157. Anzolo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen of England, with her own hand, has written to
Cardinal Barberino, lamenting the present unhappy state of the
kingdom and her husband, and begging hard for a loan of 500,000
crowns, under the plea that the Catholic Faith, protected from
that quarter, will derive great benefits. But although the request
is supported by honour and justice, it is not thought that they
will listen to it here.
In these same troublesome disturbances in England Rosetti,
the agent of Cardinal Barberino, has been greatly helped and
protected by the Ambassador Zustignano, and His Eminence
has sent on purpose to thank me and to express his gratitude to
Rome, the 2nd February, 1641.
158. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
Although the king's delegates have laboured with all solicitude
over the negotiations for an agreement with those of Scotland,
the completion of the business remains more doubtful than ever.
Many suspect that the written demand for a great sum of money,
to which the Scots stand firm, is to prevent a conclusion, and some
of the less prejudiced among the parliamentarians are now hinting
that the most secret aims of the enemy are to keep possession of
the occupied country under this pretext, and to await some
favourable opportunity for a further inroad into this kingdom.
The Scottish Commissioners, on their side, are doing their
utmost to dissipate this idea, and to justify their requests they
have presented a detailed note of the losses suffered. They
propose insidiously that the compensation shall be allotted upon
the goods of the Catholics and of the bishops, pointing to both of
them as the sole authors of the present movements.
Courteous but general replies have been given to their requests,
and the majority of the parliamentarians incline to offer them
1,800,000 ducats, which is a third of what they claim.
While the negotiations remain stationary, the Scots, besides
the excellent fortifications they have made at Newcastle and
Durham, places of consequence, have assembled nearly 20,000
men, who are ready at the frontiers only awaiting orders from
General Leslie to join the main body of the army. This increases
suspicion about their sincerity, and if time and their actions
should make it advisable to force them to dislodge from their
quarters in England, the task will be no light one and will involve
serious difficulty and danger.
While they are discussing suitable means for moderating the
authority of the bishops, a thousand preachers have suddenly
appeared before parliament, who orally and in writing have
petitioned that this hierarchy may be altogether removed from
the Anglican Church, arguing that bishops are no less contrary
to the doctrine of Calvin than harmful to the public liberty.
The memorial was accepted with a considerable leaning to embrace
the proposal. When His Majesty heard of this and fearing hurtful
decisions, he summoned all the members before him on Saturday
and in a serious speech warned them not to pursue the business.
He declared boldly that he would never consent ; that he meant to
preserve without any alteration the religion which he had sworn
to God and promised to the people at his accession. He took the
opportunity to make known his just resentment at the bill for
the assembling of parliament every three years, declaring frankly
that nothing would persuade him to ratify it, as he was determined
not to despoil himself of the prerogative to convoke it when he
pleased, which all his predecessors had always exercised, without
contradiction. The members made no reply to this vigorous
speech of His Majesty, and every one is watching with curiosity
to see what effect it will have upon them, as they are trying in
every way to introduce innovations hurtful to the monarchy and
to the king himself, whose authority languishes more and more
amid all these agitations.
They do not relax the greatest severity against the Catholics.
A religious of high character (di gran bonta) and a very good man,
being convicted of being a priest, was sentenced to death last
week. The queen interposed her merciful offices with her husband
for his release, and promptly obtained the favour. (fn. 1) When the
parliament and the city learned this they both had recourse to
the king, to permit the sentence to be carried out, or else they
assured him of the offence his people would take and that they
would not grant him any subsidy in the future. They also
threatened the queen with greater ills. But His Majesty, though
impressed by this unmeasured violence, abides by his decision,
with urbanity, and tries by calm reasoning to make this people
understand the reasons for his act of clemency. To satisfy his
subjects he proposes to exile the priest for ever and to oblige all
the others to leave this kingdom immediately under most severe
penalties. But so far these liberal offers have not sufficed to
quiet the uproar, and it is feared that the priest will eventually
come to the butcher's knife. An example of the worst consequence,
entirely depriving the king here of his ancient prerogative
of sparing the life of convicted persons and thus shutting
out hope of favour for the two favourites, the Lieutenant of
Ireland and the Archbishop of Canterbury, for whose blood this
infuriated people seems to thirst fiercely.
London, the 8th February, 1641.
159. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Marquis of la Wieuville came to this house last week.
After expressing his devotion to the Senate he told me that his
eldest son, who has served for some time under the Prince of
Orange, where he has given proof of his courage and gained experience,
desires now to serve your Excellencies. (fn. 2) He begged me
to report this. He dilated on the matter so much as to lead me to
believe that the auspices promised him great riches if you accept
the proposal. I replied courteously, but in general terms.
