February (1 of 2)
A paper of secretary Thurloe, relating to the post-office.
Vol. lxvii. p. 33.
Whereas the honourable the committee for inspecting the treasuries required of me
an account, as well of touching the rent of the post-office, as the sum of two thousand nine hundred ninety-nine pounds and five shillings and seven-pence, supposed to be
lately received by me out of the exchequer, I do humbly offer this answer:
I. As to the rent of the post-office, I have paid into the exchequer the full rent due for
the said office upon the twenty-ninth of September last, according as I was ordered by the
council of state, and have my discharges for the same, according to the course of the
exchequer; and as for the profits of the office from the twenty-ninth of September to the
twenty-fifth of December last, I humbly offer to consideration, that within less than a
fortnight after the twenty-ninth of September last, my farm was, by virtue of an act of
parliament dated the eleventh of October, made null and void, and the office itself, as it
stood at that time, set aside, and consequently no more rent payable; and it was then lawful for any other person to set up other posts for the carrying of such letters as should be
brought to them, which very many accordingly practised.
This made me once resolve to quit the office immediately; but having respect to the
loss, that the commonwealth would sustain in that case, I continued things as they were till
the twenty-fifth of December, carrying such letters as were freely brought to me; yet
declaring, that I would not continue so to do any longer than the said twenty-fifth of
That the troubles and disorders, which were between the eleventh of October and the
twenty-fifth of December, did both in England, Scotland, and Ireland, greatly lessen the
profits of the office, the whole arising thereupon not being able to pay the charge, and
answer the rent formerly reserved, by many hundred pounds, as will appear by certificate
of those, who manage the office; and this loss ought not in justice to fall upon me,
my farm, and the covenants therein, which were for my advantage, being made void, so
that I can in law have no benefit by them; and therefore it will not; as I conceive, be
thought reasonable to require a rent upon an avoided lease. But having no design to apply
the profits to my own use, I set off a debt due to me from the state in lieu of the profits
received, as aforesaid; which is the answer I give to the second question touching the
2999 l. 5 s. 7 d. supposed to be received by me. To which I say, I received not one
peny of money out of the exchequer; but there being due to me from the state, expended
for public services between the twentieth of January, 1658, and the twenty-ninth of September
last, (and for which I formerly gave an account to the council of state before the parliament's
last interruption) and for defalcations, according to the covenants in the lease in the postoffice, the sum of 2999 l. 5 s. 7 d. I did give an acquittance in the exchequer as for so
much received out of that receipt by me, and thereby discharged the state of that debt in
such manner, as I can never demand or expect other satisfaction, detaining in my hands the
value thereof out of the profits of the post-office as aforesaid, and am ready to give a just
and true account of the profits of the office from the twenty-ninth of September to the
twenty-fifth of December; and in case any thing shall appear to be in my hands over and
above what is before expressed, I shall be ready to pay the same, a just allowance being also
made for the management of the office during that time; and this, I hope, will not be
denied, as well for the justice of the cases, as also because I improved that office 4000 l.
per annum, to the state voluntarily, which I might have put in my own purse.
Read February 2. 1659.
Thursday, Feb. 2. 1659.
Colonel White reports a paper of John Thurloe esquire, which was read.
Vol. lxvii. p. 29.
That the warrant for a tally on the post-office for the payment of two thousand nine
hundred ninety-nine pounds five shillings and seven-pence to John Thurloe esquire, for disbursements in the business of intelligence, and other public services to the commonwealth,
by him . . . . . by colour of letters patents, dated the twelfth of December, 1659,
is null and void.
That the said paper and case of John Thurloe esquire, touching his disbursements and
services for the commonwealth, be referred to the council of state, to consider of it, and
report their opinion therein to the parliament forthwith.
Tho. St. Nicholas, cl. of the parliament.
To the right honourable the council of state appointed by authority of parliament.
Vol. lxvii. p. 37.
The subscribed embassador of the lords the states general of the United Netherlands
hath received certain intelligence, that the free Hans-town of Lubeck hath prohibited
and forbidden, (Hamburg intending to do it also) that their people and inhabitants should
not pay in France the newly-imposed lastgelt or ship-money, exacted from all foreign
ships and vessels lading or taking in any freight in the ports of that kingdom, in the same
manner as is expressed in the proclamation of the said lords the states general, published
in August last past, a copy whereof hath been communicated heretofore to their honours,
to the end, that the like order might be given by and on the behalf of this commonwealth,
the consequence of the said new and unreasonable burden being of no less prejudice and
ill consequence to England than the United Netherlands and the Hans-towns.
The said subscribed embassador beseecheth also, that he may have a favourable and positive answer concerning the articles for preventing of piracies; to the end, that commerce
and navigation may be encouraged. Given this 7/17. of February, 1659/60.
To the right honourable the council of state appointed by authority of parliament.
Vol. lxvii. p. 35.
The subscribed embassador of the lords the states general of the United Netherlands
hath by his former papers at several times represented the most sincere intentions of
the said lords his superiors, concerning the peace to be established by the joint mediation and
co-operation of the three states, or at least of England and the United Netherlands, between
the two Northern kings and kingdoms. And now on consideration, that the king of
Sweden hath not only refused to accept of the proposals offered unto him by the public
ministers of the said three states, according to the respective agreements made at the Hague,
and the orders given to the plenipotentiaries of this commonwealth, and the extraordinary
commissioners of the United Netherlands, during the last summer, but that he hath continued with his forces utterly to destroy and ruin the territories and islands of the king of
Denmark; as also; that he hath still disturbed and obstructed since to the utmost of his
power, the free commerce and navigation in the Sound and Baltic sea, to the great loss and
prejudice as well of the people of this commonwealth, as of the state of the United Netherlands, who have both suffered by the continuance of the war in the said Eastern parts,
whereby the mother trade of both nations hath been obstructed, and so unhappily interrupted; the said lords the states general have not been wanting to bestir themselves to
the purpose, as well by their public ministers with the two high renowned kings, as otherwise; to the end, that the king of Sweden might have been persuaded to agree to the conditions propounded by the said three states, when the king of Denmark had declared both
by word of mouth, and in writing under his hand and seal, his acceptance thereof: but seeing the king of Sweden did not only angrily reject the same, but that of late he hath in a
project of a treaty propounded several impracticable and intolerable conditions, altogether
differing from those, which by the said three states had been judged to be moderate and
reasonable, (whereby it appears, that the more high-renowned king of Sweden hath no real
intention to settle a peace in the said Eastern parts; not regarding the great charge and
expence, which the war there hath brought upon the commonwealth of England, and on
the state of the United Netherlands, beside the loss and inconveniency sustained during
the war, by the people of both states, in their commerce and navigation in those parts)
the said lords the states general have expresly ordered on the thirtieth of January last past,
(when they were certified, that the present parliament was again re-established) that the
subscribed embassadors should assure their honours, that they the said lords the states
general do truly and sincerely desire, that the aforesaid war may be accommodated and
associated; intreating, that it may please the parliament the supreme authority of this commonwealth also to order, that by the common and joint co-operation the king of Sweden
may be brought to accept of the conditions expressed in the said former agreements; as
also to refund the expences, which have been already supported, or may be hereafter occasioned by reason of his refusal and tergiversation. It is notorious, that the United Netherlands have been put to extraordinary costs and charges, since the king of Sweden's refusing
of the aforesaid conditions, expressed in the aforesaid agreement; and that they have cause
to demand satisfaction and refusion of the same from the king of Sweden; yet to shew
their sincere and hearty affection to re-establish the peace between the high-renowned kings,
they would be content to quit the same, if on consideration thereof surer and more favourable conditions might be obtained for the king of Denmark, which would certainly redound
to the honour of both states, and much assure the liberty of the commerce and navigation
in the Sound and East-India countries, for the comfort and welfare of the people of England and the United Netherlands. Given this 7/17. of February, 1659/60.
At the council of state at Whitehall.
Tuesday, Feb. 7. 1659.
Vol. lxvii. p. 39.
That it be referred to Mr. Challoner, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Say, Mr. Bethell, Mr.
Barners, Mr. Love, Mr. Martin, Mr. Nevill, or any two of them, to consider of the
two papers this day delivered in by the Dutch embassador, as also of the paper delivered in
from the deputy of Denmark, and what is fit to be done in answer thereof; and to report
their opinion thereof to the council: and they are desired to meet at two of the clock tomorrow in the afternoon; and in the mean time Mr. Jessop is to make an abstract of the
Danish paper, and present it to the committee at their sitting.
W. Darell, cl. of the council.
The princess royal to the states general.
Vol. lxvii. p. 4.
Hauts & Puissants Seigneurs,
Je viens de recevoir la secunde lettre, qu'il a plu à V. S. de m'envoyer du 11a de ce mois,
avec ce nouveau memoire de Madame la princesse douagiere, ma belle-mere. Je suis
bien marrye de n'y pouvoir pas encore faire une response precise, parce que j'attens tousjours
ce qu'on m'en escrira de France, ou j'ay esté obligée d'avoir recours, estimant de ne pas rendre
un petit service au prince mon fils, que celuy de luy conserver les bonnes graces du roy
très Chrestien, puisque le principauté est enclavée au milieu de son royaume, comme aussi
croit faire la reyne Madame ma mere, en contribuant de son coté le credit, que sa naissance
luy peut donner dans cette cour, à fin que dite principauté demeure à mon fils, avec les
mesmes avantages & prerogatives, dont ont joui jusques à present ses predecesseurs. Ce
sont-là que toutes les considerations & les soins de sa dite majesté Madame ma mere, & les
miennes aboutissent, du quoy je puis asseurer vos seigneuries, & que je suis,
Hauts & Puissants Seigneurs,
Vostre très-affectionnée amie,
Brussels, le 18. Feb. 1660. [N. S.]
To the right honourable the council of state appointed by authority of parliament.
Vol. lxvii. p. 42.
The subscribed embassador of the lords the states general of the United Netherlands,
finding, that several men and ships belonging to several ports of this commonwealth,
do yet daily seize ships and goods belonging to subjects and inhabitants of the said United
Netherlands, and bring some of them up also in places of this commonwealth, findeth
himself obliged to represent again to their honours, beseeching, that without any further
delays a positive resolution and order may be taken to prevent such excess in the future;
and that the ships and goods so piratically taken may be restored to the true owners, and
especially a hoy, called the White Swan of Vleeland, the master, Peter Hansen Boy, laden
with wines and chesnuts, which hath been taken by that famous pirate captain Welch, with
a small frigat set forth out of Dunkirk, and brought up at Fowy in Cornwal, as is more fully
expressed in the annexed letter. Given this 9/19. Feb. 1659/60.
At the council of state at Whitehall.
Thursday, 9. February, 1659.
Vol. lxvii. p. 4.
Upon reading a paper from the lord embassador of the states of the United Netherlands, concerning a seizure of Dutch vessels by ships of this commonwealth, and particularly the White Swan of Vleeland, taken by captain Welch:
That the committee, formerly appointed to consider of the Dutch papers, do meet tomorrow in the afternoon at two of the clock, and prepare matter for a conference to be had
with the said embassador upon this and the former papers.
W. Jessop, cl. of the council.
Mr. Longland, agent at Leghorn, to secretary Thurloe.
Vol. lxiii. p. 126.
Seing the tymes at hom ar so ful of changes, your honour has bin very prudent in
sequestring yourself from publik bisnes. Somtymes 'tis better to be a spectator than
an actor. Althoh this last scene has bin tumultuous, and ful of troubles; yet, God be
thanked, ther has bin no bloudshed. By this tyme my lord Fleetwood and my lord Desborow may have seen theyr errour in pulling down that government and familly, which
had bin a sure shield and buckler for their own greatnes, as also for the liberty and safety of
the whole nation; but that action wil be repented of at leysure.
Althoh thos places in the duchy of Millan taken by the French in thes warrs ar restored
to the Spaniards; yet 'tis believ'd by most in Itally, that the peace is neither cordial nor
durable; but that each party does alredy begin to seek advantages against the other. I do
believ, if the government wer settled at home, England might hav very good conditions
of peace from Spain, and keep Donkirk stil. But if our state has an inclination to part
with Donkirk, I wish they would exchange it for Oran, a port of the Spaniards on the
coast of Barbary near Argier, whereof the Spaniard makes no use at al; but to the Inglish
it would be very advantageous for many occasions, which I hav formerly hinted unto your
honour. We understand the Duch are sending a fleet into thes seas, consisting of 16 in
20 sail of men of war, and supposed, their design is to destroy the Algier men of war. I
lately met with a book here, cal'd the Antiquity of Toscany, which is collected out of
papers hid under ground abov seventeen hundred yeares, now latly found and publish'd,
which being ful of very ancient curiosityes, I thoht it might be worth your honour's view.
