Venice
December 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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96-104

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'Venice: December 1659', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 32: 1659-1661 (1931), pp. 96-104. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90051 Date accessed: 21 September 2014.


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December 1659

Dec. 1. Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Padova.
Venetian.
Archives.
100. Bernardo Denude, Podesta, and Anzolo Marcello, Captain of Padua, to the Doge and Senate.
In response to your Serenity's commands of the 19th November we learn that the attendants of the earl of Arundel here have letters from London of the 24th October. That parliament has been completely dissolved by the commanders of the army, and thereby all trouble for the house of Arundel is at an end; that Lord Lambert is declared generalissimo of the armies and consequently head of the kingdom who is a friend of the house of Arundel and is disposed to favour it as other commanders have done. The same letters state that even if parliament is reinstated the family will not suffer, as the control of the estates is in the hands of four gentlemen during the earl's indisposition, in conformity with the laws of the country, which the parliamentarians cannot gainsay. All these things are reaffirmed by other letters of the 30th from a secretary of the family, and that the earl will not be molested here, his interests being very well looked after there. This is all confirmed again in other- letters of the 4th November, containing assurances that Lambert means to favour and sustain the house of Arundel, and he is now the chief man in the government; that General Munch who took arms against him in Scotland is about to submit to him, and the government will soon be established without opposition. The members of the earl's family in London have had a copy of the letter written by parliament to your Serenity.
Padua, the 1st December, 1659.
[Italian.]
Dec. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
101. Gio. Battiste Nani, Venetian Ambassador extraordinary in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The king of England came with the Cardinal as far as Dax and there he took his leave. He is expected with his mother at any moment, and after spending two or three clays with her he will proceed to his habitual quarters in Flanders. There is some talk of Turenne serving him with the tacit assent of the crown and that he means to throw himself into England. But I am able to state on better authority that the king got nothing from the Court except generalities with hopes that according to the trend of events they would not fail to promote his fortune. They added that France having barely emerged from a great war was in no state to undertake another immediately. It is believed however that should some great conjuncture arise, propitious to King Charles and his restoration, France would certainly desire to co-operate, in order that he might releasee that his good fortune was due to the benefits of this crown; but in the present state of affairs they will contribute nothing but attention and hopes (non si contribuera che attenzione et speranze).
Paris, the 2nd December, 1659.
[Italian.]
Dec. 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
102. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
There is no definite news of any reply from General Monch about the agreement made here and sent to him for ratification, although there has been time enough. At the palace they admit the fact but hold out hopes that Monch will undoubtedly accept what has been arranged with his commissioners. Outside, though I cannot find on what grounds, it is rumoured that Monch objects to confirming it and that he insists more and more on the restoration of parliament, without which he will not agree to any settlement whatsoever. No one can say which, view is the right one with any assurance but this much is certain that the letters which Fluted was to have sent last Saturday to each regiment and garrison for the election of officers to come to London for the 6th have been held up although they were written and signed. This affords good reason to suspect that things are not going as they would like. We must wait patiently for time to bring light.
The day before yesterday a letter to the common council was presented from Monch in justification of his present action. The reading was at once postponed to another day for more mature consideration, a further sign that things are not going well. To discredit the letter and make the people believe that Monch is more inclined to peace they publish from the palace that the letter is an old one written before the commissioners left Scotland, and conceal the date. But it is unlikely that it has taken two weeks to come from Scotland especially as there has been no manifest interruption in the usual ordinaries. (fn. 1)
All these things serve to add to the great uneasiness of those who now govern, which is increased further by the news that in spite of sending the commissioners and a professed leaning to peace Monch has assembled a congress at Edinburgh consisting of two members for each county and one for each city and borough, without the object being known. This is a sort of parliament and undoubtedly causes great apprehension here although they get it stated that the meeting can serve no purpose as those assembled have no powers or instructions from their superiors to arrange anything with Monch. Here again we must wait for enlightenment from time though it cannot be denied that things are extremely complicated and there is little sign of their settling down soon.
In the matter of the government nothing can be said as nothing has been settled or approaches a settlement. Meanwhile the country persists in refusing to pay taxes by virtue of the act passed by parliament on the day of its fall. They are beginning to threaten to allow the soldiers free quