169. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands,
to the Doge and Senate.
The levy of a company of guards for the Queen of England,
connived at by the States, proceeds without delay, having been
started at the Hague six days ago, and will reach its full compliment
soon. They are to assemble shortly in the neighbourhood
and proceed to England with her Majesty. The start is announced
for the 16th inst. the States having half promised to
have enough vessels ready by then to take her Majesty over.
She has accordingly sent the Bishop of Angoulême back to
France to explain to the Most Christian that present circumstances
favour her return to England, but she thanks him the more for
the invitation to Paris. He is to arrange something with the
Cardinal in the interests of the royal cause.
The queen has learned with great satisfaction that the last
ship which sailed from these shores with a copy of the military
provisions for her husband, has arrived safely at Newcastle.
Their High Mightinesses have decided on their reply, in non
commital terms to the proposals of the parliament commissioner,
which turn chiefly upon a separate alliance with this state,
excluding his Majesty. It expresses the regret of these Provinces
at the present troubles of England, disseminated, so they say,
by the intrigues and inventions of the covert enemies of the
kingdom. They hope, nevertheless, that God will dispose the
hearts of his Majesty and the parliament to think rather of a
perfect reunion than to ruin their country by intestine war.
These Provinces have the best intentions for employing their good
offices for an adjustment, if they are assured that their offices
will be useful and acceptable to both parties. They are ready
to perform this act of friendship in return for similar offices
performed by the kings of England in the past for them. Finally
to avoid occasion for dispute with either of the parties, they have
judged it expedient to prohibit by special decree the export
from this country to England, either to the king or to parliament,
of arms, munitions of war, officers or soldiers in the pay of this
state, as they do not wish to provide material to either side for
waging endless war. The government wishes to contribute
every means for a reunion, namely that the king and parliament
shall come to an agreement between themselves, and then the
States will gladly take up more definite proposals for the renewal
of an alliance between Great Britain and these Provinces. (fn. 1)
The commissioner did not much like this reply, because he
expected one much more favourable. The Hollanders are equally
dissatisfied, because they are entirely disposed to favour the
parliament. In order to show their partisanship more clearly
the Hollanders have issued a special paper, stating that while
they agree with the reply of the General Assembly as it stands
they would have preferred to see some definite statement in
it that the past export of arms and soldiers to his Majesty had
been done without any knowledge of the States of Holland,
whose intention has always been to adhere to a strict neutrality
between the King of Great Britain and the English parliament.
The Hague, the 5th November, 1642.
170. To the Ambassador in England.
Under the pressure of necessity you have chosen the best
expedient for approaching the king to take your leave and to
set out on your journey before the season grows worse, in the
absence of any other alternative for performing this duty. You
acted wisely with the earl of Holland. The success of your
negotiations about currants will appear from what follows, and
while the injurious decrees remain in suspense the interval turns
to our advantage in the hiring of ships and in the commissions
sent to the islands for the purchase of cargoes for them. Tomorrow
we will send orders to the Resident Vico to provide
passports for your journey. We enclose the usual sheet of
Ayes, 96. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
171. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in
England, to the Doge and Senate.
Never does the Almighty fail to afford his assistance to a just
cause or to protect innocence to the confusion of the impious.
Arrived at Merdid, as I wrote, his Majesty received word that
General the earl of Essex had removed his army from its quarters
at Uster and was following him with all speed for the purpose of
catching him between his own army and that which parliament
is preparing here to oppose him. This important news in no
way perturbed the king or those with him either, but changing
the order of march his Majesty entrusted the care of the rear
guard to Prince Rupert, as the post most worthy of his greatness,
because he had the enemy at his back. Pursuing his way in this
direction without making an attack on Coventry or any other
place, the king advanced on Saturday, the 1st of the present
month to Edgiel, 60 leagues from this metropolis. There,
hearing that the enemy forces were constantly drawing nearer,
he decided to make halt. On the following day after having
disposed his army in battle array over a wide country (disposto
in battaglia sopra una larga campagna l' esercito suo), he ordered
Prince Rupert to attack the enemy, as he did valiantly at three
o'clock in the afternoon. Essex sustained the attack and the
fighting growing hot on both sides the conflict endured until
night, with the shedding of much blood. But in the end the
royalists remained masters of the field and forced Essex to withdraw
on Monday with great loss to Warwick.
