219. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
Last week having been spent in discussions and disputes
between the two houses, the articles of peace to send to the king
are settled. The Upper House has been able to make little or
no change in the alterations introduced in the Lower, the authority
of the latter prevailing over the sincere intentions of the
former. I hope to have a copy even before the articles are sent
to the king, and if so I will forward it with my next, so that your
Serenity may see the exorbitance of their demands. Meanwhile
as concerns foreign powers, they want to oblige the king to make
an alliance with the Dutch and other Protestants for the restitution
of the Palatinate and against the House of Austria, the pope
and his adherents. The Upper House thought it advisable to
delete the word adherents pointing out that it might offend all
Catholic princes, but so far the Lower has not agreed to this.
To render a favourable conclusion more difficult and to cut off
all negotiations they want to force his Majesty to give a definite
reply in ten days. Sir Chilegre was ready to-day to proceed to
Oxford to ask passports for two of the Lords and four of the
Commons, who are to take these proposals. But hearing that
the commissioners of Scotland are going in that direction he has
postponed his start for two days in order to meet them and
receive from their offices, or more correctly from their protests,
some advantage for his own negotiations.
It is understood that these Scots have already announced
themselves by an improper petition to his Majesty. It asks him
to come to an agreement with the parliament of England and to
expel the Catholics from his armies. It asks permission to convoke
their parliament before the time prescribed by the agreements.
It also points out that all the disorders in England
arise from the queen's favour towards the Catholic religion and
wants to persuade the king to induce her to change it.
His Majesty not being entirely satisfied with the manner in
which his recent reply was made public, has sent to the two
sheriffs of London ordering them to do it again without guards,
in the presence of the apprentices and all the people, and also
to imprison the mayor. The sheriffs applied to parliament for
its pleasure and received orders not to obey. At all events
the news itself excites discontent among the lesser folk, who now
claim to be the greater, and encourages divisions, which form the
true steps of the ladder of glory for the royal authority.
Believing that the queen might be arriving at Newcastle,
as she had given him to expect by her letters long since, the king
selected the earl of Newport, baron Savil and Sir [Thomas]
Gord and sent them with every token of confidence, to be present
at her landing, hoping to benefit by the following of these individuals,
especially of Savil in Yorkshire. The earl of Newcastle,
who is still in Lincolnshire but keeps some portion of his
army in York, has intercepted a letter from them to some of the
parliament offering to hand over the city of York as well as the
queen, as a prisoner. He at once sent orders for their arrest,
and two are taken, but Newport escaped. Newcastle informed
the king of all, sending his prisoners to the neighbouring prison
of Niuarch. Owing to this and to suspicions of the Scots it
is thought that the earl will not unite with the king's army very
soon, especially as he has been declared by his Majesty his general
beyond the river Trent.
The remonstrances of the English, who considered their nation
slighted by having a Scot in command of the royal armies have
obliged his Majesty to appoint the marquis of Erfort general.
He enjoys the advantage of kinship with his Majesty, but he has
not the experience of the other in war and his appointment does
not please Prince Rupert.
We hear of no approaching general movement of this army.
A few troops have sallied out and captured a number of carts with
corn, which were going to Windsor for the parliament soldiers.
A remarkable fight has occurred in Cornwall. Sir [Ralph]
Otton was confined with his force at Saltase and in danger of
falling into the hands of the parliamentarians, when he seized
the opportunity of a military advantage and succeeded in delivering
himself, routing the aggressors and capturing cannon and
baggage. (fn. 1)
Essex, general of the land army, and Warwick, the Vice
Admiral, have sent an account of the debts owed by parliament,
which, including the hire of the ships, exceeds 400,000l. sterling,
an amount difficult to collect at any time but impossible under
present conditions. They do not, on this account, in any way
relax their severity in collecting the twentieth in the city, indeed
it is intensified, no respect being shown to persons of any sort,
who object. Some of the aldermen and several of the wealthy
merchants are in prison, besides countless others of mediocre
station. As the ordinary places do not suffice for them they have
taken several of the larger houses and filled them. It is intended
to remove them to a distance from the city to make sure that
they do not plot some dangerous revolution in concert with the
They are preparing to send commissioners of parliament to
the counties also for the same collection, but they will only do so
by armed force and where the party has the upper hand. They are
demanding advances from the new Customers and have tried to
levy 2000l. from the farmers of the saltpetre mines, which are
due to the king, and when they refused their houses were sacked.
