Venice: June 1647

Pages 317-322

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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June 1647

June 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
516. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Parliament in London has referred the capture of the Swedish ships to the Admiralty office (offitio del mare), to decide what is right in the matter. This means a suit and a long drawn out affair. Here to avoid the appearance of a sensible affront they circulate the report that the ships belong to merchants, as it is desirable to dissimulate and not provoke a quarrel.
Encloses usual sheet of London news.
Paris, the 4th June, 1647.
Enclosure. 517. Advices from London, the 23rd May, 1647.
They expect to-morrow the decision of the army about disbanding and also about going to Ireland. Skippon and the other officers deputed by the Houses have informed them that parliament means to give them full satisfaction for the money due to them and has had the act of oblivion read. The troops seem inclined to be satisfied and in an apology they have had presented to the Lower House they clear themselves of the false report that they meant to restore the king to his former state. Until this affair is peacefully settled they will not send the commissioners to the king with the peace proposals. His Majesty often asks about their coming and seems impatient to see them as soon as possible. A woman who furtively tried to put a packet into the king's hand has been arrested by the guards and the letters intercepted.
The marquis of Ormond, to remove all suspicion, offers to leave the country with 5,000 Irish and go to serve another prince, promising absolutely not to return to bear arms against the Houses. The Irish Catholics are still besieging Ciletog, but the parliament troops, entering the county of Mayo, have inflicted losses on them and have cut to pieces a good number of Catholics. But the parliament army is short of munitions of war and food and so it cannot make much progress. Certain regiments are at Chester and are waiting for a wind to cross to Ireland.
June 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
518. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
They have decided in England to give up the captured 12 ships and present them to the queen with a compliment, representing that the incident was fortuitous and unavoidable, and for the rest their friendship and correspondence are unchanged.
Some sharp letters have passed between the governor of Boulogne and the English Vice Admiral, the latter complaining that privateers find refuge in the port and in others along the coast of France. The governor made a haughty reply, but being admonished by the Court not to provoke ill will he has since observed a proper moderation.
The English news is in the enclosed sheet.
Paris, the 11th June, 1647.
Enclosure. 519. Advices from London, the 30th May, 1647.
Colonel Bosuel who was arrested some weeks ago after having put a packet into the king's hand, has been taken from the Tower to another prison, from which it is concluded that the Houses consider him guilty and worthy of death.
A deputation has come from the Northern counties offering to find the goods of delinquents which are concealed from parliament, to the amount of more than 100,000 Jacobus. They at once received an appointment as those who offer to find cash are always gladly heard.
The Lower House has sent to the Upper the proposals it intends to offer to his Majesty, so that both Houses may be agreed. Meanwhile the king, annoyed at the delay, has asked that a secretary may be sent to him to do some writing. Parliament refused, so his Majesty has written a long letter in his own hand, complaining of his treatment as they even deny him the conveniences allowed to a private person. If he is a prisoner, it is superfluous to treat with him, because his will is not free. If he is free he cannot, without loss of dignity, accept the proposals already made to him. He knows that many would advise him to accept everything and to keep nothing, but that was not his sentiment. He wished to treat loyally and sincerely and to agree to moderate terms rather than to unjust ones. He would agree to the militia being under the control of parliament for ten years and then return to its former state. For Presbyterianism to last for three years and for a synod to settle the permanent form, in which 20 preachers, chosen by himself should take part. The approval of everything done under his seal and the parliament's. To include all persons on both sides in a general oblivion. These points accepted to allow him to come to parliament where he assures them he will give and receive every proper satisfaction, and he undertakes to bring back the Prince of Wales to the country. (fn. 1) The Houses have spent four days in considering this letter and have not yet decided on their answer.
To the army which they wish to disband they offer two months' pay and one and a half more to those who are willing to cross to Ireland. As much more is due to it there is some uncertainty whether they will be satisfied.
The castle of Caterlegh in Ireland has fallen into the hands of the Catholics (fn. 2) who hope that this will help them to further successes.
June 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
520. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
60,000 crowns have arrived from Rome in letters of exchange to provide succour for the Catholics of Ireland. Here they will not permit the papal nuncio to take this sum away in ready money out of the kingdom, as was required by Irish interests, to avoid damaging the exchange. Good intentions and hopes were held out to them, but in the end it was resolved to avoid the least shadow of anything likely to offend England, and rather to suffer every insult from the parliament. The ships of parliament have recently arrested 500 men who were crossing from Ireland for the service of this crown. The advices of London are attached.
Paris, the 18th June, 1647.
Enclosure. 521. Advices from London, the 6th June, 1647.
The Houses have not yet decided upon their reply to the king's letter. But the lords have resolved that the royal house of Oatlands shall be prepared for his Majesty and that he shall be taken there. The Commons were some days before they finally gave their assent. Bringing the king so near the capital and parliament makes it likely that the peace negotiations will make more progress than in the past, and it is coming to be known that the despatches from the queen, put into the king's hand secretly some weeks ago, urged him to accept any terms.
The army will be disbanded more quietly than was expected. Parliament has won over the superior officers and the rest will have to give way. General Fairfax will be the first to disband his regiment and the others can but follow the example of their chief. The disbanding is to begin on the 11th.
Sir Chilegre is deputed by the Houses to pay their respects to the Archduke in Flanders. The French minister betrays extreme jealousy about this, feeling that the generality lean to the Spanish side, and it is they who will profit most from this disbanding of the army.
The Irish Catholics are in the field in strong force forming two army corps. At Chester a good number of ships are waiting for a wind to carry succour to the parliamentarians.
June 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
522. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The continued blockade of the Dardanelles by the Captain General may prevent the embarcation of troops here from Asia for Candia. But it may be done elsewhere, and in particular at Smyrna, where as I understand, they are keeping the foreign ships held up for this end. Two days ago an olacco arrived with a report that the captains were making great difficulties about serving ; they had not been able to take away their sails or rudders and since there was no fortress at the place they could not compel them. They had tried the effect of persuasion, but the captains declared that unless they received letters from their consuls they certainly would not serve. Owing to the serious consequences involved I have appealed to the ambassadors of France and England and to the Flemish consul ; but everyone hopes that this violence will not be committed. I do not know what has happened. The olacco was sent back yesterday with orders to the Aga to stay there and to arrange in some way or other that the ships shall not depart.
The Vigne di Pera, the 19th June, 1647.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
June 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
523. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
First by the ordinary and later by special advices to the queen of England we have heard of such a great revolution in the affairs of England that everyone is in suspense to hear the sequel. It was supposed that the army would be disbanded, and Gen. Fairfax left London for the purpose promising that he would be the first to set the example with his regiments ; but the very opposite has happened. He sent a courier to inform the Houses that when he reached the army he could not induce it to be satisfied with what was promised and it was consequently in a mutinous state. He had served faithfully but he could not do the impossible. Parliament in alarm at once stopped Col. Scippon who was going thither with the money to pay them, so that the money might not fall into the hands of the rebels. So much from the ordinary, but the latest news is that 500 of the cavalry have gone to Humby and taken possession of the king, arresting the commissioners of parliament who guarded him and carrying them to the camp. So far the news is authentic, but the rest is still obscure and uncertain. At the queen's house they hear that Gen. Fairfax, supplying arms to his Majesty, is marching on London with the whole army, the king at the head, to set him on the throne again and take him to his parliament. The partisans of that body, on the other hand, assert that Fairfax has had him taken back to Humby and placed him under guard, while the army does not stir and is waiting for the satisfaction promised by the Houses, who are determined not to spare money or any means to dissipate the cloud. A few days will clear this up. Meanwhile it is certain that the disorder in London has been extreme and if the king goes there with the army he will meet with no resistance. They have furnished the ramparts with guns and ordered 30,000 men of the city to take arms. It is also certain that Fairfax who, after so many victories, hoped to rise in that republic as Orange did in the Netherlands, has met with scant recompense and gratitude from the Houses and has even been obliged to lay down his arms. Further the parliamentary faction is itself divided into two sects one of the Presbyterians who do not want a king or any religion but that of Calvin ; the other of the Independents, who love the monarchy, but with limited power, and for religion that every one shall follow that which his conscience dictates. The majority in the Houses belong to the first while nearly all the commanders in the army belong to the second and so dissension has risen more easily between them.
The 500 Irish who were coming to serve this crown have been set at liberty, the parliamentarians realising that in this state of affairs it does not behove them to provoke their neighbours. The Ambassador Bellievre, who has leave to return, is now ordered to wait until they see how things turn out and to put the final touches to some other business.
Of the English levy of which your Serenity writes in the ducal missives of the 25th I can report nothing certain, the less because with the present revolution there is clearly great risk of losing a lot of money for very little result. The negotiations with them have not been lengthy and there are numerous articles and proposals which I have not sent to avoid being tedious. As they have not found the caution here I suggested that since by the agreement they were not to receive any money until after embarcation, they should lade their ships, undertaking to hold a muster in passing La Rochelle, which is their route, not many leagues from the Scilly Islands, where the embarcation was to take place, and then supply the money both for the levy and the voyage in accordance with the number of effectives that they produced. They would not agree to this and I went no further. I think this was wise in view of what has happened. But I shall wait to see what time will bring forth since it is extremely desirable to open that kingdom to levies for your excellencies, as if we do not begin to take them early, supposing peace does not follow, I do not know what we can promise ourselves for next winter, as the slender numbers of those who come to the royal service may force the ministers to close the door against foreigners.
Paris, the 25th June, 1647.
June 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Munster. Venetian Archives.
524. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at the Congress of Munster, to the Doge and Senate.
The most important news received in these parts, and it comes from several quarters, is that the king of England has been set at liberty by the self same parliamentary army that was guarding him at Hambi. With this army, after having recovered the fortress of Oxford, he is marching straight on London, which he will deal with as he pleases, since parliament has no other force to send against him. This is a circumstance of such magnitude that many require further confirmation before they will believe it. Should it be verified it is so miraculous that those who stood out against peace will recognise that to refuse one on advantageous terms calls for the vengeance of Heaven.
Munster, the 28th June, 1647.
June 29.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
525. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
They still cherish the idea of making use of the ships at Smyrna. As there have been negotiations to let them out on hire I have tried to arrange that there shall be difficulties over this also, owing to the injury that would be inflicted on trade. However they have demanded 10,000 reals for each ship, a circumstance which has brought the negotiations to a stop. There is now some fear that the Captain Pasha may take them by force. Meanwhile even here they have displayed the utmost violence against certain ship captains who were about to sail, under the pretext that they did not fire a salute for the Captain Pasha when he departed. They have been put in irons and the Grand Vizier hopes to wring a lot of money out of them. This may exasperate the nations and induce them to serve your Serenity more readily.
The Vigne of Pera, the 29th June, 1647.
[Italian ; deciphered.]


  • 1. Text printed in Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. IX., pages 193, 194.
  • 2. Rinuccini reports the surrender of Carlow on the 3rd May. Aiazzi ; Nunziatura in Irlanda, page 226.