He left in his Majesty's hands 20 ensigns of infantry, 16 cornets
of cavalry, 9 pieces of artillery and all the baggage. 2000 soldiers
of the parliamentary army were left on the field, including many
lords, and, it is said, Baron Fildinch, sometime ambassador to
your Excellencies ; the wounded are 1500 ; more than one company
made sure of its safety by flight.
On his Majesty's side 1500 men were missing, but they report
that 900 turned up at the rendezvous. General the earl of Lince
was made prisoner and mortally wounded with the lord of Wilibi,
his son, and other leaders of repute.
In the heat of the conflict the parliamentarians captured the
royal standard, but being afterwards charged furiously by the
royal troops they were forced to let it go and it was brought back
safe to the royal camp. The king on this occasion performed
all his duties with prudence and also with spirit. Contrary to the
general expectation he gave proofs of great courage and established
the devotion of his troops to his cause (ha contro l' espettatione
dell' universale dato saggio di grande animosita et bene confirmato
gli animi della militia alla devotione sua). For quite three hours
he was taking part in the fighting, always with his sword in his
hand, and more than once he placed himself, without reservation,
at the head of the army. The Prince of Wales and the little duke
of York were also in the affair, and thank God they are both in
excellent health. On Tuesday the king was still resting at the
same place and there is no certain knowledge as yet what his
plans may be. They say, however, that at this moment he is
marching towards Oxford, to refresh his army there, reorganise
it and then decide upon the plan that time and circumstance
may suggest to him as being best adapted to advance his interests.
All unprejudiced persons declare that his Majesty's army
consists of 20,000 and more combatants. The Marquis of Erford
and the earl of Arbi are still in the rear with other men and they
state that from Cornwall Sir Ralph Opton is marching with a
following of 6000 men to join the royal forces.
After the battle his Majesty, by a public proclamation, offered
pardon to all those who, repenting of their past licence, should
come over to his side, but with the exception of the six members
of parliament whom he accused of treason last year, as I reported.
Such is the account sent by the Secretary of State and the relation
of all those who were present at the affair, from whom I have
since learned the same particulars. I have also seen the letters
of many lords of the Court.
The parliamentarians, on the other hand, fearing that the news
of this mishap might increase the perturbation of those who adhere
to their party, represent it otherwise and try to make the generality
believe that the advantage was on their side ; that the king
lost the field of battle, 3000 men with 7 pieces of artillery, and
they are proceeding to take severe measures against those, who
being informed of the true facts of the case, speak differently,
all with the object of keeping the people here steadfast in their
allegiance to the malcontents and to extract fresh contributions
and assistance more readily from their liberality.
Meanwhile although they cause the circulation of these reports
which all unprejudiced persons know to be false, they do not
cease to provide with energy for the defence of London, or for
the means of reinforcing Essex. They have sent a number of
parliamentarians to the surrounding provinces with instructions
to get together the largest number they can of their trained
bands, with the intention of despatching these subsequently
to where the remains of the parliamentary army are quartered.
They have brought a number of the companies of these trained
bands of the country into this city. All the troops are kept
constantly at arms. There is no street, however little frequented,
that is not barricaded with heavy chains, and every post is
guarded by numerous squadrons. At the approaches to London
they are putting up trenches and small forts of earthwork, at
which a great number of people are at work, including the women
and little children. They have issued a new manifesto to the
people full of the usual representations against the present procedure
of the king, for the purpose of arousing their enthusiasm
still more in the support of this cause.
Parliament has removed the little duke of Gloucester, his
Majesty's youngest born, and the Princess Elizabeth, his sister,
from their usual dwelling place of St. Giles, on the extreme
confines of the suburbs of London, (fn. 2) and has had them brought
to a private house in the middle of this city, under the specious
pretext of securing them against injury from the armies but with
the secret design to avail themselves of these innocent victims
as hostages if the king comes back victorious to his residence
here, as they feel persuaded that the precious pledge of these
children will serve them in the utmost peril as an opening to
obtain a pardon from his Majesty more easily as well as safety
for the persons and the fortunes as well of the rebels.
