236. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to
the Doge and Senate.
The queen of England left for Newcastle five days ago. The
States of Holland after seizing her ship with military provisions,
let it go at her request, and the two parliament ships, which
blockaded it at the mouth of the Meuse with arrogant threats,
were at length made to leave, by express command of the Assembly.
We hear that these and five other parliament ships
are scouring the waters off Newcastle in order to prevent the
queen landing. Owing to this last show of disrespect to her and
her ship she goes away with very bitter feelings against the
Hollanders in particular, leaving behind such bitter protestations
as to show how very ruffled her feelings are and how little favourable
for future relations with this state.
The Hague, the 4th March, 1643.
237. To the Secretary in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 5th ult. A conspiracy
against the queen is reported from the Hague, to which place
she has returned in poor health, after suffering much loss. Fresh
occasions for the exercise of his prudence and observation are
constantly arising. The Ambassador Zustignan is waiting for
his passports in Holland. Enclose the usual sheet of advices.
Ayes, 126. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
238. To the Proveditore in Terra Ferma.
The excuses which have been made to you by Colonel Duglas
have been taken into consideration. In this connection we have
to say that since he abandoned the service in the way he did
at a time of need, he does not deserve to be heard and consequently
you will let all proposals drop.
Ayes, 130. Noes, 2. Neutral, 14.
239. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
Perilous altercations have occurred this week between the
two Houses of parliament. The Lords are moving steadily
towards peace. Allured by the hope of resuming their places
at Court they have, at their own risk, made known to the king
their devoted efforts to obtain it, according to his pleasure.
But though the Lower House cannot escape from the justice of
the proposals, supported by the desires of a great part of the
people of London, now tired of the present privations and violence,
yet they do not fail to invent subterfuges for destroying the
treaties and to render vain the decision about the armistice.
Recognising the need for approaching as nearly as possible
the wishes of the people in their first decision, in order to carry
it through, the Lords have again voted that there shall be an
armistice for 20 days, beginning on the 1st March, English style,
in which time the treaty of peace should be made, beginning
with the first article of each side, viz. : the restoration of the
fortresses, magazines, ships and revenues to the king, and the
disbanding of the armies.
The Lower House was not able to refuse assent in its votes,
but on condition that the armistice shall not be considered as
resolved if it is not accepted by the House after receiving information
from Essex of the manner of observing it ; and that
the first article of the treaty in any case must be the disbanding,
without which they cannot go further, and that they cannot
devote more than the 20 days to the treaty.
Although the conditions were known to be captious, yet the
Upper House thought it advisable to approve them, believing
it a step forward. They are now waiting for the information
for which they have asked Essex, and which will easily provide
material for long discussions until the season will compel active
operations. Some of the most seditious members of parliament
have been specially directed to go and make sure of this.
The Upper House having observed this calculated respect of
the Lower for the general has got its president to write a letter
also to him, of which I enclose a copy, to which he has testily
replied that they have asked his advice after the decision has been
I also enclose a copy of another letter from the king to parliament,
which is kept secret, in which he reproves the delay in a
decision over this armistice. He exonerates himself from all
blame for any accidents which may happen in the mean time.
He shows the necessity of arranging the conditions with him, and
declares that he does not consider himself bound to anything
for the moment.
Amid these negotiations parliament is raising money and men
with the utmost violence. They have sent to Essex enough to
satisfy the army for five weeks, and the city has orders to have
60,000l. sterling in the space of eight days. Sixteen ships have
been ordered to sea and to watch carefully the coast of the North
so that the queen may not land with provisions, or any others
coming from Denmark. On the other side the king finds himself
powerful and is reinforced daily with soldiers deserting from this
side ; a whole company of horse has passed over to his service.
His Majesty does not think it wise to refuse these troops which
strengthen his own side and weaken the enemy ; but he has not
perfect confidence in them, fearing that there may be a plot to
assassinate him personally, of which he is reasonably suspicious.
Quite recently some of the London preachers have recommended
from their pulpits devout prayers to God for a design which a
zealous youth had undertaken for the good of the republic.
