Venice: May 1647

Pages 313-317

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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May 1647

May 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Contantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
506. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Your Excellencies' letters of the 22nd ult. reached me by an English ship, although the impertinence of the merchants delayed them for three days. The letters were directed to the English ambassador, with a note that they were private for me. The deputy of the merchants began to rage against their ambassador and told me I ought not to help him and that I should prevent the merchants from supplying him with goods and money. Their strongest feeling is against the dragoman Grillo and they declare that they will spend 50,000 reals to have him impaled and to get me shut up in the Towers, pretending that I keep up correspondence with the ambassador in order to get ships to sail to Venice for service in the fleet. I have never met with the like in any part of the world. In my relations with the ambassador, following the example of France, I have always confined myself to the terms of courtesy and compliment, without slighting his position, since all the proprieties require that he should be recognised and honoured as ambassador until another arrives in his place.
The Vigne di Pera, the 4th May, 1647.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
May 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
507. Gerolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Castel Rodrigo writes that in view of the peace with Holland he contemplates sending here to Spain 3,000 Irish who were destined for Flanders, for the levying of whom 100,000 crowns were remitted from here. This succour will come most opportunely if it arrives soon, because the Prince of Condé is preparing to attack.
Madrid, the 4th May, 1647.
May 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
508. Giovanni Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 7th May, 1647.
Enclosure. 509. Advices from London, the 25th April, 1647.
The army of Fairfax shows great discontent at the attempt to prevent them from presenting their just complaints to the Houses, and they claim at least the right to make known the great wrong which they consider they have received.
Gen. Middleton has occupied the chief stronghold of the Gordons in Scotland (fn. 1) and the royal party is being destroyed, Lesle having captured 3 or 4 of the strongest castles which still held for the king. In Ireland Dublin has at last fallen into the hands of the parliamentarians, being handed over by the marquis of Ormond to Col. Jones, who has orders from the Houses to hold it with great vigilance.
The commissioners with his Majesty at Homby have written that in spite of all their diligence he has received a packet of letters from the queen, brought by Col. Bosuil, disguised as a fisherman. He has been arrested and parliament wants him brought to London. When asked if he knew the contents of the packet he replied that he knew nothing except that a lady of the queen, when handing it to him, told him that it contained letters of the Prince of Wales to his father, to ask his leave to follow the duke of Orleans to the army in Flanders, which the queen regent and his mother would not allow. Parliament is not satisfied with this and is trying to learn more by torture (et con tormenti procura di cavare piu oltre). The Houses have held several conferences to decide how to make the final peace proposals to the king. They have decided to present to him at Homby the same as were produced at Newcastle, and they are still divided about the instructions to be given to those who are to speak on the subject.
May 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
510. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 14th May, 1647.
Enclosure. 511. Advices from London, the 2nd May, 1647.
Parliament has decided that the council of London shall elect 31 persons to direct its troops for a year. They have also sent commissioners to Fairfax's army to learn from the malcontents the cause of their grievances and to induce the others to go to Ireland. Almost all the officers in a body have asked whom they are to obey there. They were told, those whom parliament appointed, Major General Scippon being selected at present. They replied that they were ready to go with Fairfax and with Cromuel but not with anyone else. The commissioners at once retorted that they would not be dictated to by them, and those who did not want to cross to Ireland had leave to go home. They are trying to win over a number separately, promising them double pay before embarking and another as soon as they have landed.
Among the securities asked by the city of London for the loan of 200,000l. parliament would not grant them the forfeited goods of the Catholics. This gives rise to the hope that now the country is enjoying complete internal tranquillity some respite may be allowed to the Catholics and the right to practise their religion upon payment of a certain amount. But others fear that it is a trap to induce the Catholics to discover themselves and to get possession of their goods and persons simultaneously.
Since the king received his packet he is more closely guarded than ever and when they gave a pass to the Dutch ambassador to go and inform him of the death of the Prince of Orange, he was only allowed audience in the presence of the parliament commissioners so that he might not talk of other affairs.
