48. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 5th November, 1647.
49. Advices from London, the 24th October, 1647.
In revising the peace proposals the Houses have not found much
to alter. They have confirmed to Gen. Fairfax the control of
the land forces, and that of the naval ones to Vice Admiral
Rainsborough, though the fleet is limited to a prescribed number.
The number of those excluded from the peace and pardon is now
reduced to seven, but a pecuniary penalty is imposed on the
others. The Presbyterians and Independents are trying to unite,
and both abandon the interests of the king, seeking their own
advantage exclusively. Thus the Presbyterian government is
confirmed for 7 years more, but with some modifications to satisfy
the Independents. The Catholics and those whom they call
"Libertines" are forbidden any exercise of their religion. To
interest the army in the abolition of bishops and in the extermination
of the Catholics they have assigned to it the amounts realised
by the sale of their effects, to satisfy what is due to the soldiers.
Not content with the sum recently paid to him, Fairfax demands
the rest. The city of London is trying to find it and so the Lower
House has promised the commissioners of parliament with the
army that they will levy it themselves and condemn to heavy
fines those who refuse to pay.
The Sieur de Grignon, brother of Bellievre, is left in the capacity
of ambassador of France, to reside in the kingdom. Not only
is Bellievre recalled but the post of Resident, which was held
here for many years by M. de Sabran, is also dispensed with.
50. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 12th November, 1647.
51. Advices from London, the 30th October, 1647.
Parliament has issued a decree forbidding the further use in
public services of the book of Common Prayer. They have also
decided that in future parliaments shall be triennial, and that the
present one shall continue for a year after the king has signed
the peace proposals. The revised form of these will soon be ready
to present to the king. They are :
(1) Militia to be controlled by parliament for 20 years.
(2) All the honours and ranks conferred by the king shall be
(3) Bishops shall be abolished with all their dependencies, and
the sale of their goods confirmed.
(4) The king shall revoke all declarations against the parliament.
(5) The public debts shall be paid.
(6) Seven shall be excluded from pardon.
(7) The war with the rebels in Ireland shall be prosecuted under
the authority of parliament.
(8) The leading appointments in England and Ireland shall be
conferred by parliament.
(9) The Presbyterian government shall be established in the
Church until the close of the sitting of the next parliament,
and with regard for the weaker consciences, they shall be exempt
from the penalties imposed on those who do not approve them,
on condition, however, that nothing be preached or written
contrary to the confession of the Anglican faith. The Catholics
to be excluded from this modification.
The king has asked that his children may be taken to see him
every 8 or 10 days, but parliament has not yet replied.
52. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to
the Doge and Senate.
A son of General Preston, who commanded the Catholics in
Ireland, has set out for Venice, intending to offer a levy of his
countrymen. I have given him letters of introduction. He was
captured by the French when proceeding by sea with a regiment
to serve Spain. He lost his men and as he would not serve
against the Spaniards he was set at liberty on his giving a promise
to go and serve Venice. News of London attached.
Paris, the 19th November, 1647.
53. Advices from London, the 7th November, 1647.
When the peace proposals are considered perfect fresh difficulties
are constantly arising and they undo one day what they agreed
upon the day before. They talk of sending them to the king
announcing that if he agrees they will at once permit the queen
and the Prince of Wales to return to the country.
The Scottish chancellor and commissioners have gone to the
king at Hampton Court to make various proposals for that
Parliament has left it to the Earl of Northumberland, who is
governor of the king's children, whether he shall take them sometimes
to see his Majesty.
All comedians and other persons of that class have been expelled
under severe penalties, being forbidden, as vagabonds, to enter the
Parliament has ordained that what is realised from the sale of
ecclesiastical goods shall be devoted to paying the troops which
are to be kept, and the revenues of prebends and chapters shall
be devoted to the ministers and education. The synod has
presented the catechism for the approval of the two Houses.
The parliament of Scotland has decreed that their army shall not
be disbanded until the beginning of March.
A small book has been published on behalf of the English army
against the present government. (fn. 1) They took steps to suppress it
at once. As it is believed to have been written by a private
individual rather than by the wish of the army, many officers
have disapproved declaring that they know nothing about it.