The Dutch ambassadors are having long conferences with His
Majestys' commissioners, and they announce that the marriage
with the elder princess is quite settled, although there remains
some difficulty about the time when she shall be taken to Holland.
The Prince of Orange urges strongly that the bride shall return
with his son, who is expected at this Court in a few weeks, but
His Majesty does not seem inclined to this, only when his daughter
is of marriageable age. So fresh impediments may rise to prevent
the conclusion of this marriage also, diminishing to that extent
His Majesty's first hopes that the interposition of the United
Provinces would induce his subjects to return to their duty.
They are giving up the negotiation for an alliance and announce
that they wish to invite the Most Christian also. Few people
believe here that they will accept the proposal for an offensive
one, and it is probable that it will be simply defensive, as this
crown is at present incapable of supporting fresh external burdens.
Meanwhile there is a report that in the event of His Majesty
settling his differences with his people, the ambassadors will try
to get a portion of the troops here granted to the Palatine, or at
least obtain permission for the States to take them into their
Orders have at last reached the Catholic ambassadors extraordinary
to proceed to Flanders. They will do so in a few days,
leaving the affairs of the king their master here in the same state
as, or perhaps worse than they found them.
The queen mother has sent one of her gentlemen to France with
letters to the king and Cardinal Richelieu, informing them of her
wretched surroundings and begging for some help. (fn. 3)
London, the 8th February, 1641.
160. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the
Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
On Thursday evening an extraordinary from England brought
news here of the establishment of the marriage with the eldest
daughter of the king there thus affording the Prince of Orange
complete and perfect satisfaction. The news was received at the
Court with prodigious rejoicing and with the applause of the
whole community. The ambassadors write that at a special
audience of his Majesty on Monday the 28th they asked the king
and queen for the hand of the Princess Mary, the eldest daughter.
The king consented readily. The ambassadors, overcome with
joy. thanked his Majesty and immediately left the royal apartment.
In the antechamber, where a large crowd had collected
out of curiosity, they themselves made known the news and
shouted first, the announcement being taken up immediately with
great satisfaction and spread everywhere. They delayed sending
the news until Saturday, the 2nd inst. in order that they might
be able to fix the day for the young prince to go to England and
so as to have the conditions of the contract, in which they wished
to insert a new alliance between England and the States. The
Prince of Orange, for very sound reasons, does not seem very
eager about this at present, and would prefer that the two
treaties should be negotiated separately, especially as France
seems to be very jealous both of the marriage and of the alliance.
Nevertheless he will accept all the conditions that the king of
England may desire. He has already gained the chief advantage
in getting the eldest daughter, which opens the way to the succession
to the crown.
The Hague, the 11th February, 1641.
161. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to
the Doge and Senate.
Great consternation has been caused by the news that the
royal army at Barcelona has been repulsed with great loss.
Through an understanding with some nobles of the town they
hoped to enter one of the gates and take the place at their ease.
The Catalans fell upon them as they were approaching carelessly
and inflicted great slaughter. Many leading men have been
killed, including the Duke of San Giorgio and the Irish Earl of
Tyrone, who commanded a regiment. (fn. 4) The Catalans have taken
In orders to meet the offices of the Duke of Braganza with the
King of Morocco they are about to send an English gentleman
from here with letters and commissions from his Majesty. (fn. 5)
Madrid, the 13th February, 1640. [M.V.]
162. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
After the Dutch ambassadors had arranged the marriage terms
with the royal commissioners they are at present trying very hard
to get the king to reduce to six months the term of two years
which he asks before the bride proceeds to Holland. They have
made strong representations this week to His Majesty and the
queen separately, but only obtained general politeness, though
it was intimated through the commissioners that if this request
was brought forward at the arrival of the prince they might hope
for success, as their Majesties wished to reserve any favours they
had to grant for the request of the bridegroom himself.
The ambassadors do not express themselves as satisfied with
these doubtful statements and press for greater securities, being
suspicious, as are many from past experiences, that His Majesty
may be merely using this marriage as a support in his present
falling fortunes, that there were various reservations to be
supposed from the first objections and that he will search about
for pretexts in the course of time sufficient to cause the matter
to fall through, without compromising his own reputation, and
it is in any case subject to the course of events (ingelositi come
sono molti che resasi con l' esperienze avertita Sua Maesta, che non
habbia questo accasamento a ralere di quel forte appoggio alle
presenti fortune sue cadenti, che s' era presupposto internamente
mediti concetti dalli primi contrarii e vadi mendicando pretesti dal
tempo atti a far cadere senza impegno della propria riputatione
gli effetti di questa prattica, la quale sta sottoposta tuttavia alla
contingenza de' successi).