Parliament is inclined to settle the form of the Anglican church before it presents its peace proposals to the king lest he fortify his arguments for the bishops by saying that he does not know what creed he is asked to adopt.
May 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
512. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The negotiations for a levy of 1,000 English have fallen through, because there is no money to effect it and also because the securities offered are not satisfactory, without considering the risk of advancing such large sums so late in the season.
[Advices of England enclosed.]
Paris, the 21st May, 1647.
Enclosure. 513. Advices from London, the 9th May, 1647.
The commissioners sent by parliament to the army have reported the number of officers and men willing to go to Ireland, which is greatly below what was expected. There has been a prolonged dispute between the two Houses over this, as to whether it is expedient to disband the army or to keep it in being, or else to find some way of sending it in a body to Ireland. After long disputes they decided to disband the army except those willing to go to Ireland ; that a muster should be held before disbanding ; that 3 officers accused of having prevented others from going be brought to London for examination. (fn. 2) Scippon has accepted the command in Ireland, after being pressed for some time by both Houses.
In Scotland the parliament forces have defeated the remains of the royalists in several encounters, and have occupied the strongest places, so that the party is practically extinct. The earl of Kilketto, who has betaken himself to the depths of the mountains, cannot hold out any longer. He has asked to be allowed to leave the country with his men, but they refuse to grant him any terms.
The earl of Laderdaigne has arrived in London on behalf of the Scots and is consulting about sending the final peace proposals to the king and finding some compromise for the establishment of religion and the church. It seems that they think of giving the king six days to decide about signing, but his Majesty seems determined to refuse.
May 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
514. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The eight large Swedish ships, bought at immense cost, which were to constitute the nucleus of the fleet, have suffered a mishap which annoys the Court greatly. An English squadron found them near Dunkirk, and attacked them furiously. After a long fight in which many were slain, some were sunk and the rest captured and taken into the Downs. (fn. 3) The motive for this act is not quite clear. It may have been to assert the dominion claimed by the English over these waters surrounding England, the Swedish ships having refused to lower their flag when the others appeared, or some more recondite object, to prevent France arming at sea and help the Spaniards to recover Dunkirk, as the ministers here suspect an understanding between the two nations, and that an English squadron, ostensibly purchased by Spain, is to cut off succour by sea while the archduke attacks the place by land.
A courier of the Ambassador Bellievre has passed this way to the Court but there has not been time to find out what he brings.
The usual sheet is attached.
Paris, the 28th May, 1647.
Enclosure. 515. Advices from London, the 16th May, 1647.
The army has at last presented the Houses with a paper containing many grievances, because they are not allowed to petition, contrary to previous practice, and to the duty of parliament itself, which is assembled for nothing but to hear the grievances of all and to redress the evils which oppress the kingdom. Parliament is somewhat apprehensive, fearing some disturbances, as they foresee that the troops will not disband if they are not satisfied. They sent at once to the army four officers who are most popular with the men and best affected to the government, to tell them that everyone shall receive the pay due to him and they must prepare for the disbanding, which the interests of the country require.
The four officers accused of having stopped many from going to Ireland have presented themselves and at once asked if they were there as culprits and if there would be a trial. The Houses considered it advisable not to press the matter and sent them back clear. At the same time an act was published pardoning all acts committed by the soldiers during the war.
They have decided to occupy the island of Gerze, where the Prince of Wales left a garrison at his withdrawal, and which still holds for the king. They have entrusted the task to a colonel, paying him 8,000l. (fn. 4)
The Catholics of Ireland are besieging Caterlogh, a place of the utmost importance, and if they take it they will secure a great advantage. (fn. 5) The parliamentarians are not strong enough yet to take the field. 800 infantry have crossed over to there from England this week.
In Scotland the Gordons have been completely defeated and the earl of Kilketto, their leader, has left the country, retiring to a small island opposite, (fn. 6) to which they are pursuing him.


  • 1. Strathbolgy castle.
  • 2. There were four. See the advices of the 16th May on the next page.
  • 3. The affair occurred off the Isle of Wight, when Rear Adm. Owen attacked the Swedes for not striking to his flag. Rushworth : Hist. Collections. Pt. IV., Vol. I., pages 478, 479, 481.
  • 4. Rainsborough's plan for reducing Jersey was approved on the 23rd April, O.S. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. V., page 154.
  • 5. Preston laid siege to Carlow on the 10th April, O.S.
  • 6. Islay.