In short no means of obtaining money is abandoned, whether lawful
or not ; but in the end it will not meet their requirements and in any
case it will always give rise to greater disorders.
The king's army, although much more numerous than the
parliamentary, is understood to be quite content and satisfied,
the devotion of good subjects appearing ever greater amid the
advantages which accumulate for his Majesty.
Although the severity about going to Oxford is maintained,
in accordance with the late decree, yet the daughter of the earl
of Leicester has obtained a passport, her sex being less open to
suspicion. But the officials who met her on the way, having
carefully searched her, found a catalogue with the names of all
his Majesty's partisans in London. She was able to escape
arrest herself with the excuse that it was put in her baggage by
the servants without her knowledge, but the king could not
escape the mischief done, which is considerable.
The father of this lady has at last decided to submit to the
king, putting away the appointment of Viceroy of Ireland given
him by parliament. He was welcomed although the ill turn of
affairs there may have done more to decide him than any feelings
Letters have arrived here from Dublin, almost the only place
left in the hands of the Protestants. The magistrate writes that
with the departure of General Lesle and the 10,000 Scots he
brought, that city will be forced to surrender to the rebels unless
prompt succour arrives. They call them rebels although they
are not really so, as your Excellencies shall hear. Upon this
news the king immediately sent a specious offer here, which
should remove the imputation that he has an understanding
with the Catholics of that kingdom. He proposes to send
10,000 combatants to that island at his own cost if parliament
will do the same. No notice has been taken of this since it is
well known that his Majesty's aim is to deprive them here of all
their forces, while he would remain strong enough to reduce them.
Some weeks ago the parliament in that island was opened in
the town of Kinsale, in which, according to the ancient use, the
Catholic bishops took their place. Many very proper decisions
were reached and the chief was to recognise as their legitimate
king and lord King Charles I, and all his successors. Religion
to be restored as in the time of Richard III, the Protestants
being excluded from the government. They renounce the
English laws in favour of the ancient ones of the kingdom, but
keeping the Magna Carta of the same Richard. They admit
to naturalisation all Catholics, English, Scottish and foreign
as well, and they will endow them with landed property.
London, the 5th February, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
220. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to
the Doge and Senate.
Shortly before her departure the queen of England hinted to
the Prince of Orange something about a truce with Spain, with
great circumspection, but without result. I have informed the
Ambassador Giustinian. I need only add that I paid my respects
to her Majesty at her departure ; the office pleased her and she
expressed her warm friendship.
The Hague, the 5th February, 1643.
221. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands,
to the Doge and Senate.
There lie all ready in Dunkirk 22 ships of war and a certain
number of sloops to take on board 2000 Walloon soldiers and
transport them direct to Spain. There are rumours that under
this pretext Melo proposes to send assistance to the insurgents
in Ireland, but this rumour meets with no credit among people
of good sense.
The queen of England, after eight days tossing at sea in a
furious storm has been compelled to return to these waters and
anchor at Schevelino. She landed there on the 7th inst. and
returned to the Hague, in poor health. They no longer talk
definitely of her departure, although some assert that she will
proceed to France very shortly. She has lost 18 persons and
28 horses, but the ship with the money and military provisions
came off safe. They have no news of three others, but there is
of a detestable plot against her by the earl of Newport and
another leader of the royal party, who, while ostensibly securing
her passage from Newcastle to Oxford, meant to put her in the
power of parliament, in order to compel the king to make an
ignominious peace with the rebels. Such is the news which
reached her Majesty the day before yesterday, by express, with
the arrest of some leaders of the conspiracy and the defeat of a
portion of the troops of the other side in Cornwall, pursued by
the royal forces under Rafael Opton. I give you this news in
the very words that the queen communicated it to the Ambassador
The Hague, the 11th February, 1643.
222. To the Secretary in England.
Acknowledge the receipt of his letters of the 9th and the 16th
ult. He will have many occasions to observe and comport himself
with prudence amid the troubled occurrences of those parts.
The enclosed sheet of advices will supply him with information.
Ayes, 104. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
223. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
Sir [Peter] Chiligre went to Oxford for the passports and
returned with the assurance that the king would send them at
once by his gentlemen, as he did, together with a letter of the
secretary of state to the President of the Upper House, expressing
his Majesty's desire and willingness to co-operate for a good peace.
