66. Girolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
With miraculous success in his weakness Waller has struck a
serious blow at the king. Picking 2,000 men from the garrison
of Reading and other places, the Earl of Craford, a Scot was leading
them towards Arundel to the relief of Obton, when Waller
surprised him as he was halting at Alton, which is near Farnham,
capturing over 1,000 prisoners, the rest being either slain or
scattered. (fn. 1) It has been observed that when the king's fortunes
are at their highest he always suffers some serious misfortune or
loses the opportunity by feeble action. This can only be the consequence
of disloyalty among his councillors or executive officers, to
whose opinion the fear of making mistakes often induced him to
defer his own wise and prudent views. Indications are not lacking
that Clafold, who is suspected by the English, cooperated in this
incident resulting in the loss of his men, as when he reached
Tonmandel he informed Farnham by an improper request to Waller
for wine, the indulgence in which gave the parliamentary troops an
opportunity to surround the place, yet the earl was able to escape
without opposition, with a few horsemen. A part of his prisoners
has been brought here in state, the remainder have not refused
to take service under Waller, who, reinforced with 500 of Essex's
horse, and 3,000 of the Kentish trained bands and with his own
men encouraged by this success, has set out for Arundel, under
which he is now sitting. Obton left a small garrison there,
and retired to Hampshire to unite with Prince Rupert, who is
marching towards him with 4,000 horse and 2,000 foot, to attack
the enemy with the greatest possible strength.
Warwick has sent some ships towards Plymouth, but we do not
hear of anything attempted. On the land side the besieged have
made some sorties with success. Warwick has orders to get his
ships well supplied for the spring, for which purpose they have
voted 60,000l. which they reckon to raise from new taxes on flesh
and fowls. Essex also presses for reinforcements for his army and
that the 30,000l. a month assigned to it may be sent to Windsor.
They are to raise this by taxes on food and clothing. Meanwhile
he is taking part in the Council of War sitting at St. Albans upon
the governor who surrendered Bristol, who is accused by his
rivals of many shortcomings. The sentence is awaited with
peculiar interest because he is the son of a member of the Upper
House who has played the leading part in these transactions
(che ha havuto la miglior parte in questi maneggi), but is now in
some disrepute with the party. (fn. 2)
Parliament has decided to erect a sumptuous monument in
the chapel of the kings at Westminster to the late Pym. This
shows what their aims are to the reflecting eye.
It is announced here that the Duke of Hamilton has fled from
Scotland and arrived at Oxford, where the king has had him
arrested on the charge of disloyalty. News of such importance
requires confirmation, which it is difficult to obtain promptly
owing to the hindrances to the passage of letters. The Scottish
government sustains parliament here on hope alone, though it is
always pressing for money, without any sign of results from what
has already been sent. The Scots will get everything that they
want because the English cannot hope to hold out without their
assistance (non potendo Inglesi sperar di resistir senza questo
The Irish continue to arrive, 13 ships being constantly employed
in bringing them over, Colonel Biron assists them with a body of
militia, and they will soon constitute a powerful army of valiant
infantry, of which the king is exceedingly short. Articles have
been presented to his Majesty's commissioners in Ireland with the
request that they shall be promptly granted. While they offer
in these to be his loyal and faithful subjects they claim that the
kingdom shall be independent of England. They admit the
Protestants and their churches, but desire liberty for the Catholic
religion and the confirmation of privileges. They have not yet
received an answer, but it is believed that although the king may incline
to satisfy them he will not declare himself at present, to avoid doing
The gentleman sent by the French ambassador to Oxford has
not yet returned. I gather that he went to persuade the king to
allow him to premise to recognise parliament in the way desired, but
only in case the negotiations are successfully concluded. But he has
not yet settled this question here and it will be very difficult to do so,
because such moderate terms are not in accord with their aims.
The Spanish ambassador and the resident of Portugal understanding
that parliament had taken note that they were sheltering
English priests and had decided to have their houses searched,
immediately sent them away, though they are still somewhat
I had early notice of the arrest of the courier for Flanders which
happened some weeks ago at Rochester by order of the commissioners
of parliament and the opening of the packets for Holland, to see if
there were any letters of the secretary of state to the Ambassador
Gorin, who was there at the time, owing to suspicions about his negotiations.
