349. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Nothing can be done with the imprisoned Atkins, as he is kept
so closely confined in London that nothing more is heard about
him. The Secretary Suriano has carried on active negotiations
with others, but has not been able to secure any levy. The
permit reported, which Wolter held was not from parliament
itself, but from a body of republicans, and consequently, is subject
to revocation under the conditions now ruling, and to countless
obstacles. Of the many others who offered for the employment,
no one else has been able to get it from the Houses, and even if
they did, there would still be some risk, in the general turmoil
of the government there at the moment. Some of the commanders
are trafficking in prisoners of war and thwart each other,
taking money from everyone while no one gets any results. It is
useless to think of having sureties outside the country, and
within it justice is overthrown and partial. If your Serenity
does not get the levy, the money at any rate is safe. The
Spaniards and French cannot say as much. After throwing
away a considerable amount the former out of 3,000 foot have not
been able to take more than 5 or 600, while for the service of the
latter only 50 have landed at Calais out of 1,200 who were
Suriano states that the Earl of Cler, one of the leading men whose
mother is here and among my acquaintance, (fn. 1) the chamberlains,
merchants and other friends to whom I directed him, and who are
members of the Houses themselves, have told him positively
in confidence that parliament will not grant a licence unless it is
asked for directly by the most serene republic, but in that case it
would be given without delay and possibly some assistance
against the Turk as well. Others have intimated that if it is
granted, it will be withdrawn when it is on the point of being
carried into effect, in order to force your Excellencies to perform
some act of recognition towards the parliament of London, which
trades upon every opportunity that occurs to obtain from everyone
the marks of sovereignty that it claims. The secretary
replied very properly that these levies had been undertaken on
my initiative upon representations from many quarters that with
the season so advanced anything done would prove too late if
there was any further delay. I have written to him that if
the difficulties prove insuperable he must come away, so as not
to lose any more time. I am treating with the Lumaga to have
the 30,000 ducats remitted, which were reported at London, and
I hope that this will be repaid very shortly, without any loss to
A Fleming who has some frigates of Dunkirk in the service of
the king of England, wishes to detach himself from a falling
cause. He offers four or six all ready for the service of your
Serenity and might increase the number to 12 in a short time.
They are of 200 tons burthen mounting about 20 guns and carrying
80 sailors each.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 8th March, 1646.
350. Advices from London, of the 22nd February, 1646.
On the 13th inst. the parliament forces entered Chester and
Lord Biron, the royalist commander came out. The castle and
a fort outside were surrendered in consequence, without delay.
Relieved of this important siege Fairfax has taken all his forces
to Exeter, which cannot hold out for long. In the West the Prince
of Wales has relieved a small place of slight importance, while the
parliamentarians have taken Belvoir, of much greater consequence,
which also makes it easier to press Newark more closely, but the
season prevents a supreme effort for the moment. A part of the
garrison of Leicester has surprised and sacked the town of Ashby,
returning without loss, the garrison of the castle being too weak
to prevent this liberty.
To conciliate the Protestants the king protests that the arrangement
with the Irish Catholics was made without his consent and
exposes to punishment the minister who, he says, exceeded his
powers. (fn. 2) In spite of this parliament will not listen to any overtures
for peace, and the king has declared once more that, as he
can do no other, he will defend himself, sword in hand to the last
drop of blood, being innocent of what is shed henceforth and of
the numerous calamities that overshadow the country.
The Resident of Portugal has asked for a pass to go to the king
and take leave. This is refused unless he declares that he was
sent by his master to parliament itself.
351. In the Pregadi on the 9th March, 1646.
That the English ships King David, Prince and James, carrying
wheat, biscuit and troops be relieved of the necessity of finding
security for the wheat and biscuits provided they proceed to
their destination with the army in Candia.
Ayes, 121. Noes, 5. Neutral, 3.
|352. Terms of agreement made on the 28th February with
William Rand, captain of the English ship James, now at Malamocco,
of 5,000 staia (fn. 3) burthen, with 43 sailors and 22 guns, to carry
biscuits, troops or other things to Canea. When he has unladed
his cargo he shall be free to go where he pleases.
Approved on the 9th March in the Senate.
Ayes, 122. Noes, 5. Neutral, 3.
|353. In the Pregadi on the 9th March, 1646.
Permission to William Rider, an Englishman, to lade his ship,
the Marmadina, now at Leghorn, with goods at Venice, after
unlading his cargo there and to take them to Spain, in consideration
of allowing another of his ships to serve in the Venetian
Ayes, 103. Noes, 1. Neutral, 4.
354. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
An agent of Spain has left Ireland without having been able to
fill up his levies. He was expelled by the populace upon the
circulation of a report that the Spaniards being united with the
parliament of London injury might result therefrom to the
Catholics of Ireland.
The States have opposed the equipment of the twenty ships
which France proposed to make ready in Holland with the
intention of assisting the king of England, as they became
suspicious of the design and declared that it was certain they
would be used against the parliamentarians, to whom they are
drawing closer every day.
Advices of London enclosed.
