285. To the Secretary in England.
Acknowledges receipt of his letters of the 14th ult. full of
advices of the encroachments of the Lower House upon the royal
prerogative, and with the news of Holland. The ambassador
elect to the Most Christian, Giovanni Battista Nani, has sent some
of his goods by sea in a ship sailing to Dover on its way to France.
You will apply to parliament for a permit for the free transport
of these goods, but you must do so by some private intermediary,
without committing the state, in case the king is incapable of
granting one, so that it may be delivered on the arrival of the
ship and that the goods may be able to pass over in safety.
Ayes, 104. Noes, 7. Neutral, 11.
286. Gerolamo Agostini. Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
By the occupation of a hill and with a fort well supplied with
canon the royalists have made Oxford safe and prevented Essex
from advancing compelling him to take a position unfavourable
for attack and there to distribute his quarters, while they could
await further reinforcements from other parts. Meanwhile, to
avoid losing opportunities through sloth, and learning from
Colonel Ori, who went over to him as reported, that supplies of
money for the army were to reach Essex from here, the king
sent Prince Rupert with 2000 horse to meet it. He missed the
booty by a few hours, but beating up the nearest quarters he
gained the advantage in a skirmish, though, it was of slight
importance. I hear that another fight of greater consequence
took place afterwards. (fn. 1) As they only speak of it here in whispers
one concludes that they came off the worse, but the loss did not
exceed 800 men.
The forces of Erford and Obton, united and powerful, have
thwarted Waller from carrying out his orders to prevent their
advance towards the king. They are moving in that direction,
leaving Exeter surrounded by the troops of the country and some
of their own.
The queen with 2000 infantry and 3000 horse has advanced
successfully without opposition to Niuwarch, halfway between
York and Oxford. She was to resume her march on Wednesday,
her numbers augmented by the men found there. The route led
through Cambridge, to avoid the hostile county of Nottingham,
and it is thought that by now she cannot be far from the king,
from whom the news is expected at any moment. The parliamentarians
regret this union, not only because of the increase of the
royal forces, but because the queen, in her hostility to them, will
induce the king to take more vigorous steps, and will not listen to the
corrupt advice of those friendly to this side who are about his Majesty.
Three leaders with sufficient forces were ordered to prevent
the march, but they have done nothing, and there is deep suspicion
here of their loyalty. For this reason they have sent
Meldron, a Scot of good capacity, to take command of all those
forces, and to arrest Hoddam, the chief commander among them,
as he has done. This sudden step has given great concern to the
other two leaders and to the troops as well, and creates some apprehension
that the father, who has the custody of the important fortress
of Ult, may not show resentment, although cruelty and barbarity
have reached such a pitch among this people that passion has a much
stronger influence than respect or natural affection.
These successful though insignificant actions together with the
hope of considerable reinforcements for the king have encouraged
the Lords, otherwise abject and despised, to draw up a paper in
which they petition his Majesty to consider once again the old
proposals for peace. This passed the Upper House and was
proposed in the Lower on the plea of preventing so much bloodshed.
They have taken time to consider, but it is considered very
doubtful by many whether they will consent to fresh negotiations,
after having given the rein to such violent and seditious proposals
On the question of counterfeiting the great seal coming before
the Upper House for the second time they did not take a vote,
but answered that if it was found necessary, they would agree,
but seeing that the orders of the two Chambers were carried out
without such authentication, they considered the use of the seal
superfluous, since the use of the same seal by both parties would
bring it into disrepute among the people.
The articles against the queen have been once read in the Lower
House reduced to the number of 13. I have not yet been able
to secure a copy but understand that it is all included under the
two heads of having favoured the papistical religion and in having
tried to introduce war into the kingdom.
Parliament has been ordered by the government of Scotland,
although under another title, for the 22nd June. The king does
not oppose this, but as it has been done without his assent, and
forty days in advance of the period prescribed, he is sending
writs to Scotland to convoke it by his own order. But the
government has declined to distribute them, confirming its own
convocation. Accordingly the king has issued an express
prohibition, declaring that to proceed is an act of disobedience
and rebellion. The people there are greatly incensed at this and
have placed guards on the five lords sent there by his Majesty.
They are collecting a powerful army, though it is not believed
that this will be in a position to leave the country, since the
royalists are active and serve to introduce division, if nothing
else. Yet it will render that frontier a cause for misgiving
especially with the weakening of the forces in Yorkshire, where
Newcastle is left alone with little more than 8000 men.