I have received the state missives of the 11th October. If the
king goes to Oxford and stays there some days I will try to go
to him there and perform the final offices.
London, the 7th November, 1642.
172. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
Since I wrote yesterday evening news has come that the king
is at Oxford with all his army. I will leave for there to-day with
the Master of the Ceremonies and his officials. I must travel
with a numerous suite for the honour of the state and my personal
safety. I hope that your Excellencies will approve and that the
public liberality will take the expense into consideration. God
grant His protection and defend this house during my absence.
London, the 8th November, 1642.
173. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands,
to the Doge and Senate.
The journey of the Queen of England is the favourite topic of
popular conversation. Her departure was announced for the
16th inst. Nothing more definite can be stated now, although
appearances at her Court point to her speedy return to that kingdom.
The States have assured her Majesty again that sufficient
ships will be ready to take her over, at her slightest sign. But
this office, repeated expressly by deputies from the Assembly,
did not please her Majesty, as it clearly indicated, as she said,
the desire of the States to get her out of the country as soon as
possible. Moreover her levy of guards encounters obstacles,
and people consider it unlikely to be effected, both from lack
of money and because of difficulties in the way of taking soldiers
out of this country. They seemed to consent to it lately, but
since the reply to the parliament commissioner, promising not
to permit men or munitions to leave the country for either side,
the commissioner has felt encouraged to insist upon this and
to apply to the states of Holland for the observation of their
pledged word. It thus looks as if the queen's plans would fall to
pieces, although they keep up the hopes of the few men enlisted
so far by the two captains nominated by her Majesty to lead the
troops to England when she goes there herself.
The people of Amsterdam have presented her Majesty with a
golden bowl containing 40,000 florins.
The Hague, the 12th November, 1642.
174. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The bishop of Angoulême returned recently from Holland
together with the Sieur de la Thuillerie, the latter on his private
affairs. The former brings word of the complete gratification
of the Queen of England over the invitation from his Majesty
to come to France. But to carry this into practice she must
wait for further letters from the king, her husband. The affairs
of that monarch are taking a more favourable turn, according to
all accounts and she says she wishes to cross to England to take
part in the soothing of the troubles there and also to cherish
more intimate relations between that crown and the king, her
brother. The Cardinal has sent a reply in courteous terms,
commending her idea of going to England and again assuring
her of a welcome here whenever she cares to come.
Paris, the 18th November, 1642.
175. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Hollanders have for a long time been cultivating the
Zeelanders with the idea of uniting these two leading Provinces,
separating them from the others, and erecting a new Council.
Their object is to diminish the authority of the General Assembly
and consequently that of the Prince, whom the Hollanders
systematically oppose. The question now is the reorganisation of
the troops in which Zeeland seems disposed to support Holland,
since their Pensionary supports the parliament, which the Prince
considers reprehensible, being himself too friendly to the king,
contrary to the institutions of the country. He has the support
of Chenut, a leading Zeelander in the General Assembly and a
strong partisan of the House of Orange. He has supported him
not only with his mouth but with his hands, striking the Pensionary
such a severe blow as to seriously endanger his life. (fn. 3) This has
excited a furious commotion in the country against him. Every
one anxiously awaits the issue. It is feared that it may lead
to a split between the Provinces, as Holland and Zeeland have
long been planning to have a Council to control the government,
owing to their dissatisfaction with the present regime, where
everything is done solely for the gratification of the House of
With the news of success to the royal arms in England the queen
has decided to start at the end of the month, sailing from Rotterdam
to Newcastle. The ships are all ready and the baggage on
board to a great extent. Her Majesty still hopes to take with
her a small force of quite 2000 to serve her husband, as she had
a promise from the Prince that ten soldiers should be taken from
each of the companies here to make up that number, unless
fresh difficulties were raised by the Hollanders, who support
the parliament and watch the queen's departure closely. This
would prevent the realisation of this plan.
