516. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Parliament in London has referred the capture of the Swedish
ships to the Admiralty office (offitio del mare), to decide what is
right in the matter. This means a suit and a long drawn out
affair. Here to avoid the appearance of a sensible affront
they circulate the report that the ships belong to merchants, as
it is desirable to dissimulate and not provoke a quarrel.
Encloses usual sheet of London news.
Paris, the 4th June, 1647.
517. Advices from London, the 23rd May, 1647.
They expect to-morrow the decision of the army about disbanding
and also about going to Ireland. Skippon and the other
officers deputed by the Houses have informed them that
parliament means to give them full satisfaction for the money due
to them and has had the act of oblivion read. The troops seem
inclined to be satisfied and in an apology they have had presented
to the Lower House they clear themselves of the false report
that they meant to restore the king to his former state. Until
this affair is peacefully settled they will not send the commissioners
to the king with the peace proposals. His Majesty often
asks about their coming and seems impatient to see them as soon
as possible. A woman who furtively tried to put a packet into
the king's hand has been arrested by the guards and the letters
The marquis of Ormond, to remove all suspicion, offers to leave
the country with 5,000 Irish and go to serve another prince,
promising absolutely not to return to bear arms against the
Houses. The Irish Catholics are still besieging Ciletog, but the
parliament troops, entering the county of Mayo, have inflicted
losses on them and have cut to pieces a good number of Catholics.
But the parliament army is short of munitions of war and food
and so it cannot make much progress. Certain regiments are at
Chester and are waiting for a wind to cross to Ireland.
518. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
They have decided in England to give up the captured 12 ships
and present them to the queen with a compliment, representing
that the incident was fortuitous and unavoidable, and for the
rest their friendship and correspondence are unchanged.
Some sharp letters have passed between the governor of
Boulogne and the English Vice Admiral, the latter complaining
that privateers find refuge in the port and in others along the
coast of France. The governor made a haughty reply, but being
admonished by the Court not to provoke ill will he has since
observed a proper moderation.
The English news is in the enclosed sheet.
Paris, the 11th June, 1647.
519. Advices from London, the 30th May, 1647.
Colonel Bosuel who was arrested some weeks ago after having
put a packet into the king's hand, has been taken from the Tower
to another prison, from which it is concluded that the Houses
consider him guilty and worthy of death.
A deputation has come from the Northern counties offering to
find the goods of delinquents which are concealed from parliament,
to the amount of more than 100,000 Jacobus. They at
once received an appointment as those who offer to find cash are
always gladly heard.
The Lower House has sent to the Upper the proposals it intends
to offer to his Majesty, so that both Houses may be agreed.
Meanwhile the king, annoyed at the delay, has asked that a
secretary may be sent to him to do some writing. Parliament
refused, so his Majesty has written a long letter in his own hand,
complaining of his treatment as they even deny him the conveniences
allowed to a private person. If he is a prisoner, it is
superfluous to treat with him, because his will is not free. If he is
free he cannot, without loss of dignity, accept the proposals
already made to him. He knows that many would advise him to
accept everything and to keep nothing, but that was not his
sentiment. He wished to treat loyally and sincerely and to agree
to moderate terms rather than to unjust ones. He would agree
to the militia being under the control of parliament for ten
years and then return to its former state. For Presbyterianism to
last for three years and for a synod to settle the permanent form,
in which 20 preachers, chosen by himself should take part. The
approval of everything done under his seal and the parliament's.
To include all persons on both sides in a general oblivion. These
points accepted to allow him to come to parliament where he
assures them he will give and receive every proper satisfaction,
and he undertakes to bring back the Prince of Wales to the
country. (fn. 1) The Houses have spent four days in considering this
letter and have not yet decided on their answer.
To the army which they wish to disband they offer two months'
pay and one and a half more to those who are willing to cross to
Ireland. As much more is due to it there is some uncertainty
whether they will be satisfied.
The castle of Caterlegh in Ireland has fallen into the hands
of the Catholics (fn. 2) who hope that this will help them to further
520. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
60,000 crowns have arrived from Rome in letters of exchange
to provide succour for the Catholics of Ireland. Here they
will not permit the papal nuncio to take this sum away in ready
money out of the kingdom, as was required by Irish interests, to
avoid damaging the exchange. Good intentions and hopes were
held out to them, but in the end it was resolved to avoid the
least shadow of anything likely to offend England, and rather to
suffer every insult from the parliament. The ships of parliament
have recently arrested 500 men who were crossing from Ireland
for the service of this crown. The advices of London are attached.
Paris, the 18th June, 1647.
521. Advices from London, the 6th June, 1647.
The Houses have not yet decided upon their reply to the king's
letter. But the lords have resolved that the royal house of Oatlands
shall be prepared for his Majesty and that he shall be taken
there. The Commons were some days before they finally gave
their assent. Bringing the king so near the capital and parliament
makes it likely that the peace negotiations will make more
progress than in the past, and it is coming to be known that the
despatches from the queen, put into the king's hand secretly
some weeks ago, urged him to accept any terms.
The army will be disbanded more quietly than was expected.
Parliament has won over the superior officers and the rest will
have to give way. General Fairfax will be the first to disband his
regiment and the others can but follow the example of their chief.
The disbanding is to begin on the 11th.
Sir Chilegre is deputed by the Houses to pay their respects
to the Archduke in Flanders. The French minister betrays
extreme jealousy about this, feeling that the generality lean to
the Spanish side, and it is they who will profit most from this
disbanding of the army.
The Irish Catholics are in the field in strong force forming two
army corps. At Chester a good number of ships are waiting for
a wind to carry succour to the parliamentarians.
522. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople,
to the Doge and Senate.
The continued blockade of the Dardanelles by the Captain General
may prevent the embarcation of troops here from Asia for Candia.
But it may be done elsewhere, and in particular at Smyrna, where as
I understand, they are keeping the foreign ships held up for this end.
Two days ago an olacco arrived with a report that the captains were
making great difficulties about serving ; they had not been able to
take away their sails or rudders and since there was no fortress at the
place they could not compel them. They had tried the effect of
persuasion, but the captains declared that unless they received letters
from their consuls they certainly would not serve. Owing to the
serious consequences involved I have appealed to the ambassadors
of France and England and to the Flemish consul ; but everyone
hopes that this violence will not be committed. I do not know what
has happened. The olacco was sent back yesterday with orders to
the Aga to stay there and to arrange in some way or other that the
ships shall not depart.
The Vigne di Pera, the 19th June, 1647.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
523. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
First by the ordinary and later by special advices to the queen
of England we have heard of such a great revolution in the affairs
of England that everyone is in suspense to hear the sequel. It
was supposed that the army would be disbanded, and Gen.
Fairfax left London for the purpose promising that he would be the
first to set the example with his regiments ; but the very opposite
has happened. He sent a courier to inform the Houses that when
he reached the army he could not induce it to be satisfied with what
was promised and it was consequently in a mutinous state. He
had served faithfully but he could not do the impossible. Parliament
in alarm at once stopped Col. Scippon who was going thither
with the money to pay them, so that the money might not fall
into the hands of the rebels. So much from the ordinary, but the
latest news is that 500 of the cavalry have gone to Humby and
taken possession of the king, arresting the commissioners of
parliament who guarded him and carrying them to the camp.
So far the news is authentic, but the rest is still obscure and
uncertain. At the queen's house they hear that Gen. Fairfax,
supplying arms to his Majesty, is marching on London with the
whole army, the king at the head, to set him on the throne again
and take him to his parliament. The partisans of that body, on
the other hand, assert that Fairfax has had him taken back to
Humby and placed him under guard, while the army does not
stir and is waiting for the satisfaction promised by the Houses,
who are determined not to spare money or any means to dissipate
the cloud. A few days will clear this up. Meanwhile it is certain
that the disorder in London has been extreme and if the king
goes there with the army he will meet with no resistance. They
have furnished the ramparts with guns and ordered 30,000 men
of the city to take arms. It is also certain that Fairfax who,
after so many victories, hoped to rise in that republic as Orange
did in the Netherlands, has met with scant recompense and gratitude
from the Houses and has even been obliged to lay down his
arms. Further the parliamentary faction is itself divided into
two sects one of the Presbyterians who do not want a king or
any religion but that of Calvin ; the other of the Independents,
who love the monarchy, but with limited power, and for religion
that every one shall follow that which his conscience dictates.
The majority in the Houses belong to the first while nearly all the
commanders in the army belong to the second and so dissension
has risen more easily between them.
The 500 Irish who were coming to serve this crown have been
set at liberty, the parliamentarians realising that in this state of
affairs it does not behove them to provoke their neighbours. The
Ambassador Bellievre, who has leave to return, is now ordered
to wait until they see how things turn out and to put the final
touches to some other business.
Of the English levy of which your Serenity writes in the ducal
missives of the 25th I can report nothing certain, the less because
with the present revolution there is clearly great risk of losing a
lot of money for very little result. The negotiations with them
have not been lengthy and there are numerous articles and proposals
which I have not sent to avoid being tedious. As they have
not found the caution here I suggested that since by the agreement
they were not to receive any money until after embarcation, they
should lade their ships, undertaking to hold a muster in passing
La Rochelle, which is their route, not many leagues from the
Scilly Islands, where the embarcation was to take place, and then
supply the money both for the levy and the voyage in accordance
with the number of effectives that they produced. They would
not agree to this and I went no further. I think this was wise in
view of what has happened. But I shall wait to see what time will
bring forth since it is extremely desirable to open that kingdom
to levies for your excellencies, as if we do not begin to take them
early, supposing peace does not follow, I do not know what we can
promise ourselves for next winter, as the slender numbers of those
who come to the royal service may force the ministers to close
the door against foreigners.
Paris, the 25th June, 1647.
524. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at the
Congress of Munster, to the Doge and Senate.
The most important news received in these parts, and it comes
from several quarters, is that the king of England has been set at
liberty by the self same parliamentary army that was guarding
him at Hambi. With this army, after having recovered the
fortress of Oxford, he is marching straight on London, which he
will deal with as he pleases, since parliament has no other force to
send against him. This is a circumstance of such magnitude that
many require further confirmation before they will believe it.
Should it be verified it is so miraculous that those who stood
out against peace will recognise that to refuse one on advantageous
terms calls for the vengeance of Heaven.
Munster, the 28th June, 1647.
525. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople,
to the Doge and Senate.
They still cherish the idea of making use of the ships at Smyrna.
As there have been negotiations to let them out on hire I have tried to
arrange that there shall be difficulties over this also, owing to the
injury that would be inflicted on trade. However they have demanded
10,000 reals for each ship, a circumstance which has brought the
negotiations to a stop. There is now some fear that the Captain
Pasha may take them by force. Meanwhile even here they have
displayed the utmost violence against certain ship captains who were
about to sail, under the pretext that they did not fire a salute for the
Captain Pasha when he departed. They have been put in irons
and the Grand Vizier hopes to wring a lot of money out of them.
This may exasperate the nations and induce them to serve your
Serenity more readily.
The Vigne of Pera, the 29th June, 1647.
[Italian ; deciphered.]