This has served as a warning to his Majesty, who has doubled his
guards, and whereas every one used to have free entry to the presence
chamber, the doors are now guarded by trusty gentlemen, and they
allow no one to enter but persons of quality and those who are known.
A serious riot took place on Sunday in one of the parishes here
between Protestants and Puritans. The latter wished to prevent
the minister from performing the usual ceremonies, but supported
by the others he joined battle with weapons, in which two persons
paid for their zeal with their lives.
The Scottish commissioners, who reached the Court as I
reported, have presented their demands to the king. These
correspond with the petition asking his Majesty to come to terms
with the parliament of England ; to give them permission to call
their own before the appointed time ; and, a very unreasonable
request, that he shall put at the queen's service persons to instruct
her in the religion of the country. So far they have received no
reply, but in spite of this they immediately asked permission
to come on here. But the king has dexterously contrived to
delay this, clearly understanding from the nature of their proposals
that they have some other object in view. It is not
believed, however, that under present circumstances he will use
violence to detain them in order to avoid providing that nation with
a stronger motive for declaring themselves actively on the side of the
parliament of England which would be the most prejudicial thing
that could happen to his Majesty's rising fortunes.
London, the 6th March, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
240. Letter from the king to the parliament, on 20 February,
1643, old style. (fn. 1)
[Italian, from the English, two pages.]
|241. Letter from the earl of Essex to the President of the
Would have given his opinion as requested if asked before the
vote was taken ; but now he knows his duty. The army is very
dispersed and there are many other difficulties. No doubt the
President has considered all the inconveniences which may arise
during the armistice and the way of meeting with them. Knows
nothing about the affair as was not present when it was discussed,
but will give an opinion if able to do so. (fn. 2)
From Windsor, the 20th February, 1643.
[Italian, from the English ; 2 pages.]
242. A gentleman for the Resident of England came into
the Collegio and presented the following memorial :
On the 3rd inst. about midnight the Captain Grande broke into
the house of one Domenico Minelli and carried him off to prison,
where he was afterwards condemned to 18 months in the galleys
merely for having played at the Resident's ball, and in order that
the sentence may not prejudice the victim or the reputation of
the house, to which he had gone merely to give the usual and
innocent carnival sports to the servants there, recourse is made
to your Serenity, it is hoped that you will not consider your laws
violated or even spurned because the Resident did not consider
himself included in a public prohibition for porters on hire, and
in not having considered such a privilege, if it may be called so,
too great for a public representative.
After this had been read the doge said, The proclamations are
made for our subjects. The man in question is our subject and
if such do not obey there would be no prince. That is all on
one head. On the other, the affair belongs to the Council of
Ten, which acts prudently after due consideration, and it is
difficult to do anything after sentence has been passed. However,
these Signors will see. With that the gentleman made his
bow and departed.
243. To the Secretary in England.
The English secretary has sent a memorial to the Collegio
complaining of the arrest of a musician, a Venetian subject,
who played the carnival at a dance given by that secretary.
Ballots as well as scandalous places of resort in general have always
been proclaimed and prohibited. Accordingly as this person
transgressed, justice took action against the transgressor, and
this has been done without there being any occasion for any
minister to complain. This information is sent in case anything
is said or if the secretary writes, to enable him to make a suitable
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 13th ult. and enclose
the usual sheet of advices.
Ayes, 104. Noes, 3. Neutral, 5.
244. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The commissioners who went to the earl of Essex for his
opinion about the conditions to propose to the king for an armistice,
have returned from Windsor with the articles, of which
I enclose a copy. These have been considered by both Houses
of parliament, and after some dispute, approved. Yesterday
they sent the usual Chiligre to Oxford to obtain a safe conduct
for the deputies who are to present them, they are the same
persons who went before, though no confidence is felt in them,
indeed there is considerable apprehension about their intentions
which on the present occasion were openly expressed in the
king's favour, into which, it is known they are restored, and they
guide their conduct by his instructions. It is thought that his
Majesty may claim during the armistice to have free intercourse,
to which they are not disposed to consent here, knowing the
prejudice that this would bring to the armies upon which they
are bound to depend for the attainment of their personal ends
(de quali sopra i proprii fini si fonda la necessita di doversi valere).