But I was advised at the same time that my packets had not
received any outrage, so I did not send duplicates or advise your
Serenity, as I now do in accordance with the instructions of the 3rd
December., received only this week. Their suspicions are truly
extravagant at the present time and cause this government to lose all
respect towards everyone, their policy being particular and not
universal. Despite this by good fortune this house and my ministry
have so far remained free from all molestation. This has not been
the case with the Ambassadors of France and Spain or with any other
of the residents. On my side, without neglecting any opportunities
of serving your Excellencies and obliging the king, I observe great
caution in speech and action, as I know it is your wish I should.
I will also make more use of the cipher as you direct.
London, the 1st January, 1644.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
67. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople,
to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has sent his dragoman grande to
Aleppo, having obtained a catecumaium from the king for the
exemption from the duties of the ready money which his nation
takes to that mart, and a very considerable reduction also upon
The Vigne di Pera, the 2nd January, 1643 (M.V.).
[Italian ; deciphered.]
68. Advices from the Hague of the 5th January, 1644, forwarded
by Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador to the
Congress at Munster.
The more the negotiations of Arcurt in England recede into the
background the more the States here take heart to send their
embassy. To evade the formalities claimed by the parliament
it is said that the ambassadors, instead of letters of credence,
will have an open mandate consigned to them in which the king
and the parliament will be nominated conjointly.
[Italian, from the French.]
69. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has made some suggestion of an
offensive and defensive alliance between France and Great
Britain, but it is only a suggestion, without any terms.
Paris, the 5th January, 1644.
70. The Secretary of England came into the Collegio and spoke
and left a memorial. After the memorial had been read the doge
replied, Your secretary would have been despatched ere this had
not more considerable duties occupied the Council of Ten.
Everything has its place and time. This will also be attended to
and as soon as possible. We will take into consideration what
you have set forth, with the desire to do everything possible
for him within the limits of justice, in our desire to please you.
With this the secretary made his bow and departed.
When the incident of my secretary occurred I was the first to
inform your Serenity and I felt so strongly about what at the
first blush appeared a scandalous act, that instead of defending
him I did not want to consider him any longer of my house or as
worthy of the king's protection. Since then as clear evidence
of his innocence began to appear, the woman herself confessing
that she led him into a trap, I have made repeated applications
to your Serenity for his release, fearing that the reputation of my
king might suffer if so much severity was shown against one
of his servants. No attention was paid to all my representations,
indeed they only seemed to serve as the occasion for greater
severity. So I preferred to fail in my duty and wait for time to
show the usual results of your Serenity's clemency than make
myself obnoxious without any result. But this has in no wise
ameliorated the condition of that poor gentleman, who has suffered
imprisonment for six months without hope of seeing the end of
his miseries, as despatch by way of justice is postponed and
the hope of grace seems further off than ever.
From the inefficacy of my past offices I can only attribute to
my lack of merit with your Serenity, though I have always set
your favour as the chief object of my actions, and if I have failed
it must be from lack of capacity and not of good will. I therefore
ask that to please his Majesty this unfortunate young man may be
set at liberty, as he has paid the penalty of the most heinous
crimes for a mere inadvertence such as might happen with the
most circumspect. The favour granted by his Majesty to the
Venetian ambassador in a much more serious matter and for his
own subject, is so fresh in mind that I hope I have said enough
to move your Serenity to respond similarly.
71. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
Although reinforced by the troops of Prince Rupert Obton
has not yet attempted anything against Waller, who is pressing
Arundel castle hard and hopes to take it. Some private disputes
among Obton's own soldiers have delayed his march, which he is
now making towards Soptanton, to check the other, though he
cannot stop him, as he is growing stronger every day with men
arriving from Kent. As Prince Rupert left Tossiter with a weakened
garrison, Essex at once sent 500 horse to reinforce the Earl
of Manchester, ordering him to besiege it, while he himself
looked after Newport (fn. 3) and his quarters at St. Albans, as by order
of parliament he is arranging with his scanty forces to move to
Windsor so that it may be easier to fill his ranks and to assist
Waller when necessary. In Lincolnshire Meldron, the parliamentary
leader, has retaken Ghensbero, a place of importance,
considered valuable as it keeps a check upon Niuvarch and is
near Yorkshire. (fn. 4) In Bedfordshire some troops of Essex have
captured a house of the queen where they took some prisoners,
notable for their rank and as loyal servants of the king. As a
set off to this the Irish are beginning to make themselves felt.