The Hague, the 19th November, 1642.
176. Recommendation to continue for four years longer the
exemption from export duty of wool brought to Venice from the
West, as the exemption has produced good results in the past
and has favoured the bringing of wool to this city (favorito il
concorso delle lane in questa citta).
Dated at the office, the 19th November, 1642.
|Giovanni Francesco Venier
177. To the Secretary at the Hague.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 29th ult. and the
5th inst. If their High Mightinesses have any opening to interpose
in the affairs of England upon the reply given to the person
of the parliament he is to obtain full particulars and report them.
Enclose two letters for the Queen of England and the States
General which he is to keep in his hands until the Ambassador
Giustinian arrives so that he may profit by them in the complimentary
offices he performs there on his way to Germany.
Ayes, 120. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
178. To the Ambassador in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 24th and 31st ult.
There is nothing to add. Enclose copies of letters sent to the
Secretary at the Hague for the States General and the Queen of
England, with which he can perform the offices incumbent on
Ayes, 140. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
179. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
After performing my offices with the king and the ministers
I have returned from the Court, overwhelmed by the hardships
and by the demands upon my purse, but rejoiced at having
put straight the matter of the currants and the treatment of
Venetian ministers, so far as present circumstances permit.
A few hours before my arrival the king had arrived with all
his army at the city of Oxford, one of the chief in the kingdom,
60 leagues away from here. The same evening I had the honour
of seeing him privately and was most honourably received. When
I appeared in the room where he happened to be, before the
fire, surrounded by a number of military men, he came out from
the midst of them and advanced five steps to meet me. After
he had embraced me affectionately we retired apart and he gave
me a detailed account of the engagement with the enemy, blaming
the royal cavalry for having chosen to pursue the parliamentary
too far and thus prevented the utter destruction of the remnants
of that army (incolpando la cavalleria reale che per havere voluto
seguitare troppo oltre la parlamentaria haveva impedito di distruggere
affatto le reliquie di quelli armi).
After compliments I informed his Majesty of the league arranged
with the Grand Duke and the Duke of Modena. The
king was pleased and asked me to express his thanks for the
communication. I went on to speak about the affair of the
currants, representing the mischief that a prohibition of their
importation would do. He said he recognised the injury that
would result to the revenue and to trade, and he would never
give his consent. I went on to speak about the mistakes in the
reception of Venetian ambassadors and asked that the Most
Illustrious Contarini might be treated on a par with the ambassadors
of crowned heads. The king promised me every satisfaction
on the subject, assuring me that Contarini should be
met by an earl when he arrived. I asked his Majesty to confirm
this in his reply to the letters of your Excellencies about my leave
taking. He promised to have the particulars inserted in the
letters. Your Excellencies will observe that he gives me the
title of "Excellency," which has never been done with any of
your ambassadors and may serve as a precedent. I have sent
a copy of this new order to the Master of the Ceremonies, so that
the contents may be properly recorded. He gave me a quiet hint
that he expected from me on this occasion some token of exceptional
liberality, as did the Secretary of State also, who has had
great influence with the king in the matter of the currants.
To keep these ministers well affected I will leave something with
the Secretary Agostini, to be given them in my name.
The day following my private audience was appointed for the
public one of leave taking. By the king's order I was conducted
from my dwelling to the Court in the royal coaches by the earl
of Bristol, who at present is the favourite and the one who
conducts all business. The king received me very graciously.
I told him that the time had come for me to take leave. The
Most Illustrious Contarini had been chosen to take my place to
maintain the cordial relations. I expressed every good wish for
his felicity with other compliments. With an expression of
great kindness on his face the king replied, I am extremely sorry
that you are going, adding words that I may not repeat. He
said he would never fail to preserve the best relations with the
most serene republic. The present disorders are the sole reason
why the Signory has not yet received the satisfaction due. He
would always remember his obligations to me personally. Without
doing wrong to the other foreign ministers, he added, I wish
to say that if all had behaved with the same moderation the
rebels in this country would not have arrived at their present
pitch, my affairs would not be where they now are, and trade
would not be in its present disturbed state. I promise myself,
however, to emerge very soon from these distempers, and I will
then restore the trade between this kingdom and the dominions
of the most serene republic to the selfsame condition in which it
was formerly. I replied with fresh assurances of esteem. On
my taking leave his Majesty received the respects of Sig. Antonio
Neither I nor the Secretary Agostini has any present to give
to your Excellencies and I beseech the Senate to take into consideration
the extraordinary expenses I have incurred, during
the last five years in particular, as well as the cost of the journey
London, the 21st November, 1642.
180. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
From the city of Oxford his Majesty continued his march with
the whole army in this direction and reached Egam, a small
village only 20 leagues distant from this capital, and 3 from
Windsor, which, from the nature of its situation is convenient
for closing the passage by the river and for incommoding London
considerably. It is therefore considered of great consequence
and up to the present has been diligently guarded by numerous
garrisons of the parliament. Prince Rupert, who at present
commands the vanguard and precedes his Majesty's march with
the cavalry, invested the place, but as he met with a vigorous
resistance we do not hear that he has been able as yet to capture
it, nor do we hear either very definitely whether his Majesty
has resolved to engage his army in besieging it or whether he has
other plans in view for the achievement of his more far reaching
On the way he surprised the castle of Riding and other places
of slight consideration, which, under the influence of the uncontrolled
licence of these times, had supported the interests of the
parliament by their deeds and by their outspoken approval. In
these he took away the arms of the inhabitants and punished
their past licence by obliging them to a present payment of money
for the support of his troops, which, the cavalry in particular,
support themselves for the most part upon the country. However,
the king has not permitted any other acts of hostility to
be used, professing himself extremely avaricious of the blood
and fortunes of his subjects, even the rebellious ones. Clemency
is the one virtue which among so many others his Majesty inculcates
more than any other (clemenza che fra tante virtu e la
piu predicata nella Maesta Sua), but possibly it may not turn
out to be more useful than the rewards and punishments, which
are the two strongest pillars for keeping states in repose and
princes in security.
Owing to the proximity of the royal forces this city is in a
great stir. They have doubled the guards at all the posts and
planted cannon on the principal streets, which are constantly
attended by artillerymen with their fuses burning to be ready
for all emergencies. At the trenches out side which are to cover
the part most exposed to hostile attacks, they are working
incessantly with a great number of pioneers, and for the rest
they are making every preparation which is likely to prove most
effective for offering a stout and valorous resistance for an open
city which is so populous.
General the earl of Essex also, abandoning his quarters at
Warwick, has taken a route away from the royal army and come
to this city with the remnants of his troops, for the purpose of
raising the spirits of his partisans and at the same time to put
a bridle on those who being at heart faithful subjects of the king
might, on the approach of the royal army, attempt some stroke
to the detriment of the rebels.
The army of Essex consists of 5000 infantry and 1000 cavalry.
With the greatest energy and application he is endeavouring to
increase it with fresh men from this city, with others from the
country and with sailors, with the idea of leading it out later on
to try conclusions once more with that of his Majesty. The
interested parliamentarians assert persistently that within a very
short space they will have got together under their banners a
force of 12,000 men on foot and 3000 horse and that they will
march very soon to confront the king.
To meet the expenses of these levies and of so many other
requirements which multiply hourly, they are making application
to everyone, without distinction, for contributions. Those who
do not promptly consent have their plate taken by force, with
the best of their goods which are found in their houses, and are
subsequently sent to prison, without remorse, as enemies of the
state and adherents of the contrary party. Seventy of the
most substantial merchants of the mart are now in prison for
this cause being determined to perish rather than give any
encouragement by the profusion of their fortunes to those arms
which are directed against their legitimate sovereign.
Even in the churches the preachers here do not cease to urge
the people strongly to resist his Majesty. They falsely induce
the most simple to believe that he intends to suppress by force
the religion and liberty of the country. Although these tricks
are fully recognised by men of good sense, yet they make an impression
on the common people, who are ignorant for the most part and
easy to persuade by plausible demonstrations.
