Venice
September 1659

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1931

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61-71

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'Venice: September 1659', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 32: 1659-1661 (1931), pp. 61-71. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90048 Date accessed: 26 November 2014.


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September 1659

Sept. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
62. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The eagerness with which everyone awaited news of the encounter between the parliamentary army and the rebels in Cheshire is matched by the astonishment at the result attained in a moment, the parliamentarians having the best of it, to the extreme delight of the government and the corresponding depression of those who do not love it.
After a toilsome march on which many days were spent General Lambert found himself not far from the enemy. His army being very weary from the hardships of the journey, he gave it a short breathing space and then moved towards the rebels. He came across them at a bridge a few miles out of Chester. (fn. 1) The Presbyterians at first disputed the passage of this bridge with great courage, but when Lambert charged them vigorously and they saw many of their comrades fall, they gave way to a panic fear. The majority tore up their flags, threw away their arms and took to flight, abandoning their leaders, who also tried to save their lives by flight. They retired to Chester, to Leverpul, to Warinton and to other places they had occupied. Having carried the bridge with the loss of very few men Lambert pursued the fugitives, of whom he captured a good many. Meeting some who came from Chester he found on questioning them that the city seemed to have no objection to return to its allegiance to parliament without being compelled to surrender by force of arms. Accordingly he sent some officers to the city promising that if they would leave their gates open to his army, no one should suffer injury and the houses should not be sacked by the troops, but all should have the best treatment. So when he advanced on the city the gates were thrown open and he entered victorious last Sunday. At the same time he had the satisfaction to hear that Leverpul, to which he had sent a part of his army to take it by force if it should resist, had similarly surrendered.
After these successes and having secured the places taken with strong garrisons he set out with the bulk of his army to recover the rest of the places occupied by the enemy in that and the neighbouring counties. These will probably fall as the people are all in consternation and terrified, being in no condition to offer resistance to an army which, though not very strong, has enjoyed a success unlooked for even by its own commanders. So we are expecting to hear of further submissions and of the utter destruction of the rebels, who are totally dissipated, some being taken, some dispersed and some slain.
The number of prisoners is very considerable, including some of the leaders and many persons of quality. Sir [George] Booth, seeing himself in such plight, abandoned by those who had promised him loyalty and constancy, disguised himself, in his desperation, as a woman. Fancying that he would be safer in this city than in any other part of the realm he set out for London But being unable to confine himself entirely to feminine gestures he became suspect to the landlord of the inn where he was staying, not far away. This man secured him and sent to warn parliament. Some troops of horse were at once sent to the place, and Booth being made known by his own confession, was brought to London on Wednesday evening and placed in the Tower. Two members of parliament at once went to examine him there where he is strictly confined, the governor being charged by express resolution of parliament, not to allow anyone to speak with him, and he is not to be visited or accosted or to have the use of pen, paper or ink. The earl of Derby also, who was trying to escape in disguise with a servant, was suspected and taken, being brought prisoner to the chief town of Shropshire.
The government has exulted over these successes, showing its joy by firing all the guns of the Tower of London and ringing all the bells of the city. They immediately voted Lambert a jewel worth 1000l. sterling and rewards to those who brought the news of the victory and recovery of the towns, and to those who suspected and took Booth and Derby.
The majority of the nobility of England is said to be implicated in this conspiracy which has thus failed. London, the chief of the kingdom, has been prevented from raising its head owing to the precautions which were taken in good time. As things have not turned out in the way they were designed there is no longer any doubt that in the other counties, where some sparks of revolt showed themselves, these will die out entirely and they will not join in the conspiracy, but wait for some more favourable opportunity to mature their designs, though God knows when it will come.
From the depositions of Booth they claim to have got information of the complicity of many persons of whom they were previously ignorant. It seems he declares he will hide nothing, saying that they did not keep their promise to assist and join him, and he means them to die with him. Immense forfeitures are expected which will yield the state a considerable revenue, numerous banishments and many hangings. Parliament is already at work on bills for this and there is no doubt that the nobility here will be utterly destroyed and incapable of moving any more against the present government, even in imagination.