Wherfor I hav desyred my kinsman Mr. Parker to send you a book, the rather it being
so suitable with the present state of our country; for kingly government was expell'd
thence, and a commonwealth setled with much pollicy and prudency about the tyme of the
Trojan war, in which state they continued about 800 yeares, til they wer subdued by the
Romans. The citty, so often named Volterra, is stil extant within 25 myles of this place,
upon an exceeding high hil, which this author shewes to be built by Noah. If I er in
troubling your more serious thohts with this book, pray attribut it to the respects I owe,
and the great esteem your wisdom and prudency has gained you with al men, especially
Your most faithful servant,
Leghorn, 13. Feb. 1659.
Extract of letters delivered to Mr. Love, &c. at a conference, February 14. 1659. with the lord embassador Nieupoort.
East Cowes, February 8. 1659.
Vol. lxvii. p. 19.
I Have not written to you of late; but now, having this special opportunity, things
lying so, I thought good to give you notice, that so you may represent it to the embassador, as things worth his taking notice of; and if not speedily remedied, will turn very
prejudicial to that state, and not beneficial to ours, only to some particular men, which
are takers and buyers; one under colour of a Swedish commission, which is indeed but a
copy bought from another man; the other under colour of buying from the schippers at a
supposed small rate, both which are very prejudicial, and will be more, if not speedily
prevented. For if this compounding for and buying of ships be permitted, you will
have here the sea full of Swedes commissions, (which is indeed but a copy that is here)
and also of Portugal commissions. For no sooner is a ship taken, but one or other is buying of her, under pretence for the schipper; and small vessels will be set out, which need
not go far to sea to take prizes, money being so ready for them; which is a great encouragement. For I hear, in the west country, some open boats are out only with nine men in
them, moneys being so easily had for what they can catch. This man, Mr. John London, having already taken three or four, and compounded with all of them, one of them
being here in this harbour, brought in the last night laden with wines and brandy, as they
say. I think in my judgment a good course would be to send down a special warrant, to
arrest the ship, the man of war, Mr. John London, and the pretended captain, which is
a Frenchman, and the prize in the name of the owners, or my lord embassador. Her
name I know not, neither can I inquire her at present, the post being ready to go; but
by the next you may expect it. But send down the warrant, before the ship be disposed
of, and the frigate gone to sea, to do more mischief. There is also a states man of war
with a fleet under his convoy, of Amsterdam, named Gillis Matysen Campen. In his
voyage from Rochelle he hath retaken a ship, which was taken by a French man of war;
and here are also pretended buyers of the ship, and much diligence is used to get the ship
from him. They have also sent to London for a warrant to arrest the ship; so that I
have advised the captain to wait, and go out of command, which he is now doing, as also
to use force against all men, that shall by violence come aboard to make arrest upon the
said ship. God send peace, and more trade, or else we are all undone, and must of
necessity turn men of rogues, &c.
Extract of a letter written at Cowes in the isle of Wight, the 8th of February, 1659.
Vol. lxvii. p. 17.
I Could not but salute you with these few lines. By my former I did let you know of
a man of war, that was set out here by John London, who hath taken four Dutchmen: one of them he hath at present brought into this harbour loaden with brandy and
Graveswyne. The schipper's name is John Johnssen Leo, of Flushinge. If there be not a
present course taken with these, many more will be presently set out. The man of war
hath a Swedish commission. The chief actor, Mr. John London, is at present in the city
of London. If he can or may be found, and laid up, and an order sent down to arrest
the prize man of war, and captain, by what name soever he shall be called, because every
day they change the name of their captain, and master, it will do well in this business.
Extract of a letter written at East Cowes, 10th February, 1659.
Vol. lxvii. p. 18.
In my last unto you I did advise you the state of buissnes here as to the manne of warre.
And now here inclosed I send you a letter to the lord ambassador from the captaine.
I suppose, if my lord ambassador move the supreme authority, that some course may be
taken with our frigate for the suppressing of such men. Therewithall I send you the
names of such men as he hath taken. Marin Pieterssen, of Flushinge, sould at Garnsey
for 5000 gilders, as I am informed; Diriek Diricxen Leake forced ashore and plundered,
and the ship beate in peices. A galiot hoy taken and sold at Falmouth for 1500 gilders.