The king is labouring to give peace to the rebels of Ireland, so
that he may be able to use them in England. Parliament is
therefore doing everything in its power to prevent it. Some days
ago the commissioners for that kingdom were treating with
individual merchants to induce them to provide money and
ships, offering a reward upon certain towns and places when
recovered. But the offer is opposed by the merchants interested
in the first bargain, to whom the same places were pledged so it
will be very difficult to raise money upon such an uncertain basis.
Parliament has issued a book blaming the States General for
the permission given to the queen to leave Holland and take with
her arms, money and officers, as also for the scant respect shown
to their deputy Stricland, to whom they have given no reply as
yet. It remarks on the first beginnings of their liberties, the
causes and means whereby they freed themselves from the
Catholic, and shows by passages from the scriptures how they
are bound in conscience to support and assist the parliamentary
cause by every possible means. The secretary left here by the
Ambassador Joachimi says he will protest against this book,
but he is waiting to hear first from his master, to whom he has
The Prince of Orange has collected his army at Filippine,
intending, it would appear, to attack in Guelders rather than in
Flanders, since it is considered too late to engage in long and
London, the 3rd July, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
287. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The proposal by the Lords to the Commons to petition the
king for the renewal of peace negotiations has not only met
with opposition from the latter, but they have been so stirred by
a fresh incident, which I will relate, that the sword is the only
antidote left to assuage their poison. His Majesty has sent a
long proclamation here, in which after enumerating the many
audacious proposals of the parliamentarians, he puts in the
forefront the charges against the queen for having carried out
his orders, and concludes by declaring the parliament null
because it is not free, and its acts void, though reserving to
himself the power to confirm those which he considers for the
general good of the realm. He protests that he will not receive
any more deputations from them, as being a body unlawfully
assembled. At the same time he pardons those who have in
any way offended against the duties of good subjects, except
17, including five peers. He exhorts them to come to Oxford,
where he hints at an intention, though not clearly expressed, to
assemble the same parliament. He promises to receive them with
paternal affection, allowing them such liberty of speech as may
serve to settle matters in a manner satisfactory to every moderate
They have not allowed the publication of this proclamation,
and use all diligence to stop copies. Yet it has been read in
full parliament. After this one of the leaders of the revolt spoke
in the name of the Lower House. He said that the intention of
the king was now clear, to destroy parliament, abolish the fundamental
laws of the realm and reduce to slavery the liberty given by God to
the English people. In fulfilment of the oath taken by both
chambers they ought to unite and encourage everyone to uphold
their liberty not only with their substance but with the last drop
of their blood. They must prosecute the trial of the queen
with energy ; renew the seal ; forbid all correspondence with
Oxford ; maintain and increase trade outside for the benefit
of the customs ; register the horses in London ; make no more
proposals to the king ; press to the utmost for Scotch help ; and
finally, put aside all consideration and endeavour that the ruin
shall fall on him who is trying to destroy this fabric. (fn. 2)
This discourse produced the effect intended, and the well
intentioned Lords, intimidated by such vigour in the Commons,
let slip the opportunity to oppose, which was propitious and
dreaded, since the king shows himself powerful and resolute.
So his Majesty will not derive an advantage equivalent to the damage
which these lords have brought him, and at present they pay more
attention to preserving their own property than to recovering their
authority, fallen, with that of the king, into the hands of the people.
The king has also gained a considerable advantage by the
death, at the same time, of Hampden, one of the 17 leading
rebels and considered wiser than any of the others (di maggior
condotta d' ogni altro). He was wounded in the first encounter
with the royal cavalry, acting as colonel and with the direction of
the whole army of Essex.
This general remains in the same quarters as before, and is
thought more likely to retire than to advance to any attack.
This has caused murmuring in this city, which has had two
great alarms in recent nights, parties of the royal cavalry having
sacked some places quite near.
The marquis of Erfort and Obton have the way clear to Oxford.
Waller is following them, but at a distance, being in no condition
to attack. But they are moving slowly, to receive contributions
and see the issue at Exeter, which is surrounded by their men.
The queen started from Niuwarch towards Nottingham, where
meeting with opposition from the enemy, at the first encounter
she decided to retire, five leading men of her followers being
slain. She is still staying at Niuwarch which is quite strong.
It is not known whether she will again attempt to pass. At the
news of her moving the king sent 1500 horse to meet her, while
Essex sent 2000 to reinforce his side, who have all returned.