In spite of these serious misfortunes, which render the return of the king hopeless, his supporters claim that his interests will still take a favourable turn. They express satisfaction at the imminent ruin of the Presbyterians, for as the late king's destruction was due to them, the present one could not expect much. They feel confident that in the peace between the crowns something good must be arranged for the benefit of his Majesty. The government here is somewhat fearful of this and in the meantime announces that it has definite information that the two favourites who are now maturing in the Pyrenees the fruit for which Christendom has sighed so long, do not so much as mention Charles's affairs.
The mine which was to have sprung being thus rendered innocuous at the outset there is no longer any reason to doubt the loyalty of Monch in Scotland or of Montagu at sea. The foundations which kept them wavering having collapsed, they can look for no other support on which to build their intrigues, so they will dissimulate and pretend to be content.
It will be interesting to see now what form and direction the present government will take. It cannot possibly go on as it is. Parliament does not have a sixth of those who ought to be there and its numbers are insufficient for the decisions which they take. They are therefore trying to establish something more fundamental, and before long we should see what they decide upon, presumably it will be to summon a new full parliament to satisfy the people, at least in appearance, who declare that the present one has no powers to act as it does. Possibly Lambert, who on this occasion has increased his popularity with the troops, who have always been devoted to him, may make some unexpected stroke and finally attain to the position to which he has so long aspired, for which he was disgraced by the Protector Oliver. It appears that some ambiguous expressions in his letters to the council have made the government somewhat suspicious of his proceedings.
Nothing more has been heard of the English plenipotentiaries at the Sound, except that they had their first audiences of the king of Sweden, with no particulars about their business. It is difficult to say what to expect or predict about the adjustment between the two Northern kings, since it seems that the course adopted by the mediators does not please them. They wish to bring about an accommodation by force and it is thought that in the end Denmark will be compelled to enter into negotiations to the exclusion of his allies. He has so far shown determination in resisting this, but under pressure from the Dutch, who threaten to abandon him and make a separate peace with Sweden, it seems very doubtful if necessity will not force him to do what he does not like. Sweden is not very pleased with the English because they render him no service. But the chief reason is that the Dutch decided to compel the two kings to make peace. The French ambassador refused to put his hand to this as being too violent and unusual. But the Dutch contrived to make representations here so that orders were sent to the English resident at the Hague to ratify whatever the Dutch decided in the matter and to act in conjunction with them in forcing those kings to make peace. We shall soon see the results of such unprecedented methods of mediation.
The Ambassador Bordeos having asked for audience to present his credentials to parliament, had it to-day, being treated with the utmost respect and all his claims admitted. Seeing the ease with which audience was granted to the French minister, which is due to the recent victory, I decided not to delay any longer in presenting of your Serenity's letter. Accordingly I went yesterday after dinner to see the President of parliament to show him my credentials, leaving a copy to be read to the assembly, a formality which precedes every audience and which is practised by every minister. He promised to have it read to-day, after which the council will be directed to give me audience, at which I will present the original and perform the rest as instructed.
London, the 5th September, 1659.
[Italian.]
Sept. 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
63. To the Resident in England.
It seems probable that King Charles will take a favourable opportunity to cross to his kingdom. Under such circumstances, with the fear of accidents and the uncertainty about the stability and durability of the parliament's government, it will be prudent for you to postpone the presentation of the credentials.
Ayes, 154. Noes, 3. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
Sept. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
64. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
General Lambert has achieved an easy success in reducing to submission the two places of Harding and Chirck, which were recently occupied by the rebels in Cheshire. The first fell without any resistance, opening its gates to the parliamentary army. The other resisted for some time, but seeing that it could not hold out longer it surrendered on terms, that the governor and all within should be free for two months to justify their action to parliament for moving against it, and if their reasons should prove insufficient to exonerate them they should be banished and leave the country (fn. 2) ; that in the mean time they should have the right to dispose of their property and secure it, so that if they have to go into exile, it may not be at the mercy of the exchequer or any other misfortune.