If the ambassadors cannot obtain more they propose to send
one of their gentlemen to the Prince of Orange with a clear account
of the state of the affair, so that he may act as he thinks most
The marriage articles are on the same lines as those of the
Princess Palatine, with respect to the dowry, the super dowry of
40,000l., the bride's allowance and everything else. Nothing is
said just now about the alliance and the matter remains as it was ;
but there is a report that they will only ratify the defensive
treaty signed at Southampton years ago and which terminated
Despite the king's determined declaration both houses of
parliament have voted the law that parliament shall meet every
three years in the future. If the king fails the lord keeper is to
act for himself, and if he fails any ten lords have the power.
If none of these act then the sheriffs of the towns, who are the
leaders of the people, are to order the election of the members.
With such safeguards the king or his successors will not be able
to avoid submitting every third year to the indiscrete censure
of parliament all the actions of themselves and their ministers
as well. The condition is hard, depriving His Majesty of his
pre-eminent claims to the respect of his subjects and leaving him
incapable of taking any important decision whatever of himself.
About the bishops, however, the parliamentarians waver to
and fro, as many of them do not agree to the entire abolition of
this ancient order of the Anglican Church ; so it is thought that
they will only be reduced in numbers, their revenues cut down
and diverted to more useful employments, and the privilege of
sitting in parliament taken away. Without these votes the royal
party in the future will be unable to counterbalance those who,
cloaking their private passions under the mantle of public liberty,
not only attempt to rob their natural prince of the obedience due
to him, but to deprive God Himself of his attributes.
On Saturday in last week parliament went to the king and by
the mouth of the Lord Keeper strongly urged their petition, that
to appease the universal uproar he would allow the carrying out,
of the sentence against the priest condemned to death, or refer
it to the decision of parliament ; that the laws enacted against the
Catholics in the time of Queen Elizabeth should be fully carried
out ; and that he should no longer connive at the sojourn at this
Court of a minister of the pope. The king heard them attentively
and asked time for his answer. He afterwards held long consultations
in which more consideration was paid to the deplorable
state of the times than to the temerity of the people, with the
idea of satisfying them. Yesterday the king sent for the parliament
and told them that he wished to give the people prompt
satisfaction, and put the cause of the priest freely in their hands
while he granted them the execution of the old laws against the
Catholics. He could not refrain, however, from begging the
members to show clemency to the one and moderation towards
the others pointing out that since there were many English in
the states of Catholic princes, rigour exercised against Catholicism
here might induce a like severity against the Protestants in
With regard to the pope's minister he said that by virtue of
the marriage treaty with France the queen was to enjoy the free
exercise of her religion, and it was necessary to have some one
near her to keep up her private relations with the head of her
Church. He would not meddle with anything but the household
of his wife only and so he begged his people to allow it and not
give the queen occasion for dissatisfaction by a refusal. He
promised that if this individual did not keep within the limits, he
would not be tolerated. To give the impression that he was
opposed to the Catholic faith the king assured them that he would
see to it that the chapel of the queen and those of the ambassadors
were not frequented by Englishmen.
With these answers the parliamentarians left His Majesty, and
now it remains to be seen if these suave expressions, drawn from
the king's extreme necessity, will suffice to check the career of
licence or whether it will open the door wider to more audacious
After many discussions they have finally decided to make a
positive proposal to the Scots to pay them 1,800,000 ducats in
three years giving security for the payment, on condition that
they withdraw their troops from the country without further
delay. Time will show if this offer will satisfy them. Few expect
it, and the idea is encouraged that it will be necessary to take up
For some weeks reports have been circulating that the queen,
for the sake of her health which suffers considerably from the
dampness of this climate, has decided to cross to France and stay
there a whole year. She has been so busy lately with her preparations
as to shake the doubts of those who know the insuperable
difficulties in the way of such action ; but the object of the
reports has not yet transpired.
News arrived yesterday from the island of Giarnese that the
Duke of Vendome had arrived there, a fugitive from France.
At the same time an express courier reached the Secretary of
the Most Christian here. It is not known what orders he
brought. (fn. 6)
London, the 15th February, 1641.
163. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to
the Doge and Senate.