Jan Janssen Leeun, of Flushinge taken, and remaining here in the harbour, and, as they
say, sold for 7000 gilders. So, with my best respect to you, I rest, &c.
At the council of state at Whitehall.
Tuesday, February 14. 1659.
Vol. lxvii. p. 54.
Mr. Love makes report, that according to the council's order he and Mr. Challoner had
a conference this day with the lord Nieupoort, embassador from the states general;
and that they received from him several extracts of letters concerning Dutch ships taken
by one captain London, on pretence of a Swedish commission, and sold in the ports of
this commonwealth. Ordered, that the same be referred to the committee of the council,
to whom the former papers exhibited by the said embassador are referred, who are desired
to consider of the whole affair, and to confer with the lord embassador thereupon, and
particularly upon the articles and proclamation for preventing of piracies, and to report
their opinion to the council with the first oportunity.
W. Jessop, clerk of the council.
A letter of intelligence from the Hague.
Samedy, le 21. Febr. 1660. [N. S.]
Vol. lxvii. p. 50.
La Hollande a avisé, qu'il sera à propos de faire au sieur Friquet ministre de sa M. Imperiale une response sur son dernier memoire, en termes fort civils; ainsi toutefois, que
l'estat ne soit point engagé par-là en ce qu'il desire.
Copie de la creance du sieur Downing envoye extraordinaire d'Angleterre a esté veue; et
est resolu, qu' à la veue de l'original d'icelle creance, on luy donnera audience; mais il ne
se haste pas encore.
Pour la ville de Munster estant fait une nouvelle petition de 10 à 12 mille ryxdalers, et
cela presenté à la Hollande, alle là simplement overgenoomen.
Lundy, 23. dito.
Le sieur ambassadeur de France a notifié, que la paix avec l'Espagne est publiée, quoyque
l'on n'en sache pas encore tout le contenu. Puis a parlé de la paix au Nort; en a recommendé l'avancement; et qu'icelle faite, celle d'avec Boloigne suivroit bien; et que pour
cela on veuille venir en conference avec le sieur Downing, et luy pour achever la paix de
Roschild, et sans cela, que la France employeroit les moyens, que Dieu et la nature luy
auroit donné, &c. L'on a authorizé les deputés pour examiner cecy, et en faire rapport.
Bref, ce que dit l'ambassadeur de France, ne convient pas avec ce que la Maire a escrit,
ny avec ce que le sieur Friquet a dit.
La Hollande a avisé touchant Munster, qu'en doive préallablement escrire à l'evesque.
La Hollande a recommendé l'equipage de 48 navires, ce que la Zelande a overgenoomen.
Des 20,000 ou 29,000 ryxdalers pour la garnison de Copenhagen, n'a pas esté rien dit
Sur un memoire du resident de Groot sera encore escrit aux estat d'Ostsrise de venir icy
sur l'affaire de la defension.
Mardy, le 24. dito.
Le sieur Downing a fait sa proposition en Anglois, toutefois l'a donné en Francois un
peu plus au gré de l'auditoire, comme insistant encore sur les concerts (h. e.) conventions
de l'année passée. Toutefois on auroit bien aussi desiré, qu'il auroit fait mention de la
paix en Prussie; cependant aura esté dit, que pas un membre de Hollande ne voudra escouter ou prester l'oreille à traiter icy, ains qu'il faille achever en Dennemarc; à quoy aussi
les deputés de cest estat en Dennemarc par l'ordinaire d'aujourd'huy ont donnée asses bonne
L'on a fait dispute, et debatté l'affaire de l'equipage des 48 navires; ceux de Hollande
le veulent faire sur le last et reilgelt. Ceux de Zelande veulent introduire les præmia et les
Vers la princesse royale sont deputés les sieurs de Wimmenum et d'Amerongen le cas
L'on aura resolu touchant Portugal de ne traiter, que sur le sondement de l'instruction,
que porterent les sieurs ten Hose et de Witt il y a deux ans.
Mecredy, le 25. dito.