After this success Lambert entered Wales and was able to quiet the disturbances which had begun there and which seemed likely to grow worse, if matters at Chester had turned out otherwise. He is now in Lancashire to pacify and reconcile that province also, causing the arrest of a number of persons suspected of being the authors or accomplices of the suppressed conspiracy. He has written suggesting the demolition of the castle of Chirk, to deprive the malcontents left there of all hope of fortifying themselves in case they should want to rise again. Accordingly parliament resolved on its destruction and charged Lambert to see that the order was obeyed. They also directed the council of state to make enquiry as to what castles might be pulled down in each of those counties, and to give the assembly its opinion upon which it could decide what course to take.
Meanwhile parliament, considering that there is no further need for the new militia, collected in all the counties at the expense of the people, to relieve them of the burden which was severe when added to the numerous charges piled on their backs, has stopped further proceedings by a public proclamation, (fn. 3) relieving the horse and foot already raised from the guard duty and other things which they had to do, until further order. They have directed the committees of the militia not to take any further steps in raising money and men, leaving all the money already got together in the hands of their treasurers until further order, and charging them to render account to the council of state of all that they have done by virtue of their commissions. They direct Lambert to secure arms and munitions of every kind that he finds in Cheshire, Lancashire and Derbyshire, and the adjacent parts as well as of those persons who refused to assist in suppressing the rebellion, sending a full report of all to parliament for its decision.
The examination of Sir [George] Booth and other prisoners in this city is proceeding, and they say that they keep finding fresh persons implicated in the conspiracy and getting fresh light on what was to happen. Thus by wise precautions, which they intend to take they expect to protect the nation from other similar evil influences. Meanwhile a proclamation has come out for forfeiting all the goods of the four already published as rebels and of all those implicated in the late conspiracy and those who have adhered to the interests of King Charles from the month of January onwards.
In spite of all this there are some who say that there is still trouble to come and that the disturbances are not completely quieted, as announced. The suspicion grows that in the end Lambert will advance some pretensions, and the government is uneasy about it owing to the expressions which it continues to notice in his letters. These do not entirely satisfy them especially as they are aware of his old ambition to occupy Cromwell's place. No one would venture to foretell what will happen, since this is a country subject to change, as may be seen any day, and also to miracles, one may say, since what is now happening is miraculous. Meanwhile parliament is alert and is devoting itself with incessant application to putting straight the government, but so far no decision on the subject has appeared.
Many persons of quality have been imprisoned in Scotland also, as parliament demanded that all the nobility should sign an undertaking by which each one bound himself in favour of this state. All those who refused to do so have been sent to prison and the number is not insignificant.
As regards the affairs of the North it seems that the king of Sweden objects to a settlement with Denmark in the manner demanded by the mediators, condemning their methods as violent and too arbitrary, it being unprecedented that those who should arrange the means for facilitating the accommodation should settle among themselves what was best for their own advantage, and then try to force the chief parties to be reconciled in conformity with their wishes. For this reason parliament has charged the council of state to give the requisite orders and directions to the English plenipotentiaries at the Sound to go on with the agreement made between the mediators upon the affairs of the North in case either of the two kings refuses what is offered to him. They therefore talk as if the fleets would be recalled and it is believed that the English will soon return, so its voyage will not have been any advantage but only a heavy expense to this state.
London, the 12th September, 1659.
[Italian.]
