Venice: February 1647

Pages 300-304

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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February 1647

Feb. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Munster. Venetian Archives.
474. Domenico Condulmier, Secretary at the Hague, to Alvise Contarini, Ventian Ambassador at the Congress of Munster.
Forwarded in the despatch from Munster dated the 8th February, 1647.
The last letters from London bring word that the Scots have abandoned the king. Further that the French are in some apprehension that these States may have an understanding with the parliament of England now the latter are free from the necessity of keeping an army against the king and that it may send forces to prevent the French making fresh conquests in Flanders, and possibly even for the recovery of Dunkirk, if they are able, since it is by no means to the interest of England that the French should become masters of the sea fortresses of Flanders.
The Hague, the 4th February, 1647.
Feb. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
475. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The consequences of the disbanding of the forces of the States are already beginning to appear, and the troops are hastening to enrol under the flag of Spain. Goring has entered their service with an entire regiment.
Advices of England enclosed.
Paris, the 5th February, 1646. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 476. Advices from London, the 24th January, 1647.
The money to be paid to the Scots for evacuation has reached York, and hostages will be exchanged for the complete fulfilment of the bargain, everything being done in perfect harmony. They have begun the demolition of Varuich and Carlisle, two places which the Scots are under obligation to give up. As both kingdoms are tranquil parliament has ordered the rasing of some other towns and castles, to save the cost of garrisons and to prevent divisions and risings in the country.
From fear lest he should try to escape, the king's guards have been doubled, and eight officers never let him out of their sight. The Scottish parliament has sent a deputation of eight persons to inform his Majesty of the resolutions reported a week ago and to tell him that if he will not accept the covenant and the proposals they cannot do other than hand him over to the English. The king has not yet replied, and he is hemmed in on every side.
The nine persons charged to bring his Majesty to Humby have left London. Now that England and Scotland are working together for quiet they are making great preparations against Ireland. General Lesle is preparing to set out with strong reinforcements. He will have some councillors to assist him and decide what the common service and circumstances may require.
Feb. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
477. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen of England with bitter tears has lamented to the Regent the condition of herself and her husband, and that the long delayed hopes which have been held out of peace have reduced them to the utmost extremity, in which they are languishing at present. The English are busy preparing a powerful fleet to prevent anything that might be attempted against them from this quarter, and their estrangement from France becomes more and more deeply rooted.
The Ambassador Bellievre in London has had a strange welcome. The Upper House wished that a palace should be prepared for him in the usual way, (fn. 1) but the Lower House cancelled the order for this and so the ambassador found himself under the necessity of lodging in the house of a baker, where a brother of his, whom he had left in London to forward the news to him, had rented an apartment. In addition to this the Lower House passed a resolution to intimate to him that immediately on his arrival he must set forth the business on which he has come, so that an answer may be given him on the same day and he shall then leave the kingdom. But the Upper House intervened to prevent this and by connivance he is allowed to spend some days at his place of abode, though it is considered absolutely certain that he will decide to leave without doing any more business in order not to expose his dignity and his person to any further risks. Your Excellencies will have the rest of the news in the enclosed sheet.
Paris, the 12th February, 1646. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 478. Advices from London, of the 31st January, 1647.
His Majesty has replied to the Scottish deputies' request that he will sign the covenant by asking whether he is a prisoner or no. They said No, realising that to admit him to be a prisoner would deprive his Majesty's assent to any act of all value. The king retorted that if he was not a prisoner they ought to allow him to go away to any part of the kingdom he pleased, and he would sign anything there. The Scots are somewhat at a loss to find an answer to such reasoning.
When the king heard the decision about his going to Humby he sent back to London Sir [Peter] Cilegre with letters to the Upper House stating that he will give the deputies sent to him fuller particulars about his intentions. Meanwhile the Houses have intercepted letters from his Majesty to various persons in Wales by which they say he is trying to form a new party and to enlist troops. They use this as a pretext for a stricter guard and for watching him more closely. They have made a law that all those of the king's and prince's households who followed the parliament shall be restored to their appointments, excluding those of the royal party who are now in possession.