Cest après diner s'acheveroit de former et arrester l'instruction pour les sieurs de Wimmenum et d'Amerongen, à trouver la princesse royale. Pour le personnage, qui iroit vers le
roy de France, on l'a remis à la disposition de la princesse douariere. Mais à bien considerer la lettre de la princesse royale, c'est celle-cy, qu'il croit affectionner mieux le bien
de son fils que celle-là.
La Zelande a faite instance touchant la response, qu'on donnera à l'ambassadeur de
L'on se tient piqué de passage dans la proposition du sieur Downing, ou il parle de tel
roy des roys du Nort, qui a adheré à cest estat en la guerre d'Angleterre, reconnoissant bien,
que c'est une retorsion sur ce qui est dit dans la response donnée au sieur Cojet, que la Suede
n'a pas adherée à cest estat durant la dite guerre.
Jeudy, le 26. dito.
L'ambassadeur de France a presenté un memoire cy-joynte en faveur du sieur Morus.
Quant au different entre les princesses d'Orange, il se fait ouverture d'accorde, la royale
offrant de ne vouloir pas avoir le lord Jermyn; et la douariere offre de rapeller le comte de
Dona; si que le sieur Gent, Swaneborg, et Stavenisse iront voir la princesse douariere, pour
favoir, si encore elle desire le voyage de sieur de Wimmenum et d'Amerongen.
Touchant Munster, sont arrestées des lettres à l'evesque; mais il sera encore parlé aux
deputés du conseil d'estat.
La dispute d'entre la Hollande et Zelande n'est pas encore finie touchant le last et veylgelt,
et les premies des cruyssers.
Des affaires du Nort, ny des propositions de François et Anglois, ne se parle pas encore.
Vendredy, 27. dito.
L'on a encore eu beaucoup de debat touchant l'equipage de 48 navires; mais encore
sans conclusion. Ceux de Zelande l'attachent tousjours à leurs cruyssers; qu'ils veulent
avoir mis en mer. L'on ecrivra aux admirautés pour venir icy là-dessus.
Il y a eu un memoire du sieur ministre d'Espagne, pour et sur l'interim d'Outre-Meuse.
Quant au sieur Cojet, l'on a mis son memoire entre les mains des deputés pour ces
affaires, sans aucune apparence de venir avec luy en conference.
A paper of the Swedish commissioners to the most illustrious council of state of England. Most humbly.
Vol. lxiii. p. 27.
Most Illustrious and most Excellent Lords,
It cannot seem improper for us to recall into the memories of this honourable council, with
how great care and circumspection from the very beginning of the friendship happily
closing between the two kingdoms, it was provided, that no remora or scruple at all
might remain hereafter in minds so well reconciled. For whereas our subjects complained,
that they were not equally dealt with, and rewarded for the good offices done to this most
most glorious commonwealth in the late war betwixt England and the Netherlands by the
command of our crown, which even then did exceedingly favour the advantages of England, whilst that very many of their ships of most huge value, some bound directly hither,
others following, as their business and convenience led them, according to the law of
nations, the harmless freedom of commerce through those seas, were by the men of war
of this state in hostile manner taken, ransacked, most notoriously misused, and to the
irreparable damage of their affairs detained half a year for the most part, nay some, one, two,
or three years longer, insomuch as neither yet are they all restored, although long since absolved by the sentences of the judges after an hearing on both sides, the rest being in the
mean time after the aforesaid vexations set free slowly, upon the continual supplications of
our ministers both ordinary and extraordinary sent hither ever and anon to that purpose: For
this cause, I say, and presently in the first consederacy made betwixt these kingdoms four
years since at Upsall, after it was abundantly provided against all injuries hereafter to be
feared from the subjects of each state, to wit, that the authors of such injuries, unless upon
admonition they amended their fault, should be accounted as public enemies, and being
delivered up into the power of the commonwealth, beside a just and plenary satisfaction to
be made, should be most deservedly punished immediately after, and even in the same
paragraph the restitution of ships comes next to that former caution; and satisfaction as soon
as possible, and without delay, to be made to the party aggrieved for loss and damages lost
and received in the said war; which satisfaction is tied into the restitution by the copula
tive particle, as not to be divided from it, and necessary following. And afterward in the
second confederacy renewed with our embassador a year and a half ago at Westminster,
whereas for the most part satisfaction was given as to the first part of the former agreement
concerning the restitution of the ships, that which remained behind, to wit, the making good
of damages sustained upon that occasion, was more articulately concluded and determined.