Sept. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
65. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A week ago I reported having given the Speaker a copy of my credentials to read to parliament. I subsequently sent to ask him what had happened and when I might expect it. He sent back word that the council of state had instructions to give it and would let me know the day. Afterwards I learned from Flemingh, master of the ceremonies, that instead of the council a committee of parliament had been appointed, as was done before the Protector. Astonished I told Flemingh what the Speaker had sent to me. He showed me the order of parliament appointing ten members to hear me on Tuesday. As since the resumption of parliament the ministers to whom they wish to show honour have been treated differently, even those inferior to your Serenity, I pointed out how greatly this fashion would injure the state's reputation, which he could not deny. Seeing that nothing was to be done with him I went to the Speaker again on Monday, and told him I had heard from the master of the ceremonies that a committee had been appointed to give me my first audience instead of the council, which had been appointed for others, and contrary to what he himself had told me. The most serene republic always ranked with the crowned heads, and I recognised the injury it would receive. I asked him to report my observations to parliament, feeling sure that they would arrange things differently. He told me that the republic was greatly esteemed by parliament; he was aware that Venice ranked with the great powers; all the other ministers had been treated as they proposed to treat me; and much more, to induce me to consent to this great wrong. I replied that parliament had indeed received the inferior ministers by a committee; since its restoration it had done so with Hamburg, but the ministers of Sweden, Denmark and Holstein had audience of the council of state. I asked no more than to follow this example and that a new precedent should not be created to the detriment of the state I represent. The Speaker denied that any foreign minister had been received except by a committee of parliament. Seeing that I could get no satisfaction out of him and to avoid prolonging the discussion I merely asked him to explain to parliament why I could not receive audience in the manner suggested, and that I was informing the Senate. He promised and has done so, but so far nothing has been decided on the subject, other important affairs preventing despatch. I report this in order that instructions may be sent me, as I should deserve punishment if I acted without. There is no doubt that Sweden, Denmark and even Holstein have been received as stated, or that if I agreed to their proposal the injury would be serious and past remedy. If I can get audience as the others have, I will go at once, but I will not yield on the point without definite instructions from the Senate. I venture to hope that their lordships here, after carefully considering the reasons, will not insist on doing the most serene republic so great a wrong to the injury of a sincere and friendly prince.
London, the 12th September, 1659.
[Italian.]
Sept. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Germania.
Venetian
Archives.
66. Alvise Molin, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters from Brussels of the 23rd state that the king of England sailed not from the Hague but from Boulogne. It is doubtful if he has embarked as it is said that his designs have been discovered, Lambert having gone to suppress a rising in Chester. Wales is said to have declared for the king and 7000 men to be assembled, also Bristol and Newcastle. The chief difficulty is the risk involved and that although the king may succeed in landing in the island he will not be able to join with his dependants without the greatest danger.
Pressburg, the 12th September, 1659.
[Italian.]
Sept. 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
67. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Although many have been saying here that the Ambassador Locart is received by the Cardinal in a manner different from the past and is no longer admitted as a minister, I find the same forms are being kept up and he not only sees the Cardinal from time to time but Don Luigi also, from which one may conclude that affairs in England are not in such a turmoil as was represented with intent, exceeding the real truth, by malcontents and those interested for King Charles. Now that we hear that an encounter has taken place between the parties in which the rebels came off worst there is no doubt whatever that here they will stick to the policy indicated to your Serenity, and nothing can alter this unless they foresee there are good grounds for thinking King Charles will strike a blow; but this is considered a long way off. An additional reason for their attitude is that if the king returns to his realm he will certainly favour Spain, because he was received and welcomed by his Catholic Majesty, whereas he was expelled from France on the conclusion of the alliance with Cromwell. So only in case of good success might they supply him with assistance, to conciliate him to some extent.
Bordeaux, the 18th September, 1659.
[Italian.]
Sept. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
68. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Order having been restored in the disturbed parts of the kingdom with extreme ease and the presence of General Lambert in the country being no longer necessary, it is said that he will soon return to London to render account to parliament of all that he has done. As the government is not without suspicion that certain pretensions may be lying hidden in some ambitious breast, and particularly in one which has always caused misgivings, giving rise to fresh disturbances, parliament is preparing an oath to be presented to all its members, to all officers of the army, to governors of towns and everyone else who holds an appointment or is paid by the state, whereby they must again renounce the title of Charles Stuart and all the line of the late King James and against any other person who pretends to the government of these realms, promising to be faithful to the republic against the above and against all who wish to disturb the peace and tranquillity of the nation.