While everything here remains subject to such violent agitations,
the most important members of the Upper House, justly
apprehending that on whichever of the rival parties Fortune
may chance to smile by granting success, the result will be
equally injurious to their personal interests foreseeing in the
victory of his Majesty their certain ruin, and in that of parliament
their falling inevitably under the subjection of a licentious populace,
with loss of authority and peril to their fortunes as well, have
consequently proposed to send deputies to the king with the
request that he will be pleased to assign a place for holding a
conference for an agreement and to bring back this kingdom to
its original peaceful state. They sent this project to the Lower
House. That body brimful of violent opinions, after great difficulties
and considerable disputes, finally accepted the proposal,
more for the purpose of putting on time and to escape the blame
which might recoil upon them for not inclining to an accommodation,
than with any sincere desire to arrange one without great advantage
and the ultimate ruin of the royal authority.
After this resolution they despatched a gentleman to his
Majesty with instructions to learn his good pleasure and to ask
for a safe conduct for the commissioners. (fn. 4) He has returned and
brought answer that the king will never be averse from listening
to the proposals of parliament or to admit its commissioners,
for whom he has, without delay, delivered the safe conduct
desired, with the exception of one of those nominated, because
he has been declared by his Majesty guilty of treason. (fn. 5) This
exception has afforded a plausible pretext to those who aspire
to exalt their own fortunes amid the troubles, to employ every
means for interrupting the course of the negotiations, under
the excuse that this reservation strikes at the very centre of
the privileges and honour of the parliament. But the well intentioned
offered a stout resistance and disputing the point hotly they
have finally carried it by a majority of votes that the passport
shall be accepted in the form in which it was sent, and the
commissioners despatched. They have set out to-day. But
few have any confidence in this mission, wisely judging that with
passions so much inflamed on the two sides and with so much
mistrust it will be no easy matter to find some compromise
which is likely to cause reciprocal satisfaction. Final judgment
will be pronounced most securely by the results. In the county
of York the royalists and the parliamentarians continue their
warlike operations against each other. Accounts differ as to
what has happened and every one speaks in accordance with
his personal bias.
From this side they have sent to Scotland a gentleman (fn. 6)
express to obtain from that nation some vigorous assistance in
accordance with the terms of the last treaty between the two
parliaments. If the Scots are disposed to declare themselves
and to take the side of the parliament it is not possible to escape
the fear that prolonged and deplorable calamities are in store for
these states, once so fortunate in the enjoyment of a perfect
The earl of Holland to whom I gave the information touching
the affair of the currants has informed me that parliament has
referred the consideration of this affair to some deputies, with a
disposition to bring it back to its original state. That the pressing
occupations of this time have made it impossible to do this
up to the present, but before I left he hoped to give me more
definite information. He added that he was not ignorant of the
injury that would result to the Levant trade from such a step ;
that the demands of the interested parties could not be reconciled
with the service of this kingdom, and they were prejudiced.
So I think that when these troubles have ceased the demand for
currants will increase, there being at present a great quantity
of the fruit in England, and all the efforts of the merchants will
London, the 21st November, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
181. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to
the Doge and Senate.
The Hollanders resumed their session the day before yesterday,
from which in a few days some strong declaration about the
organisation of the troops is expected soon as well as a rigorous
prohibition against sending all kind of military provisions or
men from this country to England.
Although the queen of England announced her departure for
the end of this month and hurried the embarcation of her baggage,
in the assurance of the king's success, she now seems inclined to
wait for further news here, under the pretext of a state masque
which they are preparing at the Court to present to her Majesty.
Meanwhile the ships are kept ready to take her, and the Admiral
has been sent for on purpose, because the States want to see her
go as soon as possible, and so they smoothe the way by providing
every convenience and security.
As the government considers the stay of their minister in
England useless or unprofitable during this rebellion, they have
permitted him to return when he pleases, and we already hear
that he has landed at a port of Zeeland.
The Hague, the 26th November, 1642.
182. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in
England, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty has not considered it wise to try and capture
Windsor castle by more prolonged and vigorous efforts. After
giving orders to Prince Rupert to abandon that undertaking until
a more opportune moment, he advanced further forward with the
remainder of the troops and on Thursday in this week he lodged
at Colbrach, a village 16 short miles distant from this capital.
He stayed there for two days and listened with great mildness
(con molta humanita) to the deputies of the parliament, whose
offices consisted in representing to him their just regret at the
continuation of the present troubles. Prompted by a genuine
zeal for the good of the country, the greatness and security of
his Majesty, they cherished in their hearts a sincere desire to see
these differences assuaged by means of a perfect composition.
Accordingly they beseech him not to proceed any further forward
ward and to appoint a place where parliament can send other
commissioners with the particulars of their intentions.
The king met these instances with a declaration expressing
his affectionate desire for the good of his subjects, as well as his
perfect willingness to enter upon discussions for an agreement
and to promote the conclusion of one on his side by proofs of
the utmost sincerity, He told them that if parliament was
disposed to remove from Windsor the garrison they had placed
there he would attend the deputies there, and if they did not
approve of that place he would not refuse to agree to some
other which might prove more acceptable to the parliamentarians,
all in order to render more conspicuous his desire for an accommodation,
and to shake off from this kingdom the perils of those
calamities with which the most serious conditions of the time
menace it. He advised them very seriously to agree to the
despatch of the proposal, so that the difficulties in the way of
success may not be increased by delay, and he is impatiently
anxious that it shall succeed.
With this favourable reply the commissioners returned on
Friday night completely disarmed by the courteous treatment
as well as by what his Majesty had said. They made their
report upon it all to parliament on the following day, not without
some signs of proceeding to a successful issue in the transaction,
unless some fresh accident should arise to interrupt the course
of the proceedings already begun, as your Excellencies shall hear.
At Colbruch Prince Rupert received information that at
Branfort, a place on the river bank only 8 miles from this city
were quartered some regiments of the enemy's cavalry and
infantry, as well as a quantity of artillery and other warlike
stores intended for the hurt of the royal army. He immediately
began to consider what would be the easiest way to strike a
blow and capture these. Accordingly on Saturday morning,
the 21st inst., very early, he advanced in that direction followed
by 2000 horse and 1000 dragoons, and under cover of a thick fog
drew near to their quarters and attacked the parliamentary
troops so suddenly that he gave them no time to prepare a
defence, and striking them furiously and with great force he
caused 2000 men to fall before the valour of his sword, captured
a number of prisoners and compelled the remainder to take to
flight to save their lives. He took from them 8 pieces of artillery
with other stores and subsequently sacked the place as a punishment
for having attached itself to the side of the rebels without
consideration for its duty of loyalty to its prince.
At news so unexpected the parliamentarians were marvellously
stirred. All those who are in the same conspiracy for their own
ends, paralysed by the fear that the royal troops might draw
even closer, and not knowing amid the confusion, what course
they might most advantageously follow in order to meet a peril
which seemed so near at hand, and in order to supply the means
to their own side to cross swords, if need be, with the squadrons
of his Majesty, came to the decision to recall all the troops scattered
about at the most ticklish positions and to despatch them
with all speed to encounter the enemy, causing them to be supported
by the trained bands of this city, who, under the threats
of severe punishment, were obliged that day to go forth from
London, a thing that has never happened before in the most
remote times or for the most pressing emergencies. But when
the troops arrived at Branfort they found that the Prince, having
carried out his plan in its entirety, had rejoined the main body
of the royal forces. Accordingly their fears, which were considerable,
died away, and without attempting anything further they
returned to their station here, having suffered many hardships
and accomplished nothing.
Meantime his Majesty being informed that the soldiery appointed
to the custody of Kingston bridge had abandoned that
position and gone to join the parliamentary forces, seized the
opportunity and without losing time made himself master of
that important post. He has since gone to Otland, a pleasure
resort of the crown, 20 miles from here, where he is staying for
the present with the whole army. It has not yet transpired
what plans he is maturing. Many assert that his intention is
to proceed to Kent, a large province which commands the mouth
of the Thames, and bathed by the sea, where the distance to France
and Flanders is shortest. As it is devotedly loyal to him he can
look for assistance of consequence ; and here they are not without
misgivings that such may be the more secret intentions of the
king. Consequently troops have been sent in that direction and
orders issued to hold at all costs the bridge of Rochiester through
which all the ships pass that wish to cast anchor at London.