That three commissioners constituted on both sides, consulting together thereupon, should
make an estimate and indifferent judgment of those things, that (which only was intended,
and which both parts most desired; they are the very words of the confederacy) satisfaction might be given to the party injured according to what is good and right, 2. Summarily; 3. Without any appeal; 4. Without forms of law; 5. Without delay; 6. Fully and
really. Excellent words indeed, and conditions most proper for increasing of mutual good will
betwixt friends and confederate states. Hither therefore, most illustrious lords, (which hath
been the cause of so large a repetition) we have desired, that your commissioners deputed
according to the confederacy for this purpose might be called as to the very aim of their
commission, from which, as we have by ours understood, when whether by mistake, or on
set purpose, they swerved something far indeed, modestly had their recourse to your most
illustrious judgment, though to the very great detriment of our affairs, as who do reckon
not only days, but even hours, and daily buy that hope at a very high rate. And
whereas the streightness of our term can scarce suffer the loss of one day, they indulge to
themselves some weeks, that because this commission is now protracted unto a second year,
they may seem to put years instead of months, or to be willing to do so; which they
neither ought nor had need to do, if they had stuck to the forementioned conditions with
that sincerity, which is fitting, and had sufficiently put off those personages, which heretofore they acted, while they pleaded privately those causes in private judicature, whereas
now they bear the public character of performers of covenants solemnly agreed upon betwixt
two most friendly kingdoms. Which nature verily those causes have so far taken upon
them for the reasons before alleged, that they neither can nor ought any longer to be
accounted as private business; whence they might easily have gathered, that no other
answer would be given them by this most illustrious council, as neither indeed could there be
given any other, than that which is conformable to the most express words of the confederacies, and unto their own decree. But they, (as we have heard) though much against the
will of law and right, have a mind, that the sentences heretofore given in the causes of those
ships should be placed as the rule of their commission; and because that were tolerable,
they desire so far to extend them beyond their nature, that because those sentences pronounce
the ships to have been detained upon just cause, that therefore they neither think, that those,
which are to be restored ought to be restored, although already freed by those same instances,
and are so far from allowing any thing to our men by the way of interest for the ships already
restored, that they pretend that even the lucrum cessans, or gain, which might have been
made by detaining them wholly there, may with justice be exacted from us; unto which
end it is said, that a paper is offered already of contrary damages by an unheard of
example, pretended upon our very own ships, which are already freed, which in earnest
it is wonderful how it could ever enter into the minds of men endowed with so much prudence and experience (as their other actions witness). For although the authority of things
once judged be very great, yet were they never of so great moment, that they could prejudice any after-covenant or transaction whatsoever, although made amongst the most
private persons; but rather they receive their limitation from that which follows according to the very order of nature, which requires, as it is in a most known canon, that the
latter law should derogate or take off from the former. Much less therefore can any
former private sentences detract from a law so public, and so solemnly conceived; for
whereas this doth bind the kingdoms themselves, it ought deservedly to be more valued
than all the laws in the code of Justinian, especially seeing it doth explain our business
more particularly, and expresly injoins satisfaction of charges and of damages received.