So the commissioners of parliament set out the day before yesterday
with the articles. They have forbidden the secretaries to
supply copies, under severe penalties, possibly in order to deceive
the people on their return with a false formula. They also take
three very hard laws for his Majesty's assent. The first excludes
the bishops and all other dignities from the Anglican Church.
The second alters the oath to be given to Catholics, involving
the forfeiture of a great part of the goods of recusants and the
removal of their children to be brought up in the Protestant
faith. The third cashiers the scandalous ministers of their religion,
of whom there have been many who have acquired the title by
supporting the royalist party.
The return of these gentlemen is eagerly awaited to learn his
Majesty's reply. Many believe that he will not absolutely reject
the proposals, but may refer a modification of them to commissioners
to escape the blame of rejecting this general boon.
Here they are doing their utmost to throw the responsibility
upon him in order to alienate the citizens from him, who daily
become more resigned, through weariness of the oppression under
which they suffer and from a recognition of their duty.
Meanwhile the three commissioners from Scotland (fn. 2) were to
reach Oxford yesterday. Parliament looks for great advantages
from their offices. They announce that the Council of Scotland,
influenced by the wishes of the people, has practically decided
to move in favour of their party here.
With the same object of alienating from the king those who
hope for rewards parliament has published a letter which it
pretends to have intercepted, in which his Majesty writes to the
queen in Holland not to make any appointments until she has
joined him, by which time he hopes things will be settled as he
desires, declared clearly in this same letter. If it were accepted
as genuine it would offend many of his most devoted servants
who are thereby deprived of the offices they now hold.
It is feared that some mishap has overtaken the queen at sea,
as news of her leaving Holland arrived several days ago and there
is no good reason for supposing that she has reached Newcastle
yet. The king is looking for her with tender affection, but her
coming is not pleasing to his Majesty's good and loyal servants as
she may by her influence do considerable mischief in the successful
conduct of affairs, which are now in the hands of interested and
Despite the conspiracy reported and the arrest of Savil and
Gord and the escape of the earl of Newport to Wilts, she will
reach Newcastle at an unhappy moment, as the troops of Newcastle
in Yorkshire have been soundly beaten by Fairfax, the
parliamentary commander, with the capture of two places,
though of ignoble quality. (fn. 3) The regiments of Savil and Gord
helped towards this disaster, as to avenge the imprisonment of
their leaders they went over to Fairfax.
Prince Rupert entering Northamptonshire with a part of the
cavalry has captured some places which open the way to the
chief town, though he has not yet ventured to attack it. It is
a rich storehouse of the most precious moveables of the county,
but very strong and well guarded.
These last days, possibly as a stratagem, the governor of
Reading wrote to the king representing the bad state of the place
and the impossibility of holding it against any attack. This
letter, intercepted by the earl of Essex, gave him a motive for
carrying into effect the orders which he received long ago from
parliament, to attack the place. But when his troops got there
they found the defenders more courageous with the sword than
with the pen, and were obliged to retire with considerable loss.
The general has asked for an exchange of prisoners, but the king
has not yet agreed, not wishing to treat on an equality.
With continued severity in exacting money a fresh batch of
prisoners of those refusing to pay the twentieth has been made,
the old ones being distributed in various parts of the kingdom
and some even sent to the islands of Giarnese.
The earl of Stanford who commands for the parliament in
Cornwall, where he has shown excessive cruelty, reports that he
has so many prisoners that he cannot guard them safely, and
he therefore thinks it would be proper to send them by ship to
Barbary, to give in exchange for the slaves there, who coming
back and being under an obligation for this, might profitably
serve parliament in the present emergency. The idea has not
found general acceptance and even the author does not commend it.
London, the 13th February, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
224. To the Secretary in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 23rd ult. As regards
the currants he will be guided by the example of the Ambassador
Giustinian. He cannot go wrong over the establishment of the
free admission of that fruit into the kingdom from the Venetian
islands, with the exclusion of those of the Morea, which are so
different and of inferior quality, as information and experience
have already shown. He will perform his offices subsequently
in conformity with the need, and keep on the alert to prevent
anything prejudicial. Enclose the usual sheet of advices.
Ayes, 145. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
225. To the Proveditore of Cephalonia.
To avoid committing himself in the matter of the merchant
Hider, preventing, so far as possible, any mischief that he may
try to do. The proclamation for the uprooting of currant
plantations must be strictly enforced.