Paris, the 13th March, 1646.
355. Advices from London, the 1st March, 1646.
General Fairfax has dealt a finishing stroke at the army of
the Prince of Wales, cutting in pieces and capturing 4,000 men
commanded by Hopton. (fn. 4) About 500 escaped and the prince
fled to Barnstaple. To escape it is thought he will have to leave
the country. Fairfax attacked them in a village, where they
made a good defence, but a church having caught fire, where the
powder was, the noise of the explosion and loss (danno) threw
them into confusion, and left them to the fury of the enemy, who
captured a rich booty of arms. As a consequence of this Fairfax
has redoubled his efforts against Exeter and is expected to have
it in a very few days.
The Scots have sent fresh reinforcements to their army in
England, and although parliament does not like to see them so
powerful in this country, yet the siege of Newark will be much
The king, by disowning the treaty made by the Earl of
Glamorgan with the Irish Catholics, hoped to remove much
disapproval (molte ombre) on the part of the English Protestants,
but instead this has been increased, as letters have been intercepted
from the earl to his wife in which he tells her that his
arrest, which has been made, was only a blind, because he had
clear commissions from the king under the great seal and signed
with his hand. The Catholics in Ireland, moreover, have revolted
at his arrest and demand his release with threats and tumult.
Two persons sent by the queen of England to Scotland for some
plot in favour of her husband, have been arrested by the parliamentarians.
Various letters and instructions have been found,
which being published with craft, serve to incense the populace
still more against the king. The two persons have been handed
over to the Council of War, so that they may be promptly
sentenced to death.
356. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Secretary Suriano found in London two individuals of
influence (fn. 5) and energy to make the levy. By means of their
relations and friends they obtained the permit from the Upper
House, composed entirely of nobles, but they were unable to get
it through the Lower and more popular Chamber, owing to the
opposition of the Company which trades in the Turkish dominions,
from fear lest trade should suffer therefrom. He has fulfilled all
his instructions in an efficient and praiseworthy manner, and since
it is clearly impossible to raise a levy, it is undoubtedly due to his
caution and vigilance, that the money has not been thrown away.
[Advices of London enclosed.]
Paris, the 20th March, 1646.
357. Advices from London, of the 8th March, 1646.
Parliament of Scotland has sent deputies to the London one to
give reasons why they cannot withdraw their garrisons out of
England, protesting that with their army so far advanced they
must have places to secure its retreat for all eventualities. They
further ask for money to pay the troops, and that they shall not
formulate a fresh project for peace, but show the king what
was proposed at Oxbrig a year ago, which his Majesty would be
more ready to accept now, under his present necessity. That
parliament shall adopt the Presbyterian form of religion, which
will constitute a new bond between the two kingdoms and dash
the king's hopes of gaining anything through the Scots and
separating them from the others.
Hopton's defeat does not seem to have been so great as report
stated although even small blows are of great consequence to the
royal party. Parliament has printed a list of all the victories
and advantages won against the king since the 1st June last and
they amount to exactly 72. A leading man of his Majesty's
party, has made his peace with parliament by handing over the
strong castle of Ashby, which is in the heart of the kingdom on the
boundaries of four counties, which suffered great inconvenience
from its garrison. The Houses have therefore sent orders for
its demolition. (fn. 6) On the other hand the Lord Lieutenant of
Glamorganshire has revolted against parliament and gone over
to his Majesty. He was besieging Cardiff castle, but the governor
of Gloucester and Colonel Langhorn united and completely
defeated him, (fn. 7) so that he had to flee, with only 70 horse.
358. Giovanni Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in
France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices from London.
Paris, the 27th March, 1646.
359. Advices from London, the 15th March, 1646.
The Chancellor of Scotland lay the proposal for the establishment
of a common religion for the two kingdoms before parliament
in London, and they have agreed to this. His other
commissions are concerned with the payment of the money
claimed by the Scots and the terms of peace to be put before the
king. The two Houses have agreed upon the proposals to be
made and these are at present being submitted to the Scottish
commissioners for their approval. They tend as usual to the
subjection of his Majesty and to dim the lustre of the throne.
The king has written further letters to parliament, which has
not yet decided to open them, possibly to stop more coming, as
their object is to cause divisions and to create dissensions upon the
ample offers which he makes for peace.
Corfu, a strong castle in Dorset, the last left to the royalists
there, has fallen into the hands of the foe, (fn. 8) and Barbourg, closely
besieged, is about to share its fate. Parliament has enjoyed
equal success in some other affairs of less importance. Prince
Rupert surprised Abington with 1,000 horse and as many foot
carried on the cruppers, but when he thought he had it, he was
driven out by the garrison, in some strength, which had gathered
at the alarm.
Fairfax, advancing into Cornwall has defeated some royalist
forces which disputed the passage of the Tamar and marched
rapidly against Launston. A report, not yet authenticated, says
he has taken it. In addition to a naval force they are raising
troops on all sides in the name of parliament, with the intention of
investing the king in Oxford to cut off all means of retreat and
so force him to flight by the fear of it.