Concerning which again is that frequent maxim of law, that special laws do derogate
or take off the authority of laws general. What need we therefore conjectures in a thing so
evident ? For whereas they say, that if our people had desired any thing further than the
restoring of their ships, they should have put in their appeal, seeing in those sentences no mention is made of satisfaction of charges, by their leave, it is sufficient, that such satisfaction
is not there denied, seeing by equal reason even thereupon it seems included. For that
argument is very strong in law, which is called and taken from the contrary sense. And
besides, that indeed was a very good and sufficient appeal, which both our ministers then here
made unto your most illustrious council. As to which the examining of these things properly belonged, and that which our subjects worn out with charges and vexatious suits
made to our king himself upon that occasion, who also most deservedly took into our
consideration those their just complaints in the making up of the confederacy with his most
serene highness, so that they both did therein give an ultimate and most definitive sentence
in this affair, concerning which so much as to dispute, is in the law called sacrilege. But
besides, we shall prove, that the very sentences themselves do not very much favour this
their opinion. For let us grant, that they all lean upon this clause, that they were detained upon just cause: We do not dispute that justice, what or how great soever it was;
but cannot two just things concur and oppose one another? and hath not that, which is just,
the appearance of unjust in respect of that, which is more just ? In which almost the whole practice of lawyers consists. For seldom do men come to decide betwixt what is just and unjust,
which even the unlearned can do; but of two just things, which is the most just; of two unjust
things, which is the most unjust. Therefore, if they were detained upon a just cause, whether
shall they not seem released upon a cause more just ? for otherwise they would not have been
restored. For, if they say, that they were unjustly restored, and that they would have the sentences so far repealed, they are not to be heard, because beside an unworthy counting of what
they did themselves, they desire to have those things recalled, which long since have past over
into the nature of a thing judged and decided; which in a law is accounted impossible:
so that it cannot be believed, that these things are said in earnest, unless it be done for
protraction of time, and wearying out the patience of our men. They do better, who say,
that the restitution of ships was not made according to the highest rigour of the law, which
is often called the highest injustice, but according to what is good and equitable. For they
indeed express the very nature of the business. For the emperors do admonish, that in
all things more consideration is to be had of equity and justice than of strict law, 1. 8. c.
de judiciis; where (which deserves much notice) justice is diametrically opposed to strict
law. And this, if at any time, is certainly most true in those judgments and contracts
bonæ fidei, as they call them, that is, upon confidence of the honesty of each party; wherein,
as the lawyer saith, it is unfitting to dispute concerning the titles of law; and among such
kind of contracts society hath even the highest place, which, as Ulpian saith, hath a certain resemblance of brotherhood. But what are public confederacies, but the ties and societies
of kingdoms, what but a most brotherly brotherhood? Wherefore, seeing in all things it
is first inquired what is done before what is law, because the consent of the contractors
gives law to the contracts, and their meaning is preferred before all subtilty of words, nay
before the writings themselves; seeing, as it is usually said, laws are written, not in words,
but in things; that form most prudently by you prescribed for the handling of those causes,
that they should be finished according to that, which is good and equitable without the
fashions of law, because you say, that both parties do chiefly desire it, is by us respected
and venerated as the public law of the nations, and in it we all of us do with very much
reason rest satisfied. For, that we may add this one thing, if equity persuaded the
restoring of the ships, shall not the same persuade to repay the charges, when those two
points are inseparably conjoined, that he who denies the one, seemeth to deny both of
them? But what private person shall dare to divide and separate those things, which the
kingdoms themselves have solemnly joined together, when neither is it lawful for either
of the kingdoms so to do it against the consent of the other? Insomuch that absolutely
either this must be stood to, or else the intention of our princes must be made elusory or
deceitful, the very thought of any such thing being, as we believe, punishable, and coming
within the reach of treason. Therefore we do again and again desire, that those very honest
men may be admonished of that public office, which they bear herein, that they may
not confound it with private brabbles, or cast in such anxious scruples of law into a most
clear cause abounding with good belief, and so weary themselves and us with fruitless
labour; but that they would only intend this, which the confederacy saith, that both parts
do intend. And we do so much more earnestly now request it, by how much the loss of
most precious time is more expensive to us, who in the multiplied charges of so many
years have almost spent more upon this business, than can be hoped from it. And it
had been much better for very many of our men, reduced to extreme poverty in this time,
if they had known this from the beginning, which is now spoken. Although we for all
that do never more despair of the high equity of our causes, that notwithstanding does
with reason afflict us; that whereas now the time of the second agreement is almost slipt
away, we are yet sticking in the very beginnings of the business; so that if we be obliged
to agree the third time upon a new term, verily we are afraid, left the world should think
we do but jest in a thing so earnest, and that we had a mind with such laborious machinations to effect nothing. The most perfect judgment of this most illustrious council, and their
zeal so often shewn for the conservation and increasing of the Swedish amity, do in no
case suffer us to doubt, but that you will praise us this piety with which we do prosecute
the common business of both kingdoms, and especially this affair of so great moment. And
though otherwise we are even confident, that your illustriousnesses would do all these things
upon your own accord, notwithstanding the matter seemed to us of such moment, that we
also thought it necessary to satisfy ourselves thus far in disburdening our own consciences.
We consecrate our senses to you most devoutly. From our lodgings, 7th January, 1659/60.
Your most illustrious Lordships
Most humble servants,