Ayes, 148. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
226. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to
the Doge and Senate.
The States gave the queen of England a present of 50,000
florins, though drawn from capital to that address. And now,
since her return to the Hague they maintain her Court with the
remainder of that money, although the disbursements are made
by the master of the Prince's household, under his name, to make
the people believe that her Majesty's fresh stay is no charge to
the country, and the grumbling of the disaffected dies away.
The queen of England revives her project of leaving for that
kingdom, but the wind is not favourable, and without this she
will not embark, in order not to expose herself to perdition again.
A report circulated of the death of the king of Denmark, but no
confirmation arrived subsequently. They say he had ready a fleet
and 4000 well armed men to send to England to help his nephew.
The Hague, the 19th February, 1643.
227. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The commissioners of parliament who went to the king about
peace have returned from Oxford. His Majesty received them
with the greatest outward courtesy and gave them this answer
I am constrained to tell you that those who send you back
with these proposals, although outwardly they seem for peace
have nothing further from their hearts and indeed have drawn
these up to embitter matters. My actions show that I have
always sincerely tried for it, and no insults or provocation will
make me neglect it. No one has more cause to regret the disturbance
and blood of the people than myself who am their
father. I will gather all the honey possible from so much gall,
but I confess I am surprised at such extravagances, because
although I have seen some of their proposals before, they were
not such as these. However, I will give you a more ample
reply in writing.
I enclose a copy of this with mention of parliament's proposals.
These are unaltered as they were sent me by a confidant at Court
who took them from the original and gave me the above particulars
of the king's speech.
The graciousness with which the king has artfully cultivated
individually the commissioners of the Upper House has encouraged
their hopes that if this negotiation proves successful they
may not only aspire to a certain pardon, but to some employment
as well. Thus the moment they arrived here, fomenting the
good disposition which reigns in the majority of the Upper
House, they have unanimously decided at the first sitting, in
spite of the disparity between the proposals, to agree to an
armistice and to the continuation of the negotiations, as asked
by his Majesty in the last article of his proposal. In addition
to this, and to employ every means to secure the success of
their just desires even in the Lower House, the Lords have
surreptitiously tried to get several members of that House who
had absented themselves to escape violence, to return to
strengthen the good party. But the others, having heard of
this, summoned from the army all the members holding commands
there, to make a supreme effort to stop this boon. The
Mayor and Council of the city conspire to the same end. In
order to cut short these transactions, which they do not believe
will result in any advantage for the Puritan religion or for them
personally, while the king is as strong as he is now and while the
Upper House is so inclined to give him satisfaction, they have
appeared in parliament and offered 400,000l. sterling and other
accommodation for the prosecution of the war. Thus, when
the decision was sent to the Lower House, after lengthy and
nocturnal discussions a resolution was issued that instead of
the armistice, there should be a disbanding of the armies, so
that all those beyond the river Trent should be dismissed before
the 1st March next, and those this side by the 10th of the same.
This agrees with the first article of the parliament's proposals
and serves to make parliament the arbiter of all the advantages to
which it aspires, over a king in arms in the country.
The Scottish commissioners have not yet reached the Court.
The royal officers have raised difficulties about their passports,
perhaps designedly, under the pretex that one of them is unacceptable
and is not named in them. (fn. 4)
Mr. More, the king's chamberlain, has returned from there.
He worked hard to win over the grandees, but there, as in England,
they have lost their early authority through giving the
people too much liberty, and in order to uphold their credit
they are obliged to support the wishes and pleasure of the vulgar
News has come to the king, also from the North, of the queen's
arrival at Newcastle with money, arms and soldiers. Yet in
letters from Holland we hear that she has returned there after
tossing for some days at sea, and it is not thought that she will
attempt the passage again until the weather is good.
The lack of food, money and of any help for the affairs of
Ireland, affords an inducement to the scanty parliamentary
troops there to desert. In several batches as many as 1000
have reached Westchiester, whither the king has sent to enrol
them under his flag, in accordance with their wishes and offers.
To place some check on the course of the disorders there eight
ships have been sent there from this kingdom with corn and
some money, supplied by the merchants for the purpose. But
being driven by a fortunate wind to Falmouth they were seized
by the governor there, who is a royalist, and who expelled the
crews. (fn. 5) They proved of no little service to the army of Sir
[Ralph] Obton, who has shut up the earl of Stanford with the
parliamentary forces in Plymouth, and who remains master of
the county of Cornwall.