Meanwhile the tutor of the two young princes here having
died, parliament has appointed another, a creature of their own
(a sua devotione). (fn. 3)
On Sunday and Wednesday last, being the day of the general
fast, they decided to give the oath of the covenant in the churches ;
but it was not done, as they are somewhat afraid of proposing
it since many leaders of the army have refused to take it. Yet
they have printed the order to be observed by every parish, and
say that it will take place on Sunday next. Meanwhile many
are trying to escape to avoid being forced against their wills
Parliament has assembled in Scotland against the will of the
king, but under the title of assembly of the estates. No news
has yet arrived of any decision of consequence there, although
an unfriendly spirit is displayed against his Majesty's party, and
they are energetically collecting troops, which will serve to defend
the assembly and to enforce its decisions. What more they will
be used for remains in doubt. The parliamentarians here do not
neglect, even by inventions, to sharpen the hatred of that nation
against the king. They state that their commanders in Ireland
have taken a person sent by his Majesty with patents and commission
to lead an army of rebels into Scotland, intending to take
it to England also. They are preparing a declaration upon this
fact, which is as veracious as the conspiracy of London, and meanwhile
they sent a courier yesterday to Scotland with the news.
Patents having arrived from General Essex for a Court Martial
on the alleged accomplices in the conspiracy, they have chosen
as President the earl of Manchester, one of the five lords excluded
from the pardon, with authority to choose what judges
he pleases, up to 20, though twelve will be enough to act.
The cause is being heard to-day in the Guildhall before a great crowd,
the occasion being used to make it more credible (per imprimer
la credenza). Yesterday evening Waller, possibly with some
hope of saving his life, accused of complicity the earls of
Northumberland and Holland, men of the highest standing, who
were immediately examined, but they have not yet found a way
to imprison them.
Some small English merchantmen crossing to this kingdom
from Dunkirk escorted by a ship of war sent by Warwick, were
taken without any ceremony by the Dutch, under the pretext
that they were carrying contraband. However, Warwick has
had his revenge, as ten very rich Dutch ships arriving afterwards
in the Downs, some of them for the West, he had them seized,
informing parliament, who confirmed the arrest until the others
should be released. It is expected that this will be done without
It seems that the Prince of Orange meant to besiege Ulst, as
he circled about it with his army, but ultimately he has let it
appear that he does not mean to undertake any siege, and he only
took the field to give some outward satisfaction to the French.
London, the 10th July, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
288. The Secretary of England came into the Collegio and
spoke as follows :
There has been a great disturbance at my house this morning.
A gentleman of ours took a gondola from the ferry with one of
my gondoliers and went to carry off a nun. As the nuns called
after them, the gondoliers stopped rowing, not having known
the woman for a nun as she entered the boat cloaked. My
gondolier came to inform me of the incident and I have dismissed
him. I have come to inform your Serenity that you may know
I have no part or blame in the matter, and I wash my hands of
such a black, shameful and infamous affair, nor do I know what
more I can do to show my displeasure and my innocence.
The doge said, We have not heard anything of this. It seems
strange that such things should happen from your house with
your household. We will make enquiry.
The Resident replied, The six years I have resided here may
testify to your Serenity the manner in which I have conducted
myself, and there has been no mischance or accident to disturb
it. With that he made his bow and went out.
289. The Secretary of England came into the Collegio and
To avoid being compromised in an action such as that of
recent memory, I came to tell you of all that I knew in the matter.
It seemed strange that this youth should have tried to commit
such an excess, because he was considered, even among the
English, as most modest and discreet. But having little experience
in these affairs of women he has been deceived by a
wicked old woman. If he had meant to carry off the girl he
would have gone with more guards and more disguised, he would
have employed more rowers and not have employed one in livery.
If this does not suffice to prove his innocence, I hope that the
certainty that he had no intention of doing wrong may have some
influence with your Serenity.
The doge replied, The violation of places reserved for the
service of God is an intolerable crime. If he has any defence,
justice will hear it ; in the meantime it will take its course, and
we hope that the result will be to absolve him and send him back
to your house. With that the secretary made his bow and went
290. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England
to the Doge and Senate.
