suite has been dismissed at once and new officers and a new household have been appointed for him. In Ireland the Catholics continue their successes, having occupied various places of importance.


  • 1. John Lancelot. See his letter of the 6th August announcing his acceptance of the office of Agent to which he had been elected by the nation, in the Court Book of the Levant Co. for 3rd November. S.P. For. Archives, Vol. 150.
  • 2. On the 22nd July, O.S.
  • 3. Henrietta Maria, born at Exeter in 1644 ; subsequently married to Philip, duke of Orleans.