Venice: September 1646

Pages 277-281

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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September 1646

Sept. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
418. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Bellievre sent the Resident Montreuil to the Court by sea from Newcastle, with ample despatches to inform them of all that had happened and how he had not found the Scots so devoted to the king as was supposed. Parliament, being suspicious of this embassy and since at its arrival the king rejected the peace, laid its snares so well that the ship fell into their hands. (fn. 1) All the packets were taken, his person being left at liberty. He wished to go on to London, but it availed him nothing, as the letters were opened and read publicly. Here they feel the affront but do not know how to resent it, since nothing reasonable can be expected from men who despise both God and the king, and who are not likely to respect the dignity of foreigners.
The advices thence are enclosed.
Moret, the 4th September, 1646.
Enclosure. 419. Advices from London, the 23rd August, 1646.
The deputies sent to present the peace proposals to the king are back from Newcastle and have made their report to the Houses. They also presented a letter from his Majesty complaining that the time given him was too short and that the commissioners had no powers and could not remove certain doubts which occurred to him. He says that to remove difficulties he would like to come to London or some place in the neighbourhood, where both sides could confer, and he promises to consent to what both kingdoms consider opportune for the public good. There has not been time for the Houses to decide upon this and some important decision is expected. Meanwhile the Scots, more united than ever with the parliament in London, have presented a memorial so that if the peace is rejected by the king the two kingdoms may themselves establish and uphold it ; which means deciding whatever they think fit without his Majesty's assent. The Lower House would not be sorry if his Majesty did not sign the peace, as it would achieve its end in excluding him from the treaty and remove the show of royal power from before its eyes.
The Scots themselves have offered parliament to leave all the places where they keep garrisons in England, but on condition, as they have incurred great expenses and losses, that the sum due to them shall be paid, one half in cash and the rest in good securities.
News of the marquis of Montrose is still uncertain. Some say he has made good terms separately and that on the 1st September he is to leave the country. Others affirm that he has withdrawn to the Highlands to see how the negotiations between the king and parliament will turn out.
Sept. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
420. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Moret, the 11th September, 1646.
Enclosure. 421. Advices from London, of the 30th August, 1646.
The Houses have answered the Scots' offer to evacuate the places they occupy in England with hearty thanks, commending their loyalty in maintaining unity and in fulfilling the treaties. They have offered to pay them 100,000l. sterling down and the rest after the accounts have been reviewed and the items adjusted. To afford them every satisfaction, as reports and suspicions are abroad among the vulgar that the Scots have an understanding with the king, they have denounced severe penalties against all who venture to say anything offensive against the Scottish nation.
The agreement arranged by Montrose is confirmed whereby he lays down his arms and has the right to leave the country. There are still a few of the royal party in Scotland who have withdrawn to the Highlands and defer laying down their arms in order to find better terms for themselves.
The king is still at Newcastle and the Houses have not yet decided anything further about the peace. We hear that the marquis of Ormond, who commanded the Protestants for the king in Ireland, has made an agreement with the Catholics, so that the general of the Scots, being unable to hold out any longer, destitute as he is of provisions and food, has left the country.
Sept. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
422. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Advices of London enclosed as usual.
Moret, the 18th September, 1646.
Enclosure. 423. Advices from London, the 6th September, 1646.
The two Houses in London are debating incessantly upon two important points. First, that if the king refuses the peace proposals they shall proceed to declare that in the future England has no king either in name or in fact. Second, to intimate to the Prince of Wales that he must return to the country, otherwise to declare him incapable of the throne, and that the succession devolves upon his brother, the duke of York. They have not come to any positive decision upon either, but the populace and the Lower House lean to the extreme course.
Meanwhile the agreement for the return of the places, between the English and the Scots, has been arranged with perfect ease, despite the idea that some quarrel must arise between the two countries over an affair of such consequence. 200,000l. sterling have been promised to the Scots, one half down and the rest one year after they have begun to evacuate the country and withdraw their troops. 300,000l. more have been promised on the public credit, from which however they are to deduct such contributions as the Scots have levied in the northern counties. As Newcastle is one of the places to be given up it remains to be seen whether the Scots will take the king with them or leave him in the custody of the English.
General Montrose has completely disarmed and is to go to France. Some others who are hiding in the mountains, are treating about disarming, on obtaining assurances for their persons and property.
Sept. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives.
424. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The pope has had 30,000 crowns remitted to the nuncio in Ireland, so that they may be given to the Catholics there. He declares that they are very well expended, as he is full of enthusiasm over the victories and advantages which they are constantly winning. There is a Franciscan friar of that nation here, who is continually soliciting him. Digbi, the resident of the King of England, is expected here soon from France. They say he is coming to ask for money and that this has been promised if they arrange to do certain things for the Catholic religion which he has intimated are to be carried out.
Rome, the 22nd September, 1646.
Sept. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian. Archives.
425. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Montreuil has come from London, having recovered his mails, though after the Lower House had broken the seals and read them. At his departure the parliamentarians advised him not to return to those parts, as he was personally suspect. In spite of this they are sending him back (si riespedisce) to Newcastle to the Ambassador Bellievre, of whom, and his negotiations, the English grow more and more suspicious.
The Speaker of the Commons has written to the Secretary of State here explaining and apologising for the action taken in violating the despatches, but the agent who presented the letter and the letter itself were refused, Brienne, on behalf of the queen, breaking out into accusations and complaints.
The enclosed sheet contains the other news of England.
Moret, the 25th September, 1646.
Enclosure. 426. Advices from London, the 13th September, 1646.
The treaty with the Scots for handing back the towns is suspended for some days, as there has not been time to make the payments and the bare word of the English is not considered sufficient security. But the generality of the Scots, who want the money, intend to carry it out, and so the delay is not likely to cause an upset. By a tacit agreement between the two countries the king will be handed over to the English, whose garrison will enter Newcastle as the other goes out.
There are signs of dissension, however, in London and in the government itself, and the party of the Independents, which is less hostile to the king, seems to be constantly gaining ground. It appears that the generals and commanders of the army are disposed to favour this faction. In the Houses and the government the Presbyterians have the upper hand and they contemplate reforming the army and taking power from those who do not share their opinions. Thus many would prefer that the Scots, who are of the same faction, should not withdraw from England so soon, to enable them to carry out this desire with more energy, in case of opposition.
Some differences have also arisen between the two Houses, the Upper having resolved that contributions should be collected by its officers while the Lower has directed that the ministers of the other who venture to meddle with a matter they claim as their own shall be imprisoned. The dispute has grown warm and no mutually satisfactory compromise has yet been found.
In Ireland peace has been concluded between the Catholics and Protestants but its fulfilment is suspended because the rank and file of the Catholics who claim that the treaty does not give them the complete liberty which they demand, assert that their deputies have exceeded their powers.


  • 1. Phineas Pett reported the taking of Montereul in a letter from Yarmouth on the 6th August. Pett had been appointed to command the Mary Rose in February. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IV., pages 450, 641.