General Essex has now been a long time confronting the king
with a numerous army, not only without attempting any generous
enterprise, but wasting money and men in sloth. He has not
even hindered parties of the enemy cavalry who, confiding in
his negligence and indolence have advanced to ravage places
right up to this city. Moved by this, there has been much
murmuring against him, and this coming to his ears has induced
him to write an indignant letter to the Lower House complaining
that all his actions or delays are censored without consideration
for the numerous obstacles he has to deal with. He declared
that it is unsuitable and prejudicial to confer with him about his
plans, secrecy being necessary for their proper management,
and he intimates that he would have carried them into execution
if he had been promptly supplied with what he asked. If not,
he asked them to choose another general, placing his office in
their hands. Such a letter has caused no slight consternation,
owing to the difficulty of meeting his requests, the city itself
having grown tired of contributing. While they were discussing
their reply another letter arrived from the general stating
that in conformity with his orders he had essayed to give the
oath to the army, and this had led to no small stir, twelve of his
most trusted colonels having refused to take it. Since it was
impossible for him not only to fulfil the order but to quiet the
disturbance, he asked that commissioners might be sent to
consult with him and to perform what was requisite with greater
authority. The fact was borne out by another letter from these
same colonels to the parliament ; but it was only read before
secret commissioners, who are in considerable doubt owing to
the ambiguity of one of their expressions, in which they say they
know what is becoming to good and loyal subjects. Accordingly
6 commissioners were chosen without delay, two of the
Upper and four of the Lower House, who set out immediately
for the spot. But they had not gone 20 miles when they had to
return, on hearing that the royal cavalry was occupying all the
roads, and that it was trying to draw the army of Essex into a
battle. But this has not taken place, as he has withdrawn to
Alsberi, and it is believed he will soon return to Windsor having
lost little less than 8000 men, with sick and deserters and a few
engagements, in all of which he was worsted.
These favourable events are seconded by a considerable
victory won by the king's arms in the North, in which the earl
of Newcastle routed Fairfax (fn. 4) and has him shut up in Bradford,
without having raised the siege of Litz, so there is little doubt of
the capture of those two places, which will ensure the obedience
of the great county of York, estimable for itself, but much more
as being next to Scotland.
The queen did not succeed in her attempt to reach Oxford
by Nottingham, as I wrote. It is reported that she is again
ready to move. She has written to the king that she is strong
enough to pass, and needs no help. But she does not say which
way she will come, hoping that secrecy and speed will constitute
her surest escort.
Meanwhile the son of Oddam, governor of Uls, has escaped and
gone to arrange with his father for the surrender of that important
fortress to his Majesty, the first stone of offence in this great
machine. But the soldiers, grown suspicious have arrested both
and all the family, sending them here by sea. They were found
to have amassed 40,000l. sterling. The incident is not all loss
to the king, for though he has not obtained that fortress, he has
reduced the rebel party and given rise to discords among them.
Exeter is still besieged, with good hope, and Warwick has
failed in all his efforts to introduce succour by small boats from
the sea, some of them having fallen into the hands of the besiegers.
The marquis of Erfort united with Prince Maurice, has
not ventured to leave those quarters at the mercy of Waller,
who is respected as a soldier of experience, weak as he is.
Laws and justice being destroyed four persons have so far been
condemned to death on the pretence of complicity in the conspiracy,
who were guilty of no other crime than devotion to God and loyalty
to the king. Two of them have suffered, with courage on Wednesday
the spectacle being given in front of their own houses. (fn. 5) Waller who
was arrested first as the chief, has not yet been sentenced. He
hopes to save himself being induced by his feeble heart and spirit
to accuse those who are most distasteful to the party, as he is told to
do. Five pecrs have been nominated by him so far, who display
an equal determination to uphold the privileges of their rank at all
risks and not to submit to any jurisdiction contrary to the laws.
Last Saturday was held the first sitting of the synod at Westminster
at which there was nothing but a sermon. They have
not met since, being convoked merely to give an apparent satisfaction
in the present confusion of religion, and not to regulate
anything with true zeal of devotion.
The parliament under the name of assembly is still sitting at
Edinburgh, but in great confusion. It has done nothing so far
except to declare some of the royalists traitors. The city is defended
by 10,000 soldiers under the command of Lesle. As governor of the
castle he wished it to be supplied with food for a year, but parliament
will only supply it month by month. This shows their mistrust
of that commander, and this must necessarily alienate his affection,
which the king has already cultivated with many benefits.
The Dutch ships are still sequestrated, with considerable loss
to the merchants concerned. These remonstrate through their
agents, but have not been able to obtain their release. There
is talk indeed of bringing them into the River, which would not
be without danger to the cargo, and consequently of increasing
misunderstandings with the States.
The Prince of Orange seems clearly determined not to engage
in any enterprise in this campaign. He remains entrenched at
Sas di Ghent, his sole object being to avoid offending the French
In execution of my instructions I performed the offices by
letters to the Secretary of State, of which I enclose copies together
with his reply, showing the views and desires of his Majesty. (fn. 6)
London, the 17th July, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
291. Representations have been made from Zante and
Cephalonia that the price of currants is so reduced that whereas
they sold for 35 to 40 reals the thousand they now fetch barely
6 or 8, and they attribute this falling off chiefly to excessive
taxation. We reply that the islands have themselves wrought
the mischief by increasing the plantations, so that where, as
in Cephalonia, they used to produce 8 to 9 millions, the output is
now about 15 millions. At Zante the increase is of 50 per cent.
and over. The laws against further plantation have had no
effect and we are of opinion that they should be enforced.