In Cheshire they have taken Biston castle while General Chingh
has taken that of Leich in Stafford.
Intent upon observing the effect of the king's two declarations
against the great seal, the parliamentarians, in spite of their
decision a long time ago have delayed using it up to the present.
Now it is being wielded without any reserve, and with it they
propose to distribute many of the appointments of the realm,
although exercised by others under the legitimate seal in the
Widinbanch, formerly secretary of state, and who fled to France,
has now arrived at Oxford. It is believed that the king will employ
him as he is attached to the predominant Spanish party, which is the
only one in which his Majesty can at present confide. The arrest of the
Duke of Hamilton was correct, since he was cloaking, as he always
has, his intention to serve his native Scotland for his own ambitious
ends under the false show of a loyal subject of the king. He made
himself a leader of the party to please the Scots and after having
assured his Majesty in numerous letters, on his life, that the Scots
would not venture to leave their country against him, he has finally
fled and come to Oxford, excusing his failure by laying the blame on
the calling in of the Irish. He is accused of treason by the very
lords who are his followers, so they mean to have him tried with
With the end of disputes in that kingdom there remains little
or no doubt of their prompt assistance to the parliament here,
whose commissioners are urging the step with all their might.
But the border counties are more determined than ever to offer
a stout resistance, and if this is not enough, the people there have
resolved to leave the country with all their animals and burn it
so that the Scots shall not find any comfort (commodo). To
the same end the Marquis of Newcastle is going about devastating
and sacking suspected places.
These misfortunes of the king and the great disadvantage which he
will experience by the coming of the Scots, have induced four lords
of the Court to absent themselves. They are trying through the
General to make terms with the parliament, which is said to be about
to announce a pardon to those who promptly submit. (fn. 5)
The gentleman of the French ambassador returned from
Oxford with an inconclusive answer to his request for the
recognition desired by parliament. So the ambassador has
decided to go there himself, as he has done to-day to explain to
his Majesty the advantage of conceding this point. If the king will
not consent on any account, the ambassador says he will take leave,
so that he may not expose his office to slights any longer.
London, the 8th January, 1644.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
72. Advices from the Hague of the 12th January, 1644,
forwarded by Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador to
the Congress of Munster.
The ambassadors despatched to England to try and bring about
peace between the king and parliament are only waiting for a
wind to start. The Prince of Orange overcame the opposition
which interposed to prevent this voyage, as it seems that the
affairs of the king are likely to receive a serious jar if the Scots
chance to join in, whereas they were in a very advantageous
position without that opposition.
[Italian, from the French.]
73. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
Approaching with forces superior to Waller, who is still besieging
Arundel castle, Obton did not think it prudent to attack him in
his defences, but has withdrawn and is trying to prevent food from
reaching his army, which is more numerous than experienced
(aguerrita), until further reinforcements reach him.
The Council of War at St. Albans having ended with the
condemnation to death of the governor of Bristol and of other
commanders, the General Essex has come here to beg for his
pardon. This will not be difficult unless the city, which resents
the loss because of trade, should oppose it. The general is sending
his guns and all his troops, which are reduced to very slender
numbers, towards Buckinghamshire, whither he is proceeding
in order to be nearer Waller. Prince Maurice is in great difficulties
under Plymouth and is losing hope of capturing the place owing to
the obstinacy of the defenders, who have sworn to hold it to the
last gasp. He has retired with the greater part of his troops
leaving only some garrisons in the forts and having swept the
country round of food, and he also scours it with his cavalry.
It is not yet certain whether he will go still farther off, although
it is stated in letters from Court that he is to reinforce Obton, since the
king is very anxious for the defeat of Waller, which would leave them
without any army worth mentioning in this part.