The present captious negotiations which only aim at affording an
apparent satisfaction, are not calculated to raise the slightest hope
in sensible men of seeing peace in the kingdom by these means,
since at the very same time they are plotting mischief against those
who are seeking it sincerely, and are adopting the most violent
methods to make provision for war, as your Serenity shall hear.
Among the members of the Commons who continue more heated
for sedition than ever, there have been several secret meetings
these last days in which they have discussed at length the means of
having arrested five of the Upper House who have been more venturesome
than the others in speaking in favour of peace. But
they have not yet discovered a way to lay hands on them with safety,
as they do not find a pretext that would satisfy the large number of
those who agree with these lords in wanting peace, and it is now
unlikely to happen, because those concerned are warned.
All the greatest hopes of maintaining the war are founded upon
the city of London. The Council there with the Mayor have been
to offer parliament 10,000l. sterling a week until the end of the
war. But for the fulfilment of this offer (fn. 3)
since few are willing to pay the twentieth and other new taxes
which have been imposed and which are raised daily with the
help of paid troops, who sack the houses and shops of everything
without any reference to the amount due, so that everyone is
trying to escape, and already a large number of the houses are
empty, some of the shops closed and the rest contain little or no
There was some difficulty about getting away exported goods,
as the English were afraid of making known their wealth and
losing their property through too much greed of gain. They
therefore adopted the expedient of bringing over some Jews from
Amsterdam who provide the money and carry away the goods
Dreading the approach of the royal forces to this city and unable,
owing to their violent proceedings, to trust their safety to the devotion
of the citizens, they have decided in parliament to fortify this
vast circuit. They have sent to Holland for engineers and
already they have begun the work with great energy and a large
number of navvies. But it will take a very long time and will
be most difficult to defend.
Parliament has taxed all the counties of the realm in the
same proportions as London. From these they reckon to obtain
60,000l. sterling a week. But the collection can only be carried
out where their armies have the upper hand.
It is now six days since the queen arrived at Bridlington, a
small village on the coast only 16 miles from York. She landed
there not only because it is so near York but to evade 16 parliament
ships which were waiting for her off Newcastle. She
brought with her 1000 soldiers with 300 officers and they say
she also brings 80,000l. sterling and 20,000 suits of armour.
She is now staying at a gentleman's house only two miles from
York, waiting for a safe opportunity to proceed with Newcastle's
army to Oxford. The country there is now so ravaged that it
does not admit of the union of larger forces until the season has
arrived for taking the field. Her arrival does not leave the parliamentarians
without some apprehension, not so much because of
the succour she has brought, but because of her violent resentment
against them, which they reciprocate, and the fear that her ardent
French temper may inspire the king's flegmatic one to vigorous
resolution. Thus in the secret discussions mentioned above I
understand something was plotted against her, but their deliberations
and designs have not transpired.
Sir [Ralph] Obton was closely besieging Plymouth where he
had shut up the parliamentary army of that county, when two
days ago the secretary of the earl of Stanford who commands
it, arrived here with the news that the trained bands of Devonshire
had raised the siege and captured 5 guns, although not
more than 18 were left in the fortress. There has been no confirmation
since and they are eagerly waiting to hear, as the event
is considered of no slight importance.
Prince Rupert with 4000 horse and dragoons left his quarters
at Oxford last Tuesday. His intention was to surprise a part of
the parliamentary army near here, but as this did not succeed
he has gone on to Cambridge with other designs which the result
The Scottish commissioners are still being adroitly detained
at Oxford. To one of their proposals the king replied that as
the English were not interested in the differences which exist
between him and Scotland, he did not consider that they should
interfere in those which he now has with England. The other
demands are so exorbitant that he did not think they deserved
an answer. His Majesty seems to consider that his own party
is sufficiently strong to prevent any army leaving that kingdom
in any case.