With regard to reducing the duties, the newest duty, of 5 per
thousand, to which objection is taken, depends upon the traders
themselves. The duty was imposed to attract them to Venice,
instead of going to Genoa and Leghorn, and they can always
escape it by coming to this city. A remission of the duty would
only worsen the condition on this mart. If the merchants do
not come here with their complete cargoes it is true that they are
subject to a tax of 10 ducats on currants, 5 ducats for the newest
duty and 4 ducats for the ordinary export duty, together with
the loss on the exchange. We do not recommend the abolition
of the newest duty, but if the Senate contemplates some reduction
of the duties, which are certainly very heavy, this might be done
on the old duty of 10 ducats, since we consider that every facility
should be given to the English, in order to remove restrictions
With regard to the petition from Zante to have the price of
currants fixed, we do not consider this practicable, as the price
depends upon the abundance or scarcity of a commodity, and it
is not likely that the English would come of their own accord to
trade at fixed prices.
Dated at the office, the 20th July, 1643.
Zuanne Francesco Venier
292. The French ambassador came into the Collegio and
spoke in conformity with a paper which he handed in, he said :
All the ministers here agree in pitying the case of the secretary
of England here, and I add my supplication that compassion
may be shown to him, or his punishment reduced, as his error
was due to youthful ardour more than to anything else.
The doge replied that the fault was very grave because it was
a question of a holy place. They would take into consideration
his recommendation, to do what was possible, but the excess was
very grave. The ambassador said, he is worthy of sympathy,
rose and departed.
293. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
General Essex has written to parliament from Alsberi that
with his cavalry reduced by desertion and sickness while the few
left lack arms, money and spirit, he is in no position to keep the
field in the face of the daily increasing forces of the king, unless
he is promptly reinforced and assisted. As it is to be feared that
the provision for so many contingencies may not be easy or quick,
he considers it prudent and even necessary to suggest proposals
for an adjustment to his Majesty, with safeguards to secure
religion, the laws and their lives, prescribing a single day for the
treaty, and if that passed without a conclusion, he would ask his
Majesty to withdraw to a safe place and give battle to the army,
as he did not wish to fight against his Majesty's person.
The tenor of this letter, so contrary to the views of the most seditious
parliamentarians is enough in itself to make it likely that it has
aroused the most lively suspicions of Essex, especially after his
other letters, which I reported. Some proposed to remove him and
appoint another general in his place, but the majority thought the
sudden change dangerous, especially in face of the royal army, his
leading officers being under obligation to him, with his most liberal
table. They therefore decided to write him a letter, on which
they voted, pointing out that the king's last proclamation annulling
the parliament and refusing to receive any message from
it, prevents them from making proposals of peace. Moreover
they cannot decide this without the consent of the Scots, who are
interested in the cause. This would take time and would be
an improper demand under present circumstances. He must
therefore maintain his army in strength and loyalty, which will
soon be reinforced and provisioned to enable it to resist any
assault as well as to undertake such enterprises as he may deem
fit for the common liberty. Meanwhile by an extraordinary
effort they have sent him 20,000l. sterling, which will not go far.
The Upper House, overborne and intimidated by violence, has
not only approved this letter, but has urged the commissioners
for Scotland to start at once, to induce that nation to enter
England with an army. But it was only carried by two votes,
seven to nine.
The inhabitants of London, even the most zealous for liberty,
tired of the taxes and suspicious of General Essex, have intimated
to the mayor and council that they do not intend to keep on
enriching with their money those who are interested in making
the war last for ever. Instead of contributing, as they have done
so far, they are ready to put into the field and to maintain entirely
at their expense 10,000 soldiers, but they want the commander
and the officers to be dependent on the Council. When
laid before parliament the suggestion was not approved as they saw
clearly that the city aims at usurping the chief power over them.
However, they are negotiating and necessity may easily induce
parliament to concede something, especially as the support of this
war rests upon the city alone (dipendendo massime il sostenimento
di questa guerra dalla sola citta).
Meanwhile, to help themselves they report two victories
gained by Waller over Obton and the marquis of Erfort ; but
the truth is difficult to learn since they do not allow any couriers
to pass but those who bring news to suit their wishes.
