Venice
April 1647

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1926

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308-313

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'Venice: April 1647', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 27: 1643-1647 (1926), pp. 308-313. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89629 Date accessed: 20 September 2014.


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April 1647

April 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
494. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
This crown is trying to obtain troops from Ireland and sent ships to fetch them. Although parliament is pleased to see the Catholics disarmed in this way it is not without suspicion that arms and money may be introduced into that kingdom under this pretext. They have accordingly decided to scour the sea and to search the ships they meet. This action appeared strange to them here, but when it was discussed in the council of war they decided to dissemble and not to consider any incident as an affront, as the ships are the property of merchants and have not the flag or name of this crown.
The Ambassador Bellievre is asking for leave to return home, as he feels that he is at once disliked and slighted, but they have not granted it yet. The rest of the London news is in the enclosed sheet.
Paris, the 2nd April, 1647.
[Italian.]
Enclosure. 495. Advices from London, the 21st March, 1647.
The king has written a second letter from Humby to parliament naming twelve preachers to his liking and asking that two of these, selected by them, may be sent to him. They have not yet answered, but incline to refuse and they are only waiting for the arrival of the Scottish commissioners to make a final demand on his Majesty to accept the Covenant and peace proposals, and if he will not they seem inclined to imprison him in a castle in the heart of the kingdom, and then to dispose of the government and the crown as they see fit. They have also thought of sending some one to France, without much ceremony, to persuade the Prince of Wales to return to this country. The Houses are apprehensive lest the prince should go to Ireland, where the Catholic party would be extremely glad to see him.
They have had long discussions about reforming the army and have at last decided that General Fairfax, shall be confirmed as its commander, and that it shall consist of 10,000 foot and 5,000 horse, to preserve the internal peace of the country. It was further decided that 8,400 foot, 3,000 horse and 1,200 dragoons should cross to Ireland so that the war there may be ended more quickly. General Lesle has already arrived there and the marquis of Ormond, having given hostages, is treating seriously for an accommodation with parliament.
They have not answered the Ambassador Bellievre. So far parliament has merely asked for his exposition in writing. Although his audience was a mark of recognition, for which parliament is extremely anxious, yet there was little ceremony. The master of the ceremonies alone went to fetch him and accompanied him home, and they made the ambassador himself wait a long time in a small room before admitting him to audience.
[Italian.]
April 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
496. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen of England had some intention of proceeding to Ireland, but parliament is closely on the watch and is having the sea scoured by its ships. Forwards the sheet of advices.
Paris, the 9th April, 1647.
[Italian.]
Enclosure. 497. Advices from London, the 28th March, 1647.
The English parliament has sent commissioners to the Scottish to treat for the restoration of Belfast, which the Scots hold in North Ireland. News has come that the Catholics have occupied Dublin, but this has often been reported and never confirmed. It seems more certain that they have occupied Cork, an important position. The two Houses are devoting all their energy to raising a force to end that war as soon as possible. They have decided to set apart 60,000l. sterling a month for those requirements for a whole year.
They have not yet answered his Majesty's request about the ministers, or made up their minds, and with the Scottish commissioners arrived at Humby they have not yet decided the important question of the disposal of the king's person. The prisoners of war have been released by the Houses, but they make the most careful note of all who have followed the royal side.
Many ships have been sent to the coasts of Ireland to prevent the passage of any assistance.
The counties are sending deputies to London to complain about the winter quarters and ask that the troops may be reduced, but a decree has been issued giving Gen. Fairfax complete liberty to do as he pleases about billeting.
[Italian.]
April 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
498. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
For the despatch of the English ship Triangle it behoved the deputy of the English merchants to go to audience of the Grand Vizier. Since then he has made it known that the Vizier had information from the Captain Pasha that of the English ships the greater number are in the fleet of your Excellencies. The Vizier protested that if they did not have them taken away and did not prevent others from going there, the deputy and all the other merchants would lose their heads. He required that the order should be sent by the ships aforesaid. I gather that he wanted to make use of this pretext to prevent that ship going to Venice, lest it should be pressed for war service. I have made counter representations and I hope that the ship will be released.
The Vigne di Pera, the 10th April, 1647.
[Italian, deciphered.]
April 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
499. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 16th April, 1647.
[Italian.]
Enclosure. 500. Advices from London, the 4th April, 1647.
The Upper House granted Bellievre's request to enlist Irish for service under his crown, but the Lower is holding up the decision. Parliament has assigned 50 Jacobus a day for the king's expenses and has ordered that his children, who are in London, shall be taken to spend the summer in one of the royal houses in the country. (fn. 1) In Fairfax's army several soldiers were combining to sign a very seditious demand. The officers found it out and adroitly put a stop to it. Ormond is negotiating seriously with parliament. His hostages, including his own son, have already reached Chester. If Dublin falls into the hands of the parliamentarians the Catholics will be in evil case. But there are divisions and tumults in the city, most of the people being estranged from the marquis by this negotiation.
Instead of fresh commissioners parliament has decided to send only the earl of Ladredaine who, with the Scottish deputies now in London, will join the English in presenting the final demands to the king about signing the peace. In Scotland itself the earl of Antrim and the others still in arms against parliament, have added to their numbers and are established in such strong mountainous country that it will be difficult to drive them out.