Yet a new division is forming in the army, because many soldiers
who believed that the king was to be restored are now realising
that their leaders are only acting for their own interests, and so
these men are forming a new party.
54. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 26th November, 1647.
55. Advices from London, the 12th November, 1647.
The new faction in the army which has caused some regiments to
separate from the others, bears the title of the Levellers (Ugualità)
and demands that the state shall be formed without king, princes
or nobles, but all equal, as men were after the Creation. The
excitement over a small book published last week has not died
down. It bears the title "The Case of the Army" and since it
tends to encourage disorder, they are making careful enquiry
for the author. The chief officers of the whole army have met
about this at the quarters of Gen. Fairfax. They have discussed
certain reforms, and how to find money, reducing the pay of
officers not on active service, cutting down quarters, dismissing
many who only enlisted after the army passed through London,
and seeking securities for the pay which is due to them.
The Lower House has agreed once more upon the peace proposals.
It has conferred with the Upper and they have both
decided to select deputies to examine them again.
56. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople,
to the Doge and Senate.
The drama of the old English ambassador which seemed like an
imaginary tale has now become an historical tragedy through the
most detestable excesses that rebellion has ever devised. On the 23rd
inst. a chiaus and a capigi went to his house followed by others, who
made themselves conspicuous. On the pretext of wishing to draw up
a certain cozetto for the English consul of the Morea, who a few days
previously had been maltreated by the merchants on the pretence of
some crime, because he had taken the side of the old ambassador, they
detained him in conversation awhile, when, bringing on the stage the
other Turks in the guise of witnesses, they seized him by the throat
and dragging him out of his own apartment they brought him down
the stairs with insults and blows, without giving him time to see his
wife or children, while his dress was scarcely decent and no one was
able to follow him. As a greater insult they made him pass before
the house of the new ambassador, where many merchants were
gathered. They hastened to the door and greeted him with grimaces
and made him a salute which was more insulting than respectful.
This was more than he could endure and with determination and
resentment at the plight he was in, he rebuked them as being rebels,
in the face of fresh insults from the Turks, who were carrying him off.
Not content with this the merchants heaped insulting epithets upon
him from the windows. Finally they put him on board a caichio
which followed a devious course from place to place so that there might
be neither time nor means to bring him succour. From what has
come to light since, at midnight they set sail from a place called San
Stefano, not far from the Seven Towers. It is still uncertain how
and where the poor gentleman has been taken.
The French ambassador sent to consult me about what steps should
be taken. I advised that an application should be made immediately
to the Grand Vizier. But France hesitated thinking that the new
ambassador must be at the bottom of this wicked deed, backed by
the merchants, with the help of bribery, and that they might by similar
means have him refused an audience. The only thing that occurred
to him was to draw up an arz to the Grand Vizier demanding the return
of the ambassador to his house. He sent this by his dragoman, who
was received with menaces. The arz was read and the dragoman
dismissed, a capigi being sent directly afterwards. The ambassador's
wife was given two days to leave. Although she was pregnant,
with two babes still at the breast, she was deprived of all her servants,
including the wet nurse and obliged to embark in a saettia destitute
of nearly everything. She is a sister of the earl of Rutland (fn. 2) and
accustomed to every luxury, for in England it is customary to show
the most punctilious respect to women (oltre ogni costume che in
Inghilterra e esatissima di rispetto verso le donne) the ambassador
has always shown her more than ordinary honour and afforded
her every sort of gratification. She chose to embark at night, refusing
the coaches which the new ambassador had provided for her and would
on no account receive any of his people. She went on foot although
the way was a very long one. The French ambassador and I sent
her our respects. She asked me for a loan of 2,000 reals and the
same amount from France, to be repaid in England by her brother,
the earl of Rutland. With much difficulty I got together 1,000 reals
and the French ambassador sent her 500. She expressed the utmost
gratitude but said she was sufficiently provided and refused to take
anything. The gentleman who made the request for her said that she
had reflected that as the earl is with her mother, who is one of the chief
supporters of the parliament, now she understood that the king was in
power and many of the parliamentarians in hiding she would not run
the risk of making an uncertain appointment. It was the action
of a great lady. On the other hand I have been told that some English
merchants, for among so many bad ones it is no very extraordinary
thing if some should be good, had supplied her secretly.