News is also eagerly awaited of the queen joining the king,
which should now have happened. Nothing is certain except
that she has set out with 3000 foot and 2000 good horse, and has
passed the most dangerous places. The king has sent a part of
his army a few miles from Oxford to meet her.
In Yorkshire Newcastle has captured Litz and is still besieging
Bradford. Fairfax has escaped to Uls. They have secured the
river by placing a garrison at a post near by. He has sent full
information here of his plans and requirements by the ship which
is bringing Odam, which has not yet arrived owing to contrary
Although four were condemned to death for the conspiracy,
only two have paid the penalty, and the others are kept in suspense.
The death of the first did not produce a favourable impression
among the generality of the people, for though ignorant they cannot
help resenting the absolute power usurped by parliament over the
lives of all, breaking and abusing the laws. Some lords, ladies and
others are still in prison, and they do not deal with their cases,
although they press for this.
The synod has met a second time, when ten articles of the
Anglican religion were brought forward to be examined, to the
scandal of the more devout who think it strange to call in question
the foundation of their faith. They will proceed slowly as they
only want to gain time, without deciding anything, to avoid offending
the other sectaries, who all help for the immediate occasion, binding
themselves to a single form of belief (obligandosi ad una sola credenza).
In the parliament or assembly of Scotland nothing has been done
except the exclusion from it, under lying pretences, of all known
partisans of the king. They have, however, reinstated some who
demeaned themselves to ask pardon and to bind themselves
to the party.
In execution of your instructions of the 2nd July an ample
passport from parliament has been sent for the import and export
of the goods of Sig. Nani. I presented a memorial in the name of
Edward Piters, merchant at Dover, and under a pretext of
bringing to notice his efforts on behalf of that nobleman I assisted
him with my offices to the most confidential parliamentarians,
so I got what I wanted, using all the caution prescribed.
London, the 24th July, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
294. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince of Orange remains inactive between Flanders and
Brabant, amid the murmurs of some of the Provinces, who
burdened with taxes see no gain from their arms except to support
what the French have won. Don Francisco di Melo, quartered
between Sas de Gand and Bruges has now over 80 cornets besides
his infantry. He has sent Cantelmo with 1400 men to occupy
the route by which the Dutch come, near Namur. General
Bech, having entered Luxemburg with 5000 foot and 1500 horse,
is trying to relieve Teonville and to harass the French besieging it.
The States of all the Provinces are to meet shortly at the Hague,
to make some change in the government. It is said they mean
to limit the power of the States General, which often let themselves
be won by the gold and authority of the Prince of Orange.
They will draw up instructions for the plenipotentiaries going
to the Congress of Munster, though only the province of Holland
has chosen hers, Matanes, Pau and count William of Nassau.
The others are disputing over the persons, and are in no hurry
since it seems doubtful if the congress will be held, the French
apparently desiring the peace negotiations to be at their Court
and not elsewhere.
The king here has written angrily to the States General because
they have treated with Stricland, and received him as a public
minister. He protests that this is not only ingratitude for
favours received from his predecessors, but an infringement of
the alliance with this crown. They seem to care little for this
since the deputies for the Province of Zeeland have proposed in
the Assembly to ordain one day each month for a solemn fast
and prayers for the success of the English parliament ; but
nothing has been decided yet. In Rotterdam there are persons
sent by his Majesty to buy arms, munitions and other provisions
of war, but they find it difficult as the merchants want an insurance
for the ships supposing they are captured by Warwick.
Of the English ships seized by the Dutch they say they will
restore everything known to belong to the merchants here, but
the Dutch arrested in England are not satisfied with this, as they
have suffered considerable losses.
The King of Denmark lays claim to dominion over the Baltic
Sea. His Admiral required certain Swedish ships to lower their
topsails to him in recognition of this. As they would not obey
the king has issued orders to treat the Swedes as enemies. Count
Udmor son of that king by his second wife, is to marry the daughter
of the Muscovite, which will cause the utmost jealousy to the
crown of Sweden. The Ambassador of the King of Congo has
proceeded to the army and had audience of the Prince of Orange,
but it was purely complimentary. Ten rich ships have reached
Amsterdam from the East for the Company there.
London, the 24th July, 1643.
295. The Resident of the King of Great Britain came into
the Collegio and spoke as follows :
I have this letter for your Serenity from the count Palatine.
The letter was read and is as follows :
Charles Louis, count Palatine of the Rhine etc., to Francisco
Erizzo, Doge of Venice.
His occasion for writing is the peace conference to take place
at Osnabruck on the 1—11 prox., firstly to thank the doge for
obtaining a safe conduct for him from the emperor ; secondly to
commend to the Signory the cause of his House so that it may be
restored to its rights and dignities. If the ancient liberties of
Germany are not vindicated there will be no peace in the empire
or elsewhere. Compliments.
