233. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador to the Congress
at Munster, to Michiel Morosini, his colleague in France.
The Dutch Ambassador extraordinary Pau was to go by way
of Calais, in order to reach London as quickly as possible and
prevent the death of the king of England of which periculum in
Munster, the 5th February, 1649.
[Italian ; copy.]
234. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The queen of England, seeing the danger to which the king is
exposed of being beheaded the king has despatched Varenes with all
speed with the object of staying the execution. At the same time
his Majesty has intimated to the said queen that he hopes for peace in
a few days and will then command the despatch of 40,000 combatants
for the relief of innocence and to establish the respect and obedience
which are due from his people to their prince.
Paris, the 12th February, 1648. [M.V.]
[Italian ; deciphered.]
235. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador to the
Congress of Munster, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Munster, the 19th February, 1649.
236. Advices of London of the 5th February, 1649.
The king of England has on three different days been taken
before the judges appointed by the military for his trial. They
omitted to read a letter presented by the French ambassador,
and both his guards and judges treated him throughout as a
private individual, never taking off their hats or paying him any
kind of mark of homage or respect. He took exception to the
judges as having no authority over their sovereign, without
whom and still less without the concurrence of the House of
Lords they could not pretend to any form of parliament ; nor
did he make any other reply to the charges which were read to
him. They took four days for consultation, in order to pass
sentence without admitting further defence. But in the mean time
it is thought that the Dutch ambassadors may arrive. Even
greater hopes are entertained of a breach being effected in this
democratic body by the Scottish commissioners, who insist
with great earnestness that this case must not be pushed through
without taking the sense of their parliament. It may be they
repent, though tardily, of the abominable example they afforded
two years ago by selling their king to the English for a few pounds
Bibl. S. Marco.
237. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at the
Congress of Munster, from Domenico Condulmier, his
Secretary at the Hague.
Their High Mightinesses have offered their condolences to the
Prince of Wales upon the violent death of the late king of England,
and at the same time their congratulations upon his succeeding
to the royal dignity. He is now accorded the title of Majesty by
all, has an apartment in the palace of the Prince of Orange, lives
of his own revenues, like a king, eats alone and no longer with
his sister, as he used when he merely bore the title of prince.
The Hague, the 22nd February, 1649.
238. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Munster,
to the Doge and Senate.
The poor king of England has at last lost both crown and life
by the hand of the executioner, like a common criminal, in London,
before all the people, without any one speaking in his favour and
by the judicial sentence of his own subjects. The accompanying
narrative gives the particulars. History affords no example of
the like. It is a shame to all contemporary sovereigns, who for
the sake of revenge against each other about trifles have allowed
themselves to be confronted by so imposing a spectacle, of the
worst possible example.
The Prince of Wales, at the Hague, immediately assumed the
royal title, although the kingdom has pronounced him ineligible,
and denounces as guilty of treason any one who calls himself
king of England. The States sent their condolences by a deputy
from each province. In reply the king merely said that his
sole comfort amid so many disasters was to find himself among
them, through whose help he looked for his restoration, under God.
They at once recalled the Ambassador Pau, and some wished to
recall the ordinary Joachimi as well, so as not to give any sanction
to their proceedings, but on second thoughts, as the ambassadors
of Spain, France, Portugal and others remain, they have ordered
Joachimi to do the same, especially as the Commonwealth
(commune), as the English government now styles itself, has
informed the States that all their merchants and goods will be
treated over there like the native English, and that they mean to
form a government resembling that of the Provinces in every
respect, both ecclesiastical and civil, a thing easier said than done.
The States were to compliment the new king on his accession,
but they are not yet agreed among themselves what to call him.
Meanwhile he is drawing up letters to acquaint all the powers of
Europe with the tragedy, and to ask for help. The Grand Chancellor
of Denmark, Ullufelde, is being sent to Holland, France
and Spain, to support his interests, as he is Denmark's cousin.
All commiserate his misfortune and his innocence, although those
who unite to avenge it may be few in number.
Munster, the 26th February, 1649.
239. Last speech of King Charles on the scaffold, together
with other circumstances attending his death. (fn. 1)