Through the treachery of the Duke of Hamilton, the leader of his
party in Scotland, his Majesty sees that the entry of those forces into
England is inevitable. He fears their progress even though the
border counties are prepared and determined, while Newcastle has
a powerful army to oppose them, when joined with the Irish, as is
intended. He has accordingly sent a proclamation here by a
herald, (fn. 6) in which, after pointing out the miseries this kingdom
must suffer by the introduction of a foreign army which, though
sent for, comes for conquest and to impose new laws, he summons
to Oxford for the 1st February all the members of parliament
without exception, granting a universal pardon, and promising
every commodity, in order to consult with him on what is best
to be done for the common service of the country. Some of those
now in the parliament, more capable and less desperate than the
rest, do not approve in their hearts of opening the gates to the powerful
assistance of a nation which in former times has caused such jealousy
and spread such distress (promulgata l'afflitione sua). To make
sure that his Majesty's proclamation shall not afford an inducement
to these to declare their opinions, those of the predominant and seditious
party have immediately voted a vigorous declaration condemning
the proclamation as illegitimate, fraudulent and derogatory to the
privileges of parliament. They also contemplate, as a counterblast,
granting pardon to all who leave the king and submit, or they will
proceed to try and condemn all the absent. In pursuance of this
they have forthwith nominated a number of commissioners with
orders to proceed rapidly with the trial already begun against the
queen. Reports of this having reached the Court while leaving scant
hope of any results from the proclamation, have moved some lords,
who though with the king are not altogether distrusted by parliament,
to exclaim against certain young servants, favourites of the queen,
who direct affairs through her influence. Accordingly his Majesty
uses tact to remove causes of offence as well as decisions prejudicial
to the suspected party.
It seems that the passage of Irish to this kingdom is slackening
as that nation also wants to make use of the opportunity to win advantages
from the royal commissioners who are there. Parliament
also does all that it can with the small party that it retains, to act as a
counterpoise to the armistice granted by his Majesty, and it is
announced that a protest has been largely signed in that kingdom
against this suspension.
The French ambassador having lost all hope of treating with
parliament without the recognition claimed, went to Oxford,
where he still is. He went intending to persuade the king to
accept the conditions, and if he objected, to take leave. What
under existing circumstances he will propose to his Majesty
remains obscure until his return.
Some people at Wster, where they make most of the cloth of
this kingdom being stirred up, through correspondence from here,
by the king's last proclamation which obliges them to take it all
to Bristol, have made some slight commotion, but it will be put
down by some forces sent to those parts.
The letter sent by the secretary of state of the confidential
merchants of this mart, urging them to take currants to Bristol,
where the trade is increasing greatly, has already produced its
effect, as the ship Dragon is on its way to that port with all its cargo,
sailing from Zante. Its name has been changed to Mary Elizabeth
and it is passing in the interest of Santil of Leghorn, although it
belongs to Giannin here. This will give a good start to that trade
which I hope will go on prospering. I will do all in my power and
I meet with the best possible response from his Majesty and the
London, the 15th January, 1644.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
74. That a sentence be delivered against Margarita Locarda
Ayes, 16. Noes, 1. Neutral, 0.
That she be condemned to a prison without light for three
years, and if she escapes she is banished from Venice and its
territories for ten years. If she is caught she shall be imprisoned
for three years from the time, and so every time.
Ayes, 15. Noes, 0.
For four years instead of three.
|75. That sentence be delivered against John Bren, an Englishman.
Ayes, 5. Noes, 10. Neutral, 2.
Not carried and he is acquitted.
76. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
Waller obtained the surrender of Arundel castle at discretion,
taking prisoner several officers with 1,000 soldiers and munitions
and arms. (fn. 7) The loss of this place is not among the most serious
of the disasters to the royal arms. What is serious is the loss of
officers and soldiers with the slur cast upon his forces, affording
the enemy an advantage with the Kentish men. These have sent
2,000 foot to strengthen the garrison of Chichester, which shuts
the way into the county, where the movements for which Obton
hoped, have been forcibly suppressed and they dare not lift
their heads without fresh and vigorous assistance.
Fortune has also favoured Waller by another, incident, for a
Dunkirk ship bringing munitions and arms for the king, took
refuge from a Dutch one in the port of Arundel and fell into his
A great desire for peace prevails among several leading men of
this city, to such an extent that they have frequently discussed
in the Common Council and among the militia the question of
petitioning parliament to open negotiations. When the king,
who eagerly desires any honourable settlement, heard of this he
wrote to the mayor and aldermen to urge them to do this and
sending six proposals. This was accompanied by letters from the
Secretary of State Dighbi to various secret confidants of the
Court, with offers and promises in the queen's name. These
despatches being intercepted and carried to parliament have been
declared seditious, being aimed at dividing parliament from the city,
and the act has been stigmatised as a conspiracy. Many have been
arrested but they have not ventured to lay hands on the mayor or
aldermen. So as not to allow such a plausible occasion to take root
in the minds of the people, who are tired of suffering, they assembled
all the city companies in the Guildhall, and commissioners of parliament
appeared to inform them of the incident, showing the king's
conduct in the worst possible light, and poisoning their excellent
disposition by false representations (avvelenando con i loro falsi
racconti le sue ottimi intentioni). Combined with the discoveries
made by the French ambassador and so many other indications this
last incident has convinced every one that unless they are compelled
by royalist victories or by resolute action of the city, the parliamentarians
will never consent to a reasonable adjustment of their own
accord, as they profit by the disorders and are in possession of
complete control, persons who in a well ordered government would not
be considered capable of serving in a subordinate capacity (persone
che in un regolato governo non sarebbono meno capaci di haver
parte a servire).