Dated at the Hague, the 29th May, 1643.
After the reading the doge said the republic had a sincere
regard for the Palatine and will always try to serve him, whenever
opportunity offers. If necessary the Signory will send an answer.
The Resident then said Sir John Douglas petitions through me
for the few months' advanced pay for past service, notwithstanding
the necessity of his proceeding to England to serve his
Majesty. The doge said they would make enquiry and issue
orders in accordance with the requirements and justice.
The Resident further said, I must again earnestly beseech
your Serenity for the release of the member of my house who is
in prison. His innocence will appear from the examinations, and
if he is punished on earth he will certainly be absolved in Heaven.
I will not repeat how the affair occurred, but what happened to
him might have happened to any one, as he did not go with the
intention of doing ill, and any way it is better to absolve a guilty
man than to punish an innocent one. I would also draw attention
to the rank of the individual, my own office, the privileges
of ministers, the rights of nations, good relations with the king,
my master, and what you yourself would feel in like case. I
only ask most earnestly for his acquittal and release.
The doge said, We have no information upon what you represent,
and we have never heard that the law of nations and the
privileges of ministers admit of violence and scandal in sacred
places. However, we will make enquiries and will certainly do
all that we can. With this the Resident took leave and went out.
296. Sir John Douglas feels bound in honour to return to
England to serve the king, his master, who has sent for him by a
special letter, though when this occasion has ceased he most
earnestly desires to serve your Serenity, and he left Italy with
this firm determination. He wishes this memorial to testify
to his eternal obligation to the republic and his desire to sacrifice
himself for its service. He asks for an advance of the few months'
pay due to him, and will take this as a particular favour.
Col. John Douglas has been paid at the rate of 100 ducats a
month up to the 20th March, 1642. The returns show that his
company on the main land which he led under Captain Christopher
Sheston was inspected by the Proveditore General Zorzi on the
24th August, 1642.
297. That the reports of the Captain of the Conseglio and of
the Inspectors of the monasteries about the removal of a nun from
the monastery of the Convertite on the Giudecca by a youth in
a cloak and by a woman be taken for the process, together with
Ayes, 16. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
That Margarita Lucarda of Vesentino be detained and committed
to the Criminal Collegio.
Ayes, 15. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.
That John Bren, an Englishman, be detained and committed
to the Criminal Collegio.
Ayes, 13. Noes, 3. Neutral, 0.
298. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The false and mendacious reports of Waller's victories have
been converted into a complete defeat of his army, he himself
barely escaping with a few horse to Bristol. (fn. 7) After frequent
but brief skirmishes between his army and Obton's the latter
found himself so short of munitions, that he had to retire, although
with advantage. Waller took occasion to report a
victory, which was magnified again here, to encourage the party,
much cast down by other accidents. The king learning of
Obton's requirements sent Prince Rupert from Oxford in all
haste, with sufficient provisions and a reinforcement of 3000
horse. These surprised Waller, scattering his troops and capturing
all his baggage, with 16 pieces of artillery, 30 flags and 8
cornets. The wife of this esteemed and beloved commander (fn. 8)
accuses General Essex to parliament, who when asked by three
messages to approach Oxford to secure Waller against attack
there by a diversion, would never listen. The suspicions against
Essex are thus constantly gaining ground. Although some think
that this is due to envy at his high rank, the majority are persuaded
that he has secret relations with the king, his recent indolence
and the letters written to parliament being strong reasons to
prove it. However, two days ago he wrote that it will not be
long before he makes the weight of his sword felt, and make the
people speak differently from what it has done about his actions,
as he has sent for troops which are under other leaders as a reinforcement.
But the city of London has no confidence in this.
They are making great strides with their levy of 10,000 foot,
for which many of the citizens have voluntarily contributed
money, and their example will force others to contribute. The
general for this army is not yet nominated, but the people incline
to give it to Waller, who at present is unemployed. He will be
more acceptable to the parliamentarians than anyone else, as one of
their own members and over whom they can claim greater powers
in any differences which seem to be threatened, between the city
and parliament. Their aims are different, the former being moved
by true zeal for religion, while the leaders of the latter act from
private, though concealed, ambitious interest. The citizens will
expose themselves to the most extreme perils and many believe they
will win the crown of martyrdom if they lose their lives in such an
A paper started by private enthusiasts is going round for
signatures which, after slandering to the utmost the past actions
of the king, petitions parliament to force everyone capable of
bearing arms to take the field to resist any attempt that may be
made against the city. They have good cause to fear, from what
I am about to relate.