The duke of Vendome, hoping to obtain very speedily the
permission of the Most Christian, his brother, to return to France,
has desired to see the king before he takes the field, fearing that
it may not be so easy to approach him afterwards. He carried
a passport of the parliament expressing the respect that was due
to him, but in spite of this he was arrested by order of the general,
searched and most scurvily treated, at which he is much incensed. (fn. 4)
With the difficulties and perils of proceeding to the
Court I have followed the orders of the 9th January by sending
a letter to the secretary of state of which I enclose a copy, together
with one of his reply, thanking your Excellencies for
the favour shown to his Majesty's subjects and to Mr. Talbot
in particular. He asks in a postscript that steps may be taken
so that the despatches of the English ambassador at Constantinople
and those which go to him may not suffer from delay or
loss, as apparently has already happened.
London, the 13th March, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
245. On the 23rd February, 1642 at Windsor.
Terms on which an armistice may be arranged, as settled at
a conference between the Commissioners of the two Houses of
Parliament and the Council of War for the Army raised for the
defence of the realm. (fn. 5)
[Italian, from the English ; 5 pages.]
|246. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary, to the
Secretary of State Nicolas.
The Ambassador Giustinian, before he left, informed the
republic that you had expressed his Majesty's desire for the good
treatment of his subjects, and especially of Mr. Talbot, his
minister at Venice. I am instructed to assure you that English
subjects will always receive the best of treatment, and that Mr.
Talbot shall receive the most unmistakable tokens of good will.
I cannot discharge this office orally because of the difficulties of
the way, so I take the present means in order that you may
inform his Majesty and assure him at the same time of the unalterable
regard of the most serene republic.
London, the 26—16 February, 1643.
|247. The Secretary of State Edward Nicolas to Sig. Agostini.
Thanks for the communication and appreciation of the friendly
offices of the Ambassador Giustinian. Asks that instructions
may be given to the officials concerned, at Venice, that letters
to and from his Majesty's ambassador at Constantinople, may
be forwarded in accordance with their direction, if by chance
the occasional delay and loss of the letters is due to them.
Oxford, the 22nd February, 1642.
[Italian, from the English.]
248. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
In the important matter of the currants I have to report that
some days ago the ship "William George" arrived in the Downs,
which was expected with 700 thousand of the fruit, laded in
Cephalonia. Those interested and especially the Sheriff Langam
had tried their hardest to obtain permission from parliament
to unlade it. Failing in this they had it conveyed on a small
ship under the pretence of sending it to Holland, but this came
into the River and the fruit was secretly unladed in this city.
Although this has come to the knowledge of the Directors of
the Levant Company, they dare not denounce persons of such
influence under present circumstances, especially as the governor
of the Company is in prison for refusing to pay taxes. (fn. 6)
This incident may possibly influence the Directors to seek
general freedom for the trade, in order that it may not be restricted
to persons of influence. with the abuses involved. Having
had occasion to speak with Mr. Henry Wen, chief of the Commissioners
for Trade, I have been able to satisfy myself how little
those Commissioners incline to the introduction of currants from
the Morea, especially as the Company has not made the smallest
request for this, since the presentation of their petition, so long
ago. But in order to sound their views I did not neglect to
mention the inferior quality of the Morea fruit while drawing
attention to the facilities and good treatment always offered
to English ships and subjects in the islands of your Excellencies.
At the meeting of the Levant Company last month, with the
appointment of their officials, Giles Bol was chosen for the consulship
in the Morea in the place of Ider. (fn. 7) He will start for there
in a few months, and I shall watch to see what orders are given
London, the 20th March, 1643.
|249. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The long discussions about the conditions for the armistice,
which have delayed the appearance at Oxford of Chiligre, who
was only sent to ask a safeconduct for the commissioners, have
enabled the king to get information about them. Accordingly
his Majesty has decided to forestall them by sending here Mr.
Cheri, his chamberlain. This helps him to make plain to his
subjects his desire for peace and their welfare, which parliament
is trying to suppress by false information. He arrived on Saturday
evening and brought complaints from his Majesty about the
loss of so much time, so that the armistice can no longer begin
on the 1st of March, as decided. To facilitate it he granted the
12th of this style, and agrees to all the articles except the use of
the ships under other commanders than those appointed by him,
and the prohibition of trade, as he understood they required
safeconducts for the passage of munitions of war and soldiers
so he was determined for his part that there should be free transit
for his subjects and for all other persons. He further wished
that during the period of the armistice no one should be molested
in his person or goods for any cause soever.