After this unfortunate incident the parliamentarians, influenced
by the most violent sentiments of indignation publish abroad that
under the specious pretext of consenting to negotiations for peace
the king has deceived them. They protest that they will pay
no more attention to negotiation but that they will refer the
decision of these differences to the tribunal of arms alone.
The Council of this city also, which is directed by the most
obstinate Puritans persuaded by the artful insinuations of those
who have no hope of security in tranquillity, has presented a petition
to parliament asking them to cut short the thread of negotiations for
an accommodation, and to push on to the last extremity in their
operations of war, offering to bear gladly any sort of burden and to
hazard with their fortunes the lives of all the inhabitants in the
defence of that cause which they deem to be no less just than necessary
for the preservation of the religion and liberty of the country.
The king, on his side, being inclined to quieter measures, has
sent a fresh message to parliament with a declaration that
even amid the successes of his arms he preserves the same desire
for peace and the same willingness to appoint some place for the
examination of the means which may serve to place the parties
in the way or a beginning of confidence. But the parliamentarians,
brimful of malice, give no sign so far of embracing this
invitation, so the hopes of an accommodation disappear, and
good men are tortured at seeing, for the sake of the private interests
of a few individuals and to the general injury, their country exposed
to the disturbances of a civil war, the issue of which cannot fail to
be ruinous to one of the parties and may prove so to both.
To increase the strength of the parliamentary army they have
decided upon the levy of another 5000 foot and 3000 horse, and
as a scarcity of horses is being induced they are seizing those of
everybody, without distinction, causing grave discontent among
those who are affected.
To General the earl of Essex, as a token of appreciation of his
services parliament has made a present of 5000l. sterling and
granted him absolute powers for the direction of the war in the
way he considers best in the interests of the party, to take action
without waiting for the good pleasure of parliament or of others.
This does not at all please those who aspire to reduce the government
to a general equality and to rule themselves in a fashion independent
of the arbitrament of a single individual (il che non riesce di soddisfations
a quelli che aspirano di ridure il governo a misura uguale
et di reggirsi con forme indipendenti dell' arbitrio d' un solo).
Accordingly a great deal of secret ill feeling is being developed and
in time this may be considerably increased.
The General has quartered his army at present only six miles
from this city and he is most urgently pressing on with the
collection of men, to be able subsequently to devote his attention
to such enterprises as circumstances may show him to be most
advantageous for the maintenance of his own side and for the
injury of his Majesty's.
In the place of General the earl of Lince, who was wounded in
the battle of Edgcot, taken prisoner and died quite recently
in the hands of the enemy, his Majesty has chosen Baron Butten,
a Scot, (fn. 7) who fought a long time under the banner of the king of
Sweden. His white hairs may serve to temper the ardour of
Prince Rupert, who seems to require somewhat more reserve in
conjunction with his high spirit to make him an absolutely
The marquis of Erfort has arrived at the city of Oxford with
9000 foot and 2000 horse, which are going to make a forced march
to join the forces of his Majesty. Further four ships from
Denmark have cast anchor in the port of Newcastle. They bring
6000 suits of armour for the king with a considerable sum in
ready money. An ambassador of the king there, accredited
to his Majesty, has arrived on these same ships. (fn. 8) He has brought
with him two military commanders of experience. These last
while hurrying forward to reach the king have been taken prisoner
in the bishopric of Duran by the parliamentary troops. There
are various opinions about the business of the ambassador and
so I cannot as yet assert anything positively about his instructions
although common report says that he bears commissions to
interpose for an adjustment between his Majesty and the parliament,
and if he does nor meet with a willing disposition in
the parliamentarians he is to warn them that the Danish crown
will unite with the king and endeavour to recover for him
the prerogatives which he has unlawfully lost amid the disorders
of this time.
London, the 28th November, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]