Last Saturday the queen arrived safely at Oxford, the king
meeting her several miles out. She met with no resistance on
the road, which was extended somewhat for greater security.
She brought with her 3000 foot and 2000 horse, with money and
munitions of war as well. The same rejoicings which greeted her
entry served to celebrate the victory over Waller, news of which
arrived simultaneously. Newcastle, reinforced by lucky arrivals
of men, is not only master of Yorkshire but makes himself feared
outside, having gained an advantage in Lancaster against the
countrymen, with hope that he may soon have Manchester, the
capital. Fairfax is shut up in Uls with the garrison alone, and
that is the only place left to parliament in Yorkshire, as it is
bathed by the sea.
The prisoners Odam and Colonel Gorin have arrived from
there this week. They have not yet been examined, but Fairfax's
brother has appeared to accuse the Governor Odam of
having refused to assist his army.
The violence shown in administering the oath does great harm to
the parliamentarians, as in spite of this the oath is refused by the
majority of the people, who know that it is improper and directly
contrary to others taken. Thus many of the minor parts of the
city (della poca parte della citta), although most devoted to the
party, have asked for the exception of some points from it,
and it has not been possible to refuse them. In the county of
Kent, which is so important, it has caused a rising of 3000
men. These have gathered at Senoc, 20 miles from here,
whither parliament is hourly sending with great energy guns and
cavalry, to prevent other gatherings or attempts. But as those
people have been in communication with (pratticati) the king for
some time past, the assistance intended for them should be ready,
namely the duke of Lenos with a strong force ; but it has not yet
passed. His Majesty designs to close the river on that side, and then
to do the same above, in order to reduce this city to want of all provisions
and so force it to submit, without risking his troops in attacking
the fortifications, which would be useless in such case. Amid so many
considerable disadvantages the rebels do not lose heart, but the present
occasion serves as a means to persuade those concerned to help them,
and so they are eagerly devoting themselves to making an appeal to
the Scots. Negotiations have taken place with the commissioners
of that nation here, and they offered them all the goods of the
Catholics and royalists taken by their own armies. But while
the Scots express their readiness to help, they make it clear that
they are not willing to incur a certain expense for uncertain and
feeble hopes of reward. They have presented 13 articles with
their demands, which are reasonable if ticklish, though impossible
to carry out by those here, as they claim large sums of money,
and places of refuge as well. They were examined by a few
commissioners, who would not inform parliament in order not to
discourage it about such help by so many difficulties. It is true
that while they are urging the departure of the six deputies
destined for that kingdom for some time past, three of them have
cried off under various pretexts, either because of the difficulties
they foresee or because they see some advantage on the side of
the king. Yet they have not hesitated to put in the Tower
Lord Grey, the first to refuse. Meanwhile, the mission cannot
start so soon as was expected owing to the need of making new
appointments. Meanwhile, they have persuaded the province
of Zeeland to write to the Assembly of the States, representing
the danger to their faith. To create the belief that this is the sole
aim of the rebels they have ordered an extraordinary solemn fast
in the city for to-day.
Melo, feeling satisfied that the Prince of Orange will attempt
nothing of importance, being now retired to Schinscans, proposes
to leave only the local militia opposite him while he takes his
whole army to join Bech to raise the siege of Teonville. All the
deputies have met at the Hague to choose plenipotentiaries for
the congress of Munster and to decide other important affairs.
When the earl of Warwick met with some Dutch ships of war
the captains would not vail their topsails, saying that they wished
to see the royal commissions.
I enclose a copy of an article from the Mercurius Aulicus of
last week, which is printed at Oxford with the king's consent and
information from the Secretary of State. You will observe the
reply given to the office of the Secretary Talbot, which was in
character different from the other, and they draw conclusions
favourable to his Majesty therefrom.
London, the 31st July, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
299. Copy of Article from the Mercurius Aulicus of 10th
July, 1643, old style. (fn. 9)
On the same day by divers letters from over sea was reported
the regret with which foreign states had heard of the indignities
done to the king by some of his rebel subjects, particularly the
republic of Venice, which would gladly have contributed to
support this monarchy, as appears by their statement to Mr.
Talbot, the Resident, on the 1st of June. From this it appears
that if his Majesty had not entirely cast himself upon the loyalty
and affection of his subjects to recover his rights and theirs, he
would have no reason to despair of the help of the kings, his neighbours,
who are so deeply interested, since the most serene republic,
which is so distant, expresses its readiness to assist him.
[Italian, from the English.]