The whole week has been spent in discussing this question; but yesterday when a decision was expected, they put it aside and resumed the point touching the government, as if they wished to settle that first and then the other. But everything moves with such tedious deliberation at this Court that it is impossible to imagine when a decision will be reached. In the general opinion this can only be by summoning a new full parliament. But before this they wish so to dispose matters that there shall be no doubt about the choice of members to form the successive bodies being persons of the same disposition and opinions as those now sitting.
From the depositions of Sir [George] Booth they are learning much that was concealed concerning the late conspiracy. It is thought that this confession may save his life and even facilitate the recovery of his confiscated goods. This is why gentlemen of rank are being arrested every day so that at present all the nobility of the realm is in prison, and those who are not found are summoned to present themselves, This happened recently to seven who were given until the 27th to surrender to parliament and council of state to clear themselves of the charges against them, (fn. 4) after which date they will be considered guilty of treason, banished, all their goods confiscated and a reward of 100l. sterling to whoever will bring them to justice. By thus destroying all rich and noble persons they deprive the king of whatever hopes were left of returning to this kingdom. Realising that without foreign help he can no longer even dream of this he has set out with the duke of York in the direction of Spain (fn. 5) to treat with the two ministers who are settling the peace between the crowns, and try and get some comfort out of them for his desperate state. He feels the more hopeful as Don Luis d'Haro has shut his ears to suggestions thrown out by Locart on behalf of parliament for instituting negotiations for an adjustment between the Catholic and England.
They are daily expecting the squadron of warships back from the Mediterranean, (fn. 6) which has been there for some time. Another will be sent at once in its place of 8 or 10 good ships, to secure the trade for the merchantmen of the country, who are much harassed by corsairs, particularly by the squadron of Montesarchio. It is not yet known who will command the new one, whether Stochs, who commanded the old, or another. It will probably be Stochs, as they are waiting for his arrival before making the despatch. He cannot be long as his last letters were from Marseilles stating that he was only waiting for a favourable wind to return home.
Of the 44 English ships in the Sound all except two or three have returned home with General Montagu, who is expected in London to-day. He has thus anticipated the order that would have been sent, because the severity of the weather, which is beginning over there would not suffer him to stay longer without risk of serious injury.
The plenipotentiaries remain with the king of Sweden but they hold out scant hopes of any good results from their negotiations. The Swede will not listen to the proposals made to him by the mediators, possibly hoping that the winter and the ice, which in previous years has been to his advantage, may enable him to resume his victories and even give him Copenhagen.
Owing to the long turn taken by the despatches which have gone from Lyon to Bordeaux and thence to Paris, I have been some weeks without your Serenity's missives. Three packets have reached me together since last week, two of the 26th July and the other of the 9th August. Those of the 16th arrived yesterday. I will attend carefully to the instructions, especially about the change of ambassador at Constantinople, of which nothing more has been heard as yet. I will make use of the information about the choice of ambassadors extraordinary to the pope, the Most Christian and the Catholic, in reference to the peace which is believed to be settled though not yet made public. In receiving these despatches I note that of the 2nd August to be missing. I mention this in case duplicates are necessary. It must have been lost in touring about France.
I am unable to add any more about the audience requested of parliament as no decision has been taken in response to my representations. Those to whom I speak privately lead me to expect satisfaction, but I cannot say with any confidence what will happen. They put off on the pretence of other affairs and I can do nothing without definite instructions from the Senate.
London, the 19th September, 1659.
[Italian.]
Sept. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
69. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After parliament had considered and discussed the question of establishing the present government in some more fundamental all permanent manner and was thought to be nearing the end, after devoting so much time to the subject, we hear this week that it is to be referred to a committee for more thorough discussion. This has instructions to examine carefully divers suggestions on the subject from 1648 onward and prepare something for presentation to parliament, reporting before the 20th October next so that the assembly may be able to decide what is proper.