It is now a fortnight since, according to their announcements,
the Scots forces should have begun their march from Baruich.
There is no authentic news of this, but it is surmised that they
have moved. Delivered from divisions at home through the
perfidious help of the Duke of Hamilton to the royal party, it is to
their advantage to take up this affair. In addition to their own
security and the steady profit they draw, they can also cherish hopes
of becoming the arbiters between the two contesting parties, and
gathering the fruits of the dissensions of others. Those who are less
rabid are afraid of them, but the desperate do not care.
The king and the loyal party are more perplexed than ever, although
Derbyshire has recently declared for him, and the Marquis of Newcastle
encourages him with hopes of resistance, seeing that the border
counties are so determined, and as Biron with the Irish has beaten
Bruerton and taken Nantwich. Some ships of the king have also
captured two vessels which were taking munitions and arms to
Scotland by order of the parliament. The town of Newcastle is
well fortified and supplied, as two ships recently reached the port
from Denmark with guns and munitions of war, and falling in
with an English ship carrying corn, they brought it in with them.
The French Ambassador Harcourt has sent back from Oxford
the hired coaches and horses, which indicates that he intends to
make a long stay. He may intend to be present at the meeting
of parliament called by the king for the 1st February, and at their
discussions, or possibly he does not want to appear here except
in passing through, as they have appointed commissioners to proceed
with the queen's trial, in his face, without any respect for France.
A courier arrived here three days ago from the Court on his
way to Harcourt, it is said to take orders from the queen mother
to return home leaving Cressi with the title of agent, to await
a better opportunity for treating. But instead of giving him a
passport, parliament took his letters and opened them. They found
in the packet a long one from Cressi, not in cipher, and from the
Ambassador Gorin to the Secretary of State informing him of all his
negotiations both in Flanders and France, intimating that 20,000
muskets and other arms bought by him in the country are ready at
Dunkirk. As regards France he holds out hope of help, but not on
very good grounds, and there was a little note from him to the queen
advising her to captivate Harcourt, because anything that he promises
will be performed in France. After the reading of these despatches
they have lost no time in declaring Gorin guilty of treason to the state ;
and feeling against Cressi being very strong, they contemplate sending
some one to France, to make remonstrance to the queen there and
learn her intentions. But this was in their first heat and they may
change their minds after more mature consideration.
Another letter has been intercepted from the Secretary of State
Drigbi to the king's agent in Flanders. He informs him that all
the negotiations of the French ambassador have fallen through
owing to the claims of parliament to recognition. (fn. 8) From this
the parliamentarians conclude that the Hispanophile councillors
of his Majesty are aiming at removing the suspicions of the Austrians
in order to obtain their assistance, especially with the expiry of any
hope from Denmark, invaded by the Swedes, (fn. 9) these new politicians
being ignorant of their present state.
The Dutch ambassadors have arrived at Gravesend. It is
said that instead of credentials they bring an open patent declaring
them ambassadors to the king and parliament. I will keep an eye
on their negotiations.
London, the 22nd January, 1644.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
77. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
All military action in every part of the kingdom has been
suspended by an extraordinary snowfall, which has lasted for
eight days without intermission. Everyone is watching for the
entry of the Scottish forces, the feelings of the rabid being deceived
by their desires. They flatter themselves and say they have
seen letters from there and heard persons say that the Scots have
already entered Newcastle, though the Scottish commissioners
themselves say they are without any news. The king, practically
abandoning these parts, is sending all his men towards the North,
and when this parliament at Oxford is ended, Prince Rupert
himself will go to command the Irish, who are under Biron.