I am anxious to know what will happen after such an excess of
rancour, going so far as to separate husband and wife and not allowing
her a single servant. I have made efforts on behalf of the ambassador,
but without avail ; the die was cast. They assert that at Smyrna
he will be immediately put on board a ship selected for the purpose
by his persecutors, sent to England and delivered into the clutches of
parliament, a circumstance which shows that this new ambassador
will have no dependence on the king. His salvation would be in the
confirmation of the king's good fortune, but it is much to be feared
that if the fanatics here were sure of that they would put him to death
on the voyage. It has been stated that a capigi of the Grand Vizier
has gone with him, who is to accompany him as far as England, and
hand him over, and this might prove his best safeguard. I have
found out that the ambassador in his extremity applied to Safer Pasha,
who has always protected him, but the Pasha was very ill at the time
and could not help. The merchants, who are conscious of a universal
sensation and abhorrence, say that they offered him 60,000 reals to
pay his debts on an understanding that he should go, but he always
said that he could not accept this bargain, and as in the mean time
he had sent his nephew to England they did not want to have one enemy
there and another here. This shows that their perfidious hearts
cannot understand that it was impossible for the ambassador to
desert his post here for money. They say, however, that they have
spent 80,000 reals to drive him away, and they excuse their outrage
and the manner of it by citing the example of Marsceville, (fn. 3) but that
happened without so much violence nor was it the work of rebels.
Nevertheless both are fatal in their consequences, and henceforth
there will be no limit to the iniquities that the Turks will commit.
The ambassador has left behind enormous debts, and almost all of
it owed to our merchants, to a total that falls little short of 40,000 reals.
Allured by the prospect of gain they not only gave him the money
and goods which they had, but also what they obtained on credit from
the Jews, who supplied them at extravagant rates, while the ambassador
being hard pressed to defend himself against attack, signed anything.
Loss of capital and of the expected gains is almost certain. I have
advised them to appeal to the Grand Vizier, saying that in accordance
with the precedent of Count Cesy the new ambassador ought to be
made responsible for the debts. But the English merchants declare
that they will pay 100,000 reals to the Turks rather than discharge
the whole or any part of these debts. Thus the first impertinence
they uttered when the ambassador was taken away was that the
Venetians might now go a hunting for their payment. I should be
sorry to suggest an even greater excess, to wit, that they may have
promised the Turks to prevent your Excellencies from having any
more of their ships. I do not know if they would have the power
to go so far, but the crime they have committed is so great that it seems
to me the Turks would never have consented to it for money alone.
I have reported my relations with the new ambassador. The
French gentleman who came from the ambassadress learned that the
old one had an opportunity of learning many particulars written by
the newcomer, and among other things he had asserted that I had sent
to offer my excuses for not going to pay my respects to him because it
was impossible seeing I was a prisoner, so that on every count I
find that he is a false minister.
The Vigne di Pera, the 28th, November, 1647.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
57. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to
the Doge and Senate.
The English Resident Digby has had an extraordinary and
special audience at which he handed to his Holiness a very biting
paper upon his negotiations at this Court and the lack of good
faith shown to him by arranging for Mons. Rinnuccini to occupy
the kingdom of Ireland and to despoil the king and queen of
England of that country. He has circulated various copies of
this paper and the writing is very elegant and curious. He asked
permission to return to the queen, as they have not cared to pay
any attention to his negotiations or to his demands. The pope
defended himself telling him that he has to render account of
his actions and of the money he spends, and there was not one
Cardinal who advised him to contribute to his Majesty. The
pope urged Digby not to leave before seeing him. The Resident
told Panzirolo roundly that they are doing nothing. If they
were helping the republic and were supplying it with millions, his
Holiness might have a defence to him, but he knew that they
were contributing very little, and that it will be advisable either
to lose or to make a shameful treaty which will be very injurious
to Christendom. Panzirolo replied that the pope is most anxious
to help the queen, but he has been called upon to do a great deal.
He sees there is no other course but to trust to himself and to his
money, because if he should be attacked France says she has the
war and can do nothing, Spain has the will but is exhausted, the
Venetians can do nothing by themselves as they have such a
great war. He promised that they would see in another congregation
what might be done, but Digby expects little from this
and means to leave.
Rome, the 30th November, 1647.