The Queen of England, having need of her native air to restore
her health, has sent word that she believes she will have to come
to France. This may be true or merely a pretext to escape from
some danger with which she may be threatened in the disturbances
of England. The king is prepared to receive her with equal joy
in either case, and has sent word that she may come when she
Sciatu, the 19th February, 1641.
164. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Eng-England,
to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty informed parliament yesterday of the marriage
arranged between the princess here and the Prince of Orange's son,
with expressions of friendly confidence. He explained that before
proceeding further with the matter he would not omit to communicate
it to his subjects, to learn their pleasure and loyal
opinion. He stated that the chief motives which induced him to
embrace the proposal were that of joining his daughter to a
prince of her own faith, of establishing by this means a defensive
alliance between this crown and the United Provinces, and to
facilitate the success of an offensive one for the restoration of his
nephew the Palatine by force or arms, and thereby the reputation
of England, so deeply interested in the fortunes of that house.
The terms of the marriage and the proposals for the alliance
would be shown them by his order, by the Earl of Arundel, the
Earl Marshal, to be inspected. He warned them that the negotiations
for an offensive alliance required mature consideration,
as well as time for elaboration, since many princes were to be
invited, of Germany in particular. He therefore asked the
members to apply themselves sincerely to provide the means for
the satisfactory carrying out of all that has been agreed.
The speech of the king met with an entirely favourable reception
though it was a step never taken by any of his predecessors.
Politically minded persons are inclined to believe that by this
tactful office the king designed to open the way for the Dutch
ambassadors to negotiate with the parliamentarians, to persuade
them against the harmful reforms begun in the government of
this monarchy, and to bring them back to their duty to him,
which is the sole aim of all his present actions. Whether these
efforts will produce the results which he expects is a matter for
time and the course of events to resolve.
The parliamentarians show themselves more intent than ever
to pursue with vigour the very extensive designs which they have
taken in hand. Chief among these is the infliction of the extreme
penalty upon the Lieutenant of Ireland, the salvation of whom
troubles the king more than anything else, so that he is prepared
to run the greatest risks to preserve his life. Meanwhile the
ambassadors express particular satisfaction at these new declarations
about the marriage, as they rightly consider them a sufficient
pledge to oblige His Majesty to carry out his promises. They
have sent one of their gentlemen to Holland with a full account
of all that has happened so far, and they announce that the bridegroom
prince will soon come here. The project of the alliance and
of the marriage will only be presented in parliament today by
the Earl of Arundel, and so I am not able to report on it this week,
though I will do so next. Many still firmly believe that the
proposals for an offensive alliance will not go forward to a conclusion.
Parliament has informed the Scottish Commissioners through
the delegates, of the decision to pay them the 300,000l. in compensation
for their losses. Without making a formal reply they
expressed entire satisfaction, both orally and in writing, with the
more applause among the whole nation because it was doubted
whether the sum was enough to satisfy them. The suspicion
about the sincerity of their aims being thus dissipated they have
prolonged the truce for another three months, as the people here
are anxious not to oblige their forces to withdraw before the king
has confirmed all the laws which are to be passed by this parliament.
Since His Majesty's speech to the parliamentarians about the
priest condemned to death and the other Catholics of the realm,
the queen has sent one of her gentlemen (fn. 7) to parliament to bear
witness to her desire to give satisfaction to the people, promising
not to protect any priests in the future except those of her own
chapel, and that within a brief space she will send away the
pope's minister. That individual who thought that his removal
was out of the question, is now actively preparing for it, to the
alarm of the Catholics, who fear that the most severe persecution
is inevitable. Yet the priest is still in prison and it is said that
the death sentence will be remitted by parliament for one of
perpetual exile. This shows that it was not religious zeal but a
contumacious desire to deprive their prince of the use of his
authority which was the real motive for the recent outcry.
The Spanish Ambassadors have taken leave of the king privately,
without the usual ceremony. They are only waiting for the
customary present before starting for the coast. It will be the
sole mark of honour and advantage which they will take back to
the king their master from their negotiations at this Court.
The Duke of Vendome arrived in this city two days ago from
the island of Giarnese, but he does not appear in public. The
queen mother states openly that she will very soon leave this
country. It is not known whether she will proceed to Holland,
as many believe, or elsewhere.
They are expecting soon an ambassador of the new King of
Portugal. Many ministers, even among the best accredited, seem
inclined to receive him. But so far His Majesty has not come to
any decision on the subject. In any case that will not serve as
an example for me, without instructions from your Excellencies.
London, the 22nd February, 1641.