Meanwhile a very important event has happened in Ireland
to his Majesty's advantage. Encouraged by parliament here and
by their own nation, the Scots in that country joined with some
of the strictest Protestants there formed an army to upset the
truce, but being vigorously attacked by the Catholics, they have
been completely routed in a battle lasting eight hours, losing their
guns and the scanty remnants being obliged to flee to Scotland,
leaving the country clear. That nation is now in a position to
help the king better, either by sending a corps to England officially,
or by a diversion in Scotland. But feeling they must not lose
the opportunity they are trying to gain advantages for themselves,
demanding a peace with freedom of religion and other conditions,
without which they say they will not be able to leave their own
kingdom. It is believed that this matter will be discussed in the
parliament in Oxford, and it is feared that though the king might wish
to satisfy them he will meet with some opposition and will have to
proceed with caution, in order not to prejudice himself in this kingdom
where, at least in appearance, feeling is strongest against him for his
affection to Catholicism. Prince Rupert has been declared Duke of
Sussex by his Majesty, so that he may take part in this assembly.
Divisions are feared as the grandees cannot tolerate the influence
of the queen's favourite Germen which causes universal whispering
(mormoratione universale), injurious to the royal honour and
prejudicial to the king's posterity.
The Duke of Hamilton has been sent prisoner to Wales, without
being able to secure an interview with the king. His brother,
who is secretary of Scotland, is still under guard at Oxford.
The mayor and aldermen of this city, being in no little apprehension
and alarm over the intercepted letters from the king
advising peace, have desired to clear themselves. For this purpose
they invited the two houses of parliament to a banquet yesterday
in the great hall of the city, announcing that this was an expression
of their determination to live and die with parliament for this
cause. This demonstration has pleased the interested parties, but
others recognise it as the result of fear, which will be used, however,
to extract considerable help in money.
The French ambassador has sent here for his coaches, as he
intends to return and leave at once, his negotiations having
proved fruitless. The king gave him a cross of diamonds as a
present, making an effort in their present poverty, not to recompense
him, since he has shown that his sympathies are with this side, but
to oblige him, if possible, to further his Majesty's interests in France.
Parliament has sent to Oxford copies of the two intercepted
letters, of Gorin to the Queen and of the secretary of state Dighbi
to the agent at Brussels, together with one signed by the presidents
of the two houses apologising for the opening of the despatches
and trying to irritate him against those two ministers, declaring
that they have injured his honour. They have done the same in
other papers, which have been published, holding up to opprobrium
the phrases with which they pretend to commend his actions. In
Gorin's letter also there are certain expressions calculated to render
Cressi hateful to the people, so that it will be difficult for him to remain
here in the capacity of Agent as ordered by his mistress. Accordingly
he may go home also, especially as he is not satisfied with that title
and wants an ambassadorship. Harcourt is greatly incensed against
him, declaring that he has been launched into all these troubles
because of his original representations to France about the hopes of a
good peace here, with the advantages they desire, and by his lack of
foresight in bringing Montegu and by his relations with ministers
who are suspect here.
The Dutch ambassadors made their entry into this city only
on Wednesday evening, having stayed six days at Gravesend.
Many members of both Houses went to meet them at Greenwich
with the barques, and General Essex himself received them at
the Tower, followed by 30 coaches, and took them to their
quarters. They are keeping to themselves until a passport comes
from the king, for which they have sent to Oxford.
The ship Rainbow of 400 tons burthen has arrived here from
Zante with its entire cargo of this year's currants. Those
interested, who are six of the Levant Company have petitioned
parliament to permit it to be unladed, pointing out the disadvantage
of the trade getting started at Bristol, especially in
currants, prohibited here. Parliament has discussed the matter,
and the trade to Bristol being confirmed by the advices they
have, has given permission, charging the currants with 6 shillings
per cent. more than usual. (fn. 10) But the merchants have told me
that in spite of this they hope to do good business, and this yoke
being now broken that they will have no difficulty in the future.
I encouraged them and informed them of the reduction of the
duty by the Senate of 2 per thousand of the new duty. They
were pleased at this, not having heard anything about it from their
The despatch of last week will come with this one as the
commissioners of Rochester have stopped the mails and opened all
the letters of merchants and others suspected, both for France
and Flanders. I have made sure, however, that my packets have
not been touched.
London, the 29th January, 1644.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]