In reply to the English request for the restitution of Belfast the Scots have answered that as the place is very convenient for the retirement of their forces in that country, they cannot deprive themselves of it until those forces are able to subsist in the country, but if parliament will satisfy them for what they have spent and for what is due for that war, they will gladly hand it over and will leave the country.
[Italian.]
April 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
501. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Palatine is very active in London over his personal interests. He sent an intimation to parliament there that he had to impart to it a matter of the gravest consequence for the Protestant religion, and for this reason he desired that the Houses would select a deputation of persons who might treat with him upon an affair of so much importance. Parliament was not disposed to satisfy him and he has nominated persons to communicate what touches his restitution to his dominions, asking their advice and assistance for his right conduct.
The English themselves have decided to send an ambassador to Holland to arrange together about their common interests and the course they shall follow. They contemplate a close alliance, and if these two great republics join together they will be much more powerful than any of the monarchies. These vast designs are far from pleasing to the French, but all the same they practice dissimulation, although they do not fail to observe and they remark that parliament by levies and in other ways shows much more inclination to the Spaniards than to this crown.
The advices of London are enclosed.
Paris, the 23rd April, 1647.
[Italian.]
Enclosure. 502. Advices from London, the 11th April, 1647.
Many disbanded officers of the army have presented a petition to parliament asking consideration of their interests and of the government of the country. The Houses told them they should receive the money due to them ; the affairs to the country would be considered at the proper time but it did not behove them to instruct the Houses. They pardon them this time in consideration of past services and their presumed good will though expressed imprudently.
The Dutch ambassador has asked for a pass to go and inform the king of the death of the Prince of Orange, (fn. 2) but has not yet been able to get it. The marquis of Ormond has made a truce with the Catholics in Ireland, until the 10th inst. English style, and it is hoped that this will allow time for the troops being sent by parliament to arrive and take possession without resistance of the places he holds.
In the absence of many Independents the Presbyterians seized the opportunity to carry a resolution in the Lower House that the army should go further away from London and the neighbouring counties. The others think themselves injured and are trying to get the decree rescinded in a full parliament.
They have never answered the king's request to have two chaplains of his faith. Parliament has been warned that a petition is preparing, in the name of the whole army, with over 10,000 signatures, to be presented to them, asking that an act of oblivion for all that has happened in the war be signed by the king. The Houses do not approve and have directed Gen. Fairfax to prevent the presentation. It is also whispered that they will order Fairfax to come to London and that they contemplate appointing some one to his place.
[Italian.]
April 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives.
503. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Denate.
The English Resident has requested pecuniary assistance for his king ; but the pope excused himself, saying that he could not do this as he wished to supply subsidised troops and galleys to the most serene republic. The Resident told me that he had commended this decision but had told them at the same time that they might find other ways without taxing their purses. He complains that when at the first the pope was asked if he would succour that sovereign supposing he did certain things in favour of the Catholic religion, he answered, Yes, and now they are left in the lurch. He attributes all the misfortunes which have happened in Ireland to the fault of Mons. Rannuccini, because he would not act in harmony with the Catholics there, but drew over to himself several bishops. Afterwards he went back to treat with them, but it was then too late. He fears that the Viceroy will have delivered Dublin into the hands of the parliament. He says Rannuccini has shown himself a zealot rather than a politician. He wanted them all to become Catholics at the same time, a thing that was not possible then. The pope defended himself saying he had not chosen him, but others had suggested him as a good man. Nevertheless his auditor is here to remit the 60,000 crowns and more which have been ready so long. But the pope makes difficulties about the payment although in France they have given their consent to the letter being received. Some of the Cardinals themselves warn the pope that Dublin will be lost through his slowness and owing to the difficulties thrown in the way of this payment, declaring that with the capture of that place the war will be finished in that island, and there will be an end of all the advantages for the Catholic faith.
Rome, the 27th April, 1647.
[Italian.]
April 30.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
504. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 30th April, 1647.
[Italian.]
Enclosure. 505. Advices from London, the 18th April, 1647.
The city of London has agreed to lend parliament 200,000 Jacobus for the war in Ireland and as security the Houses have asked the city to ask the best that they can desire.
They have at last answered the king's letter about the chaplains with a refusal, stating that all those named by his Majesty belong to the ones who have not accepted the Covenant or the form of religion established in the kingdom.
The Irish Catholics have sent 3,000 men to help the earl of Ciletto, (fn. 3) who is still in arms in Scotland, so that he may make a diversion there and resist the longer. General Lesle has defeated some troops called Gurdoni in that country, who took arms for the king, (fn. 4) and the marquis of Argyle supplied the troops to enter the Highlands and destroy that party. The earl of Ladredagne is momentarily expected in London to join with the other Scottish deputies to take the king the final word about accepting or refusing the peace.
General Fairfax has written for himself and the whole army that none of them had any intention of preferring requests contrary to the good of the realm or to the satisfaction of the Houses themselves, but they are ready to render the most prompt obedience and to carry out their commands both in England and in the war in Ireland. For that war General Skippon has been appointed commander in chief. He will be assisted by commissioners and the civil government will be entrusted to two presidents and some committees, as was usual before the war.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 It was decided on the 19-29 March to send them to Hampton Court. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. IX., page 80.
2 On the 14th March.
3 Alaster Macdonald, called Colkitto.
4 David Leslie reported on 6th April having taken Anthenden castle, Col. Lewis Gordon, commander. Rushworth : Hist. Collections, Pt. IV., Vol. I., page 455.


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