On Monday morning, the first meeting of parliament since
Cheri's arrival, as they were reading this message of the king,
Chiligre arrived back with the safeconduct. From this Baron
Se, one of the commissioners to whom the Lower House had
communicated its most secret intentions, is excluded, but room
is left for someone else to be nominated provided he is not
publicly declared a traitor, like Se.
Excitement was so great in the Commons that even the Lords
who favour the king were obliged to declare that it was not proper
to consent to such proposals, and in any case, if they could not
find a way to continue the negotiations, they would share fortunes
with them ; this in order to avoid some passionate decision
which would have been taken had they chosen to support the
king. The offer was accepted, and in order to try them, although
they did not trust them much, among the commissioners appointed
to consider the message and the king's reply they have
included all the Upper House and 40 of the Lower. So far
these have come to no decision except to send six deputies to the
earl of Essex for his opinion, who have not yet returned.
Meanwhile the city of London when asked to advance 60,000l.
sterling upon the offer and contribution of 10,000l. per week,
has refused unless the Lords are the first to be taxed, and unless
it is decided to give the people the oath of association, to show
in whom they may trust. Against this oath the king has sent
a proclamation denouncing as rebels and traitors those who take
it. This increases the difficulties in the way of imposing it,
which have been under discussion for some little time.
With incredible cost and effort they are proceeding with the
fortifications of this city, and they do not even cease work on
Sunday, which is so strictly observed by the Puritans. The
plan of the work is commended by experts, but to complete
and defend them must necessarily be most difficult.
The queen sent a page to the king from Bridlington with the
news of her arrival and of the bad behaviour of two parliamentary
ships, which fired their guns at her as she was landing and afterwards.
The page fell into the hands of the parliamentarians,
and the letter has been sent here. They have been impressed
by another letter from the Princess Palatine to her son Prince
Rupert, in which she encourages him to serve the king. They
have sent this back to the princess with remonstrances and it
affords a reason for further delay in paying to her agent some
money of her pension, for which he is constantly asking.
With the permission of parliament they have published the
protest left by the queen in Holland at her departure against
the States, in order to increase their irritation against her and the
Prince of Orange, and to add to her unpopularity here, as she speaks
in terms of absolute and independent dominion.
Baron Brach who went to Warwickshire to take the small
village of Lizfil, has been killed in capturing it, with only five
of his soldiers. (fn. 8) The loss is very serious to parliament as he
was one of the most trusted leaders of the party, and at one
time there was some idea at entrusting him with the command
of all their armies (e sopra cui gia correva disegno di appogiare la
condotta di tutte le armi).
The king had an understanding with Colonel Essex, governor
of Bristol for the surrender of that very important place, but the
inhabitants having found this out, they lured him out of the
castle by a stratagem and put him in prison.
A Spanish merchant ship driven by stress of weather to the
coast of Lancashire, with men and munitions of war on board,
has been seized by order of parliament, on the supposition that
it was proceeding to Ireland. (fn. 9)
London, the 20th March, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
250. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The commissioners sent to General Essex report that in his
opinion it is not convenient to agree to freedom of intercourse
during the armistice as desired by the king, unless all persons
proceeding to Oxford are thoroughly searched. This was promptly
accepted by the Upper House. But the Lower has not yet
concurred, and continues its discussions without a decision,
affording further confirmation how little they wish to arrive
at any sincere treaty. But in the same Chamber, however
cold they may be in the time spent over peace, they make up
for it in the ardour they show in the time devoted to preparation
for war, from which the prime movers still cling to the hope of
extracting the profit they have set before themselves, even though at
the moment they are not encouraged to make the supreme effort.
