Venice: January 1647

Pages 296-300

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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January 1647

1647. Jan. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
464. Giovanni Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The king has not yet issued patents for levies, but it is certain that the armies cannot be filled up because last year they enlisted foreigners from many parts, whereas at present not one has joined and the French have all come to abhor the royal service, no pay whatever having been issued in the last campaign of nearly eight months. Some English were to have come to reinforce the regiments now in France, but parliament had them stopped, having become very suspicious since the command was conferred on Prince Rupert.
The sheet of London is enclosed.
Paris, the 8th January, 1646. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 465. Advices from London, the 27th December.
The Scottish commissioners have at length agreed with the parliament deputies to accept the 200,000l. on account and to evacuate the country and the English fortresses. The agreement about the king is secret, but as the English will certainly enter Newcastle, it is supposed that his Majesty will remain in their power, but on condition that they shall not take him away or dispose of him without the consent of both nations. The money has been sent to York with a large convoy to protect it on the way, and General Fairfax's lieutenant, in command of the escort, will remain as governor of Newcastle and of a neighbouring fort. (fn. 1)
For the remaining sum the Scots demand better security than a mere promise and credit. They would like as security an equivalent in the goods of Catholics and malignants, the name given to the royalists who have not yet made their peace with parliament. No decision has yet been taken about this, but they have begun to sell some of such goods, in conformity with a decree assigning them to those who have served well or who have suffered notable injury in the war.
Owing to suspicions that the king is secretly distributing commissions for levies, they have issued a severe decree that any one who ventures to raise levies in the kingdom to disturb the peace will be punished as a traitor in the first degree. As there seemed to be a great influx of persons at Newcastle, everyone has been removed from about the king, so that any party movement may be put down.
In Ireland it has become plain that all that the marquis of Ormond arranged with parliamentarians was a pure feint, to gain time, just as the English believed that he helped the Catholics to occupy several places about Dublin and that it was his intention to cause all the succour sent to him to fall into the hands of these same Catholics.
Jan. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
466. To the Ambassador in France.
With regard to the levy of Duglas, we are inclined to accept it if he will undertake to provide the men, all ready embarked at the Texel, at the rate of 15 ducats a head ; you will be able to bargain with him. If no agreement is reached we would accept his personal service and give you power to offer him up to 150 ducats a month, if he will undertake to go to Candia. The Ambassador Contarini should provide him with facilities for embarcation at the Texel, to avoid the lengthiness of other passages. You can hold out hopes of advancement such as the republic grants to those who labour well for her when their merits are well established.
Ayes, 149. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
Jan. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
467. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The cardinal also complains that the Spaniards obstruct peace in the empire and that they are solely intent on making peace with the States in order to be free to act against France in an endless war. Through Lord Goring, who is in Holland under the pretext of selling certain jewels of the queen of England, and who is won by the ministers of Spain, they have induced the princess of Orange to persuade Brandenburg to hold fast to his determination not to give up half Pomerania to Sweden.
London advices enclosed.
Paris, the 15th January, 1646. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 468. Advices from London, the 3rd January, 1647.
The Houses have resolved that those who have borne arms against parliament and have not yet made peace shall be sought out and arrested. The commissioners of Scotland have preferred three requests. First, that a security be given them for the remaining 200,000 Jacobus. This has been refused, as they consider the public credit enough. Second, not to pay the debts they have contracted where they kept garrisons. This also is refused. Third, that the English shall continue to pay the army, even in Scotland, until all the royalists are disarmed. They were told that they must first leave the country and the rest would be arranged.
The city of London has at length presented to parliament a paper which has long been under consideration. (fn. 2) It contains the following heads : first, that the covenant be submitted to all, without exception, punishing those who do not accept it, or at least excluding them from all employment. Second, only to allow those duly ordained to preach, and to provide these with proper maintenance. Third, that the people shall elect members to parliament freely, without use of force. Fourth, that the committees which administered public affairs badly be forced to render account. 5th, that the army be disbanded. 6th, that Ireland be succoured. 7th, that peace and unity be preserved between the two kingdoms. 8th, that what is realised from the sale of the malignants' goods be devoted to making good public losses. 9th, that members of parliament be not exempt from judicial process for the recovery of debt. This petition, in which the king is not so much as mentioned, when they hoped that the mayor was inclined to favour him, is a great blow to those who expected something likely to help the royal interests.
Parliament has discovered a plot for the escape of the duke of York from London, and to take him either to Newcastle or to France. Two persons have been arrested for this, (fn. 3) and when the duke was asked why he had not disclosed this long before to the Houses, he replied that as it was suggested to him on behalf of his father, he had not dared to refuse his consent to the flight.
Jan. 22.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
469. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 22nd January, 1647. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 470. Advices from London, the 10th January, 1647.
The king, perceiving that with the exchanges between the Scots and the English he must eventually come into the power of the latter, has written a strong letter to the two Houses, dated the 20th December. He recounts his various proposals for peace, to which parliament has returned no answer, points out that peace can never be established unless they confer together at close quarters, to remove all differences and suspicions. He therefore suggested he should be allowed to come to London or to some house of his near, with a safe conduct from the two Houses and the Scottish commissioners that he shall stay there honourably with full liberty and security. He is sure, if this is done, that they will easily find the way to peace, and he will agree to everything that may remove the suspicions of his subjects and which will establish tranquillity in the kingdom.
The Upper House decided to accept this proposal. The Lower considered it a long while, but in the end came to the same decision. By common accord they have consented to his Majesty going to Humby, which is one of his royal houses 60 miles from London, where he can stay in honour and safety, attended as parliament may decide. This will remove any uneasiness of the parliamentarians from seeing the king in the hands of the Scots, and it also makes it clear that his Majesty has no longer any hope of setting his party on its legs, and that he must accept so much of his name and authority as the two Houses choose.
News has arrived, though not confirmed, that Dublin has fallen, into the hands of the Catholics. Parliament has been greatly perturbed by the mere report and utters furious threats against the marquis of Ormond, who pretended to make a treaty with them and then held out his hand to the Catholics, to help them to make such an important capture.
Jan. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives.
471. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The French are arranging here with the captains for a levy of 1,500 English, which they promise to conduct to Leghorn before the end of April next.
Pisa, the 26th January, 1647. [M.V.]
Jan. 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
472. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have not been able to dismiss from my mind the assertions of more than one of the ministers here of the great things they would do in the future, in the event of peace, for the unhappy case of the king of England. After being fed on high though distant hopes and dissuaded by embassies sent on purpose from making peace and accepting the proposals which were offered to him, he now finds himself abandoned by all and before the gates of a prison, as your Excellencies will learn from the enclosed sheet, notwithstanding that religion, interest and proximity constitute so strong a claim on the French to sustain him, and that there is a queen here who weeps every day and an innocent prince who would move the stones to pity.
Paris, the 30th January, 1647. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 473. Advices from London, the 17th January, 1647.
The king's last hopes rested on the Scottish parliament assembled at Edinburgh. This has finally dissolved with decisions utterly contrary to his Majesty's expectations, thus destroying all hope. Their resolutions are under 7 heads. (1) That Scotland shall be governed as it has been during the last 5 years and that every means shall be tried to induce the king to sign the covenant and accept the proposals. (2) Even if the king accepts, the Scots will not help him against the English. (3) If he accepts the covenant but not the proposals he shall not be received in Scotland. (4) The clause in the covenant about defending his Majesty is understood as applying only so far as the preservation of the two kingdoms is concerned. (5) That the king shall not exercise any authority in Scotland until he has accepted the covenant and proposals and given a satisfactory answer to the two kingdoms upon the proposals made to him at Newcastle. (6) If he refuses to sign they will dispose of him according to the treaties between the two kingdoms. (7) That the union between the two kingdoms shall be inviolable.
The king being obliged to go to the house assigned to him as a prison, the Ambassador Bellievre, to avoid sharing the affront, has left him and is coming to London, possibly to make some representations about peace, though some say he will go direct to Holland without touching London.
It was suspected that the king contemplated flight and a ship off the coast aroused suspicion. But they have sent vessels of all kinds away, and the Scots, for greater security have doubled the guards about the royal person. Parliament has exhorted the Scottish general to exercise the greatest care and he has promised the utmost attention. Parliament has appointed three members of the Upper and six of the Lower House to conduct the king from Newcastle to Humby and has sent letters to the Scottish general and to their own commissioners at Newcastle. It is said that their only reply to the king's letter is a note directing those concerned to arrange for conducting his Majesty to one of his houses.


  • 1. Philip Skippon, appointed on the 21-31 December. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. V., page 22.
  • 2. On the 19-29 December.
  • 3. Col. E. Villiers and Lewis Hill ; a third, Richard Johnson escaped. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. V., page 27.