December 1646


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'Venice: December 1646', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 27: 1643-1647 (1926), pp. 290-295. URL: Date accessed: 25 November 2014.


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December 1646

Dec. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
452. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The English merchants have obtained leave for two of their ships to sail. Most of their cargo is from our merchants and one has been hired by them to go straight to Venice. But some quarrels that have arisen between the English merchants have started reports that the first Vizier has protested against any ships going to Venice. There has been a prolonged dispute on the subject and now they tell me that the ship will touch at Leghorn.
The Vigne di Pera, the 30th November, 1646.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Dec. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
453. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 4th December.
Enclosure. 454. Advices from London, the 22nd November, 1646.
Parliament in London and the king at Newcastle are alike awaiting the decisions of parliament in Scotland. The Houses are busy over finding money to get rid of the Scots and they have sent troops to the frontier to prevent any from communicating with the king, which seemed to be going on in that district.
They have made a law for an inventory, to be taken of all the goods of Catholics, to show their nature and amount. The earl of Uster, a Catholic, has been brought prisoner to London, having been taken in a strong castle of his. (fn. 1)
The people of the North have come with serious complaints because of the exactions of the Scottish army there. A book has been printed about this, but the Scottish commissioners complained and succeeded in having it suppressed, declaring it a fabrication to create dislike and hatred between the two countries.
The Houses have granted absolution and pardon to some twenty gentlemen who belonged to the royal party.
In Ireland the Catholics are not more than 8 miles from Dublin, having occupied seven garrisoned towns in the neighbourhood. The marquis of Ormond is trying to supply the place and the commissioners sent by parliament are making every effort to introduce relief.
In London they have dismounted the guns in the lines outside the city and have arranged for a garrison of 1,200 men, to reduce the expense involved by the former guard, all danger being now remote. The troops of General Massey have been disbanded and they give pay in advance to the soldiers who are willing to go to Ireland.
Dec. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
455. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ships are held up by contrary winds, but even more by disputes between the ambassador and the merchants.
It was announced some days ago that the English ambassador had received very favourable letters from his king. I have heard that on the 22nd ult. letters reached him of the 23rd dated from the camp, without other specification. The king writes to the Grand Turk that this one is his ambassador and so far as it is necessary, he confirms him as such. He requests the Sultan not to allow the ambassador to be hindered in the exercise of the rights of his charge and to administer justice to the merchants, his subjects, in accordance with custom, and otherwise to let him depart. The ambassador promptly caused this letter to be shown to the first Vizier. That minister, rendered suspicious by the assertions of the merchants, who were greatly agitated, that the letter was a forgery and false, sent for the secretary, who formerly served the ambassador to get him to look at it. This man threw the ambassador over and joined with the merchants, but the Vizier adjured him on his life to tell the truth. The secretary raised four objections : (1) that the title is always written in Latin by custom ; (2) it is written in letters of gold ; (3) it should be on parchment, whereas this is on a bombasine ; (4) being dated from the camp it does not specify the place. This dispute is still in progress. The merchants are most vehement. They not only declare that they will spend another 100,000 reals, which will prove a magnificent game for the Vizier, but they offer to stake their very lives in proving the nullity and falsity of the letter, the date of which they state to be too recent. The affair involves serious consequences, since here, where everything is for sale, any nation that happened to be well supplied with money might bring on itself a thousand disorders.
The Vigne di Pera, the 5th December, 1646.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Dec. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
456. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 11th December, 1646.
Enclosure. 457. Advices from London, the 30th November, 1646.
A serious dispute has arisen between the parliament of London and the Scottish commissioners about the disposal of the king. There have been long speeches on both sides in the press as well. The English maintain that the disposal of his Majesty belongs to them alone. The Scots prove that it belongs to both kingdoms to exercise it by common consent. While the life and dignity of the king are thus being hawked about amid strange opinions, he is at Newcastle as usual waiting for what time may bring and whatever relief for his interests these quarrels may afford.
These dissensions delay the evacuation of the towns and the payment of the Scots. The latter declare their readiness to fulfil the compact, but on condition that some of the towns are dismantled and that the custody of the king shall be in common, to which the others will not consent.
General Fairfax has come to London and was received in triumph and with pomp, being thanked in the name of the Houses for the important services which he has rendered to the country.
The property of Catholics is put up for sale, the money to be given as a reward to those who have served well or who have suffered some serious loss in the war. Dublin is still hard pressed by the Catholics. Parliament sent ships with reinforcements, but contrary winds forced them to turn back. The marquis of Ormond has given his sons as hostages for his good faith.
Dec. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
458. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I hear of the arrival at Smyrna of an English ship that left London 3 months ago. It is said to have brought the news that the parliamentarians have chosen as ambassador to this Porte the consul of their nation who at present is at Aleppo, but with a clause that he must be confirmed by their king. (fn. 2) This seems to me to involve some contradiction, in view of the obstinate dissensions which prevail in that kingdom. This much is certain, at any rate, all the English merchants here rejoice greatly over it. The resident ambassador has not been able to obtain the approval of his letter because the merchants, by spending money lavishly, have induced the Vizier to answer that seeing the letter is not in the customary form, he is unable to show it to the Sultan. The ambassador has appealed to me to make representations in favour of the genuineness of this letter. I wait instructions from your Excellencies as to how I am to behave in the matter.
The Vigne di Pera, the 17th December, 1646.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Dec. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
459. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty has conferred the title of General of the English on Prince Rupert. There are very few of these in the service of this crown, but it will serve to alarm the parliamentarians, and will give them an excuse which is what it amounts to for falling upon them without an open declaration.
The Prince of Wales has come to Paris, and I took the opportunity to pay him my respects personally, while visiting his mother. He was extremely pleased, as he preserves in exile and his restricted fortunes all the sentiments of a generous and prudent prince.
The advices of London are attached.
Paris, the 18th December, 1646.
Enclosure. 460. Advices from London, the 6th December, 1646.
The castles of Damby and Connoue in Wales have had to yield and make terms with parliament. The minister who accompanied the king on his journey to the Scottish army has escaped from prison. (fn. 3) They say in London that Montreuil's brother had a hand in his escape, and the Houses are disgusted because they hoped to get important information from the prisoner.
Lord Wariston, the king's advocate in the Scottish parliament, has made a long speech showing that instead of reforming religion and making it uniform they are introducing monstrous confusion ; that in Ireland the Catholics are constantly gaining ground on the Protestants ; that instead of finding some compromise between the king and his subjects they are tending to uproot monarchy, and it is to be feared that the liberty to the people, which constituted their pretext, may end in the confusion, misery and desolation of the country. Such ideas, which are current among the Scots, are not at all liked by the English.
A compromise has been suggested between the two kingdoms for disbanding the armies and then discussing internal affairs quietly ; but they would not make up their minds. The majority insist that they must begin with a religious settlement before doing anything else. In the northern counties there have been risings among the peasants, it is said because of the extortions of the Scottish army. The parliamentary deputies have reached Dublin and are trying how they may save that place.
Dec. 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
461. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Sir [John] Douglas has just been to tell me that he has found a way to raise one and perhaps two regiments, of about 700 men, who are in the island of Gerze, ready to go wherever they are ordered, and has found another individual of my acquaintance who is ready to perform the rest. As he is a parliamentarian and with a great following, he will find it easier than any one else to get them out of England a few at a time. He is going to Scotland and will await my reply there. He offers cautions for the money in Paris, and says he will not touch any till after the embarcation. The terms are 15 thalers a head, if ships are sent to England or Scotland to fetch the troops. As this is both hazardous and costly at the present time, he is ready to take them to the Texel at his own risk for 5 thalers a head in addition. Your Serenity will furnish the ships there and food for the voyage to Corfu, upon the same terms as were arranged for the levy of Romorantin and others.
The troops who are in Gerze moreover have three or four ships of war, which they also offer to serve in the fleet.
Paris, the 18th December, 1646.
Dec. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
462. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices from London.
Paris, the 25th December, 1646.
Enclosure. 463. Advices from London, the 13th December, 1646.
The Houses have the 200,000l. ready to pay the Scots, according to the agreement but they have not yet been able to come to terms about the manner of payment. The deputies of both parliaments have met several times, but have not been able to decide anything, because the Scots want the cash, while the English are determined not to give it unless they get possession of the king as well as of the towns. This is the most contested point at present and the king hopes that it may lead to some division between the kingdoms. But there is little sign of this and everyone thinks that the dispute will not get beyond tongue and pen, since neither nation is disposed to restore the king to his former lustre, and all enjoy the speciousness of command.
The Scottish parliament has again urged his Majesty to accept the conventions already agreed upon by the two kingdoms, to agree to what is decreed about the establishment of the Anglican Church, and to consolidate a long and secure peace in his dominions. If he consents they promise to do all they can to maintain him in his royal power and lustre.
Books are beginning to issue from the press contending that the Stuart line now reigning is spurious and that the succession devolves legitimately upon others.
The Catholics have occupied all the positions about Dublin. A report is circulating that the Marquis of Ormonde has begun to parley for surrender. The news is not absolutely confirmed, but it is quite certain that the parliamentary commissioners who went to treat with the marquis are not entirely satisfied with his behaviour. Owing to the contrary winds the supply of munitions and of troops has not yet been able to cross.


1 Henry Somerset, first marquis of Worcester. Raglan castle.
2 Edward Barnard, consul at Aleppo, was chosen as ambassador at the Court held on the 20th August. S.P. For. Arch. Vol. 150. This was not confirmed and the minister actually selected on the 8th Jan. was Sir Thomas Bendish. Id., Vol. 143.
3 Denbigh surrendered on the 26th October ; Conway not until the 18th Dec. Hudson escaped on the 18th November, all old style.