They believe that they have nothing to fear, whatever happens,
basing their confidence upon these very important heads, supposing
these to be substantially sound : the absolute control of the city of
London, the command of the ships and the hopes of assistance from
the Scots. But any movement of the last is meeting with difficulties,
while as they have to entrust the command of the ships to a single
chief, who might by that means adjust his interests with the king, it
would seem that their chief ground of confidence rests upon the city
of London alone. Even here they suffer no slight opposition and
peril, so that they cannot be sure that the offer of the mayor and council
of 10,000l. a week will not fall short in its realisation owing to
evasions and the flight of the inhabitants, or whether their violence
may not be of short duration, without other support than the opinions
of the favouring party, which are subject to change. So they decided
on the fortifications. These are being pushed forward with all
diligence, and from the progress they are making seem likely to be
of some consideration. The shape they take betrays that they are
not only for defence against the royal armies, but also against
tumults of the citizens, and to ensure a prompt obedience on all
occasions. In consequence of this, to furnish the most important
positions, the city itself has decided to raise 6000 foot and 2000
horse, whom they have already begun to enlist.
Moved by hopes of taking Bristol owing to the understanding
with the governor, and others, the king sent Prince Rupert in
that direction with 8000 men ; but with the discovery and imprisonment
of the accomplices, the prince had to return empty
to his quarters. But the move caused great alarm to the General
Essex, who gathering his forces with difficulty, was preparing
to march. This has been stopped through the emergency ceasing.
At the same time Prince Maurice who went to invest Gloucester
with other troops, has been obliged to retire with loss. Obton,
who now has the title of viscount, being forced by the militia
of the neighbouring counties to withdraw from the siege of
Plymouth, suggested a suspension of hostilities to the earl of
Stanford, the parliamentary leader, fearing that he could not
hold out against so many hostile armies in that province. It
seems that the earl was inclined to agree, on very advantageous
conditions, when parliament sent an express from here to stop
him. However, Obton has profited by the gain of time to increase
his strength through the arrival of a merchantman from Bordeaux
with munitions, of which he was in the greatest need.
On the arrival of the queen at York, Fairfax, the parliamentary
general in that province, sent to ask a passport for a gentleman
whom he intended to send to her with some offers. This being
granted he sent a relation of his (fn. 10) to tell her that if she wished to
proceed to Oxford without men, money or arms, he would have
her escorted safely to the border. The queen not only refused
the offer, which was a dangerous one, but had the gentleman who
came arrested, greatly to the disgust of Fairfax.
The government of Scotland also has sent four leading lords
to her Majesty, (fn. 11) it is supposed to pay their respects, but no news
has yet arrived of their reception or offices, which is awaited with
An express has reached Oxford to the Scottish commissioners
to learn the reason of their delay, and with orders to return with
or without a reply, if the king will not allow them to proceed to
Parliament has intercepted several letters of his Majesty,
some for the queen, others for Mr. Montegu at Brussels. Some
were in cipher, to which they have given their own interpretation,
in a printed paper which does not, however, contain the letters
An Assembly of bishops gathered by the king at Oxford has
established the liturgy of the Anglican Church in conformity
with the ancient methods and with the other observed in the
time of Queen Elizabeth. He sent it on here with a proclamation
ordaining its observation in all the parishes, in virtue of his
supremacy over the Church. Its object is to control the Puritans,
but in the present disorders which are sustained by the liberty of
conscience and the multiplicity of religions, force has superseded
the laws, and does not allow any other influence to prevail.
On representations made by a private individual complaining
of the stay of the Capuchin fathers here an order was passed in
the Commons to direct them to leave at once. But upon the
remonstrance of the agent of the Most Christian (fn. 12) and through
the offices of the French gentlemen here, the Upper House has
tried to obtain a postponement until the 15th April next, which
may easily be extended through the efforts which are expected
from France from the king there, who shows himself very ardent
in upholding this cause.
The duke of Vendome, with the permission of that monarch,
has left for France this morning. He leaves deeply offended with
the parliamentarians here. At the very moment when he was
taking ship in the river they sent a company of horse to arrest
him, and he would not have got away to-day had not the duke of
Epernon and the marquis de la Wieville who remain here, made
themselves answerable for him to the parliament.
London, the 27th March, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
251. To the Secretary in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 20th and 27th February
and the 6th March. His diligence and caution are called
for amid the conflict of interests, both in arms and in negotiation.
Have received information that deputies are being sent from
Scotland to France for the renewal of the old treaties. Enclose
sheet of advices.
Ayes, 117. Noes, 0. Neutral, 7.