Prince Rupert besieged the town of Sister in Gloucestershire
for 3 days. The garrison being intimidated by the capture of
some fortifications outside, he obtained it by treaty. (fn. 6) But as
they broke faith with him when he entered by firing a musket
at him from the windows, which fortunately missed him, he
considered himself released from the composition and permitted
a sack, which involved the death of 400 inhabitants and soldiers.
The incident has been published here as an act of cruelty, and
they try to use it under the present circumstances, to stir up
feeling and divert attention from peace.
The earl of Bedford, who at the beginning readily accepted
the post of general of the parliamentary cavalry, has now voluntarily
resigned it and he also is supporting those who are most
inclined to peace. It is not thought that anyone else will be
appointed, because they do not trust the grandees, and from
fear that they will not find anyone to accept it. So the Scot
Balfour, who now holds the lieutenancy, will carry on the command.
London, the 20th February, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
228. Humble proposals of the Lords and Commons in
parliament, taken to the king on the 1st February, 1642, style
of England. (fn. 7)
[Italian, from the English ; 14 pages.]
|229. Reply and proposal of the king to the commissioners
of parliament, dated the 3rd February, 1642, style of England. (fn. 8)
[Italian, from the English ; 10 pages.]
230. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Two deputies of Scotland are here to treat on behalf of that
kingdom for the renewal of the ancient alliance between the
kingdom of Scotland and this crown, professing that they have
shaken off the yoke of the royal domination.
Paris, the 24th February, 1643.
231. To the Secretary in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 30th January. Learn
from the Hague that the queen of England is sailing for that
country with money and munitions and with hopes of assistance
from France and Denmark. By diligence he will be in a position
to keep abreast of everything and continue to send his reports,
using prudence and judgment. The disunion among the parliamentarians
and the flocking of troops or others to the king voluntarily
from the people discloses a leaning towards his Majesty, and
promises a better issue to the affair. Enclose sheet of news from
the Italian side.
Ayes, 144. Noes, 2. Neutral, 2.
232. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands,
to the Doge and Senate.
The queen of England went to Schevelino the day before
yesterday and she was to embark early to-day for Newcastle.
But a ship bought by her to take military provisions for 6000
soldiers, is held up at the mouth of the Meuse by two ships of war
of the parliament which have ventured into these waters and
threaten to sink it if it moves. This has delayed her Majesty's
departure. The Prince has assured her that the ship shall be
set free at once, and shall follow her, but this does not make her
cease her protestations that she will not leave this state before
the ship is released, to go with her and the escort of eight other
ships, which are to take her over. Accordingly the Vice Admiral
has gone to Brill to get the parliament ships to go, and the
queen is satisfied and has no reason to delay her start. We hear
that the Hollanders, who favour parliament, at the suggestion
of the commissioner, have had her Majesty's ship arrested,
covering this disrespectful act by the recent declaration forbidding
the export of all munitions of war from this state either
for the king or the parliament. But reasonable men cannot
understand how the government can have suffered this audacity,
which strikes the Prince to the quick, and assert and state freely
that the States are acting by connivance. Others say that the
parliamentarians want to delay the queen's departure to give
them time to prepare a fleet and surprise her on the way, and they
have chosen this means in the certainty that the two ships would
not be molested. Whatever the truth may be, it is certain that
the queen has scant confidence, but her ardent desire to hasten
to her husband's side, removes all fear from her heart, and
animates her to encounter every danger.
The Hague, the 25th February, 1643.
233. To the Ambassador Zustignan, designate for Germany.
Satisfaction with the reports of his conduct at the Hague.
In recognition of his merit the Senate grants permission to keep
the jewel bestowed by the queen of England on the ambassadress.
Ayes, 144. Noes, 2. Neutral, 2.
In the Collegio on the 26th February, a separate vote about the
Ayes, 17. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
234. Zuane Pesaro, Procurator of the Proveditore in
Terra Ferma, to the Doge and Senate.
Colonel Duglas has made known to me his constant devotion
to the most serene republic. He apologises for his past mistakes
with asseverations that they were not due to himself and he
humbled himself in everything to the grace and favour of the
state. I have not considered it right to keep this to myself
since in the present state of affairs the matter might be worthy
of consideration, especially as he offers levies of his own country.
Verona, the 26th February, 1642 [M.V.]
235. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
After the decision of the Lower House upon the king's proposals,
refusing the armistice but in favour of disarmament,
they made a report on it to the Lords, at a special conference,
in a long speech adducing many but unsubstantial reasons to
justify the decision and to show that no other treaty could with
safety be introduced until this was punctually carried out. The
city of London, easily fomented by some of the Lower House,
has strongly supported this view. They have appeared again
in parliament ; apart from the injuries already done by the war
they declared that if an armistice is made they will contribute
nothing for the maintenance of the armies, but fortifying themselves
as best they can they will confine themselves to their own
Although all the Lords voted unanimously for the armistice,
yet eight of them who share the fortunes of the most seditious Commons,
seeing them so strongly opposed and favouring disarmament,
have changed their opinion and announce that they will unite with
the Commons for the destruction of the Upper House. This is
what they aspire to in the long run, to reduce the government to a
true democracy. What decision will be taken by the other lords,
who now seem more moderate, remains in doubt even to themselves,
as they are powerless to remedy those disorders which they have
started, and which now threaten their own destruction before that
of the rest.
The Scottish commissioners reached the Court yesterday. The
earl of Linze, another commissioner resident here, has also gone
there and will give them particulars of the most recondite intentions
of parliament here. There has been no time to obtain
details of their negotiations, but it is well understood that under
the show of a synod and of giving shape to their religion they
want to order the government of that kingdom to their own
fashion, possibly introducing the people, to the total subjection of
the royal party, though that has not yet been entirely reduced.
The king being aware from their petition, which reached him
earlier, that for this purpose they want to summon a parliament
in that kingdom, with or without permission, directed some
Scottish lords who are with him, to go and take part in it. But
while they expressed their willingness to sacrifice their lives in
serving him usefully, they besought him not to expose them to
the fury of the people, in the assurance that it could not help
his cause. In view of these jealousies in that kingdom it is
clear that an effective move on their part and an armed invasion
of England will not be an easy matter, although they hold out
hopes of it. Yet they are arming, and I am assured that the
parliament of England, through a merchant, has purchased and
transported from the Netherlands to Scotland equipment for
10,000 men, on account of which they have so far paid 5000l.
sterling. There was some talk among the parliamentarians to
send officers of their army to enlist men from that nation, but
this is still undecided, though the need is very great, to avail
themselves of Scottish assistance in the next campaign. All
agree on every hand that it will be very sanguinary. All hope
of any good result from the negotiations has practically disappeared ;
the drums are gathering fresh recruits in every quarter
of the city and many from parliament have gone to the earl
of Essex to discuss how to use their forces.
A new and severe order has been issued to the collectors of
the twentieth to enter armed into the houses of those who object,
and carry away ruthlessly all that they find, arresting the head,
and not allowing him even to go and find his wife and children.
When this is gathered in they intend to levy a shilling a week
on every poor family, and in proportion from those better off.
Meanwhile they show great industry in obtaining ready money,
adding to the burden under the guise of lightening it. Last
Sunday, by public order, the ministers represented from their
pulpits that parliament being anxious above all things to relieve
the people, so far as present circumstances will permit, and
knowing what a burden upon every parish is the maintenance of
the helpless, the poor and the children of unknown fathers, who
are supported by an obligatory contribution from the inhabitants,
has decided to send all these people to live in New England. It
therefore asked everyone to consent to contribute for one occasion
only such sum as his conscience told him befitted his estate, to
cover the cost of transporting them. Many allowed themselves
to be persuaded, and a considerable sum of money was obtained,
which it is generally believed will serve the present need, since
it is not believed they will show such cruelty to persons incapable
of any work. But even if it is devoted to transporting them,
they will not give up collecting the usual contributions, to maintain
soldiers instead of the poor.
It looked as if the parliamentary armies from a distance, were
threatening the city of York with a fresh siege. But as the earl
of Newcastle with General Chinch are stationed there with some
troops, they hope that it will be free from danger.
They circulate many false rumours from Cornwall to the
prejudice of Sir [Ralph] Obton and to the advantage of the
parliamentary arms. But the truth is that all the parliamentary
forces are confined in the town of Plymouth, which owing to the
siege is unable to receive succour by land, and the very letters
which arrive here come by sea. Some ships of the queen's
escort with horses have been lost, others have arrived at Newcastle ;
but she is in Holland with the money and seems eager to
make a fresh attempt at the earliest opportunity.
London, the 27th February, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]