Meanwhile everyone is anxiously waiting to see what direction will be given to this great machine, which certainly needs it, since it cannot possibly go on as it is. What this may be is inscrutable for the rulers themselves do not know what to decide. Some want an aristocracy, some democracy, some other forms. The President of the congress having got the minister of Genoa here to tell him about the government of his republic maintains that that should be the model, but so far no one supports him. Others want the Dutch model. Others again would like to set up the admirable form of our republic, but this can never be because they want to exclude the nobles. In short they are involved in confusion and the outcome will be the more noteworthy.
After this had passed in parliament nothing further happened except that for some weeks nothing is to be discussed or settled in the assembly except finance, the military and other particulars touching the public alone. Accordingly they at once set to work on a tax they think of imposing of 100,000l. sterling a month on the three kingdoms. They are toiling at this though there is no doubt that the result wall be to cause a great commotion among the people, who are too sorely tried by the numerous ordinary and extraordinary charges to which they have to bend their backs.
The mayor of the city of London (fn. 7) being of one mind with the parliament, for he is an Anabaptist like themselves, they have passed a resolution that he shall continue in office for another year, as his time will soon be up and they do not want him to go. This is an infringement of the privileges of the city, which it claims to maintain inviolable. In two weeks time the nomination of his successor is due, who will continue for the succeeding 12 months and the government is afraid that the common council of London will not accept this decree, especially as the present mayor is not liked by any of the citizens, indeed he is universally detested. They are accordingly apprehensive of some disturbance, and we shall soon see what will happen. Parliament took this step because it foresaw the probable election of a mayor entirely opposed to its designs, and knowing the influence he exercises over all the citizens it feared some mischance, since all are sick of the present rule.
In addition to all this and in spite of what has happened in favour of parliament, which should serve as a lesson to all who think of starting disturbances, they say that some other mine is being contrived by the Millenarists or Fifth Monarchy men, in which they say a great part of the army is concerned, and General Lambert himself. The government still entertains serious misgivings about him especially as he tarries so long in returning to London after putting down the late risings. Time alone can show the issue as it is impossible to form any judgment in a country so unstable and so subject to change.
The government has been disturbed and alarmed by a report circulated at the palace of negotiations for a marriage between the king of Scotland and a niece of Cardinal Mazarini and that French and Spanish forces will assist his Majesty to return to his country. This is much discussed at Whitehall and I am told that the council of state may have received reports about it, but I cannot venture to record it with any assurance, as in this clime one cannot believe anything that is said, so subject are they to lying and change.
Besides the numerous arrests following the late conspiracy, they have sent to London from Yorkshire Lord Facombridge, Oliver's son in law. He was immediately placed under guard like the other persons of rank brought to this city, as they suspect them all and have something to say to each.
Nothing has been decided yet about my audience and if it was granted in the way I desire I could not perform it as the master of the ceremonies has been indisposed since Monday.
The copy of the credentials of the resident of Genoa were taken to parliament by the President, but it seems that they will not receive them because they contain the title of “Most Serene Prince” and they desire it simple in the manner adopted already by your Serenity.
The ducal missives of the 2nd August, which I reported missing, reached me yesterday evening from Paris, together with those of the 23rd, so that now everything is in order.
London, the 26th September, 1659.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Winnington Bridge, near Northwich, on 19 August o.s.
2 Chirk surrendered on 24 August o.s. Sir Thomas Middleton, was its governor.
3 By resolution of parliament on 27 August, o.s. Journals of the House of Commons Vol. vii., page 709.
4 By proclamation of 3 September, o.s. They were John Mordaunt, Col. Edward Massey, Charles Stuart earl of Lichfield, Sir Thomas Leventhorp, William Compton son of the earl of Northampton, Thomas Fanshaw and Maj. Gen. Richard Brown. Mercurius Politicus Sept. 1–8.
5 Charles was at St. Malo on 8–18 September. Clarendon: State Papers Vol. iii., page 561.
6 The ships from the Mediterranean arrived in the Downs on 15 and 16 September o.s. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1659–60, pp. 201, 203.
7 Alderman John Ireton.