A person accused of urging his Majesty to escape is summoned to London to explain. (fn. 2) A Dutch ship which was off Newcastle some days ago has caused some suspicion that it was to help the king's flight and so parliament sent four of its own vessels to watch the other and make it leave that part.
Feb. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
479. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 19th February, 1647. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 480. Advices from London, the 7th February, 1647.
The following are the proposals made by the Scottish parliament to the English one, with the replies :
(1) That the two kingdoms appoint commissioners to urge the king to sign the peace proposals. If he will not do so, that he be detained at Humby or at some other royal house approved by parliament, with security but not with liberty, and that all this be without prejudice to the heirs to the crown.
Reply : saving the rights of parliament England is content that, after the Scots have evacuated the country and the king has reached Humby, the commissioners shall be appointed, but with limited authority.
(2) That the Scots with appointments about his Majesty shall have free access to him, but only those who have not borne arms against parliament and those who were deprived shall be restored to their posts.
Reply : agreed, but those who wish to have access to his Majesty must have a pass either from the Houses in London or from the Scottish commissioners and no pass may be granted to anyone who is excluded in the peace proposals.
(3) That if Scotland has war by reason of handing over the king to the English, they shall give assistance from here.
Reply : agreed.
(4) That Scotland being at present incommoded by the Irish desires help from the English.
Reply : this will be given after the Scots have left England and the king is at Humby.
His Majesty has raised many difficulties about leaving Newcastle and he has frequently tested the Scots to see if they will allow him to go to their country, but without success. News has come that he has at last set out and that he has arrived at Humby.
The Ambassador Bellievre has asked for quarters during the time of his stay in London. They have given him fair words, but nothing has been done so far.
Feb. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives.
481. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
They are much put out here because the Congregation de Propaganda Fide, with money received from the pope and others, wished to remit to Ireland 65,000 crowns for Monseigneur Rannucci for the benefit of the Catholics there ; but in France they would not allow the letters to be accepted. No one knows the reason. It now appears that the pope desires to economise that money because he is afraid that now everything is lost by the agreement which is announced between the English and the Scots, with the handing over of the king to the former, whereas the Resident Digby here had led them to believe great things and that all three kingdoms would be brought back to the Catholic faith.
Rome, the 23rd February, 1647. [M.V.]
Feb. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
482. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 26th February, 1647. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 483. Advices from London, the 14th February, 1647.
The king has at last been placed in the hands of the English, or rather consigned to them as a prisoner, The Scottish garrison left Newcastle as arranged and another entered for the parliament. The Scottish commissioners then went to the king and told him, that as he refused to sign the proposals and treaties they were obliged to hand him over to the English. Some of them had tears in their eyes, but the king made a sharp reply and showed great firmness. He said it mattered little that they refused to admit him to Scotland as even if he had been at liberty he would rather have gone to those who bought than to those who sold him. The English deputies thereupon entered and at once set their guards and started to take the king to Humby. He asked various questions which they forwarded to the two Houses with their replies. (1) He asked if they had power to change his servants and what servants he would have. They told him parliament had arranged for his service on the way to Humby and they would give him the names. (2) He asked if those who serve him now might accompany him even if they did not serve him on the journey. They told him that if he would give them the names of those who wished to go with him they would tell him, if according to their instructions they might go or not. (3) If he might speak with each one apart. They said this was a matter of importance which they must report to the committee. (4) If he himself was to fix the day of his departure. They said they would like him to fix the time, but if it was not soon it would not accord with their orders, which were to take him to Humby with all proper speed. After this talk the king suffered himself to be put on the road to Humby.


  • 1. By a resolution of the 8-18 January the Lords directed that Goring House should be prepared for the ambassador. They sent a reminder to the Commons on the 25th, Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. VII., pages 652, 686.
  • 2. Possibly Michael Hudson is meant. The deputy governor of Hull was ordered to send him to London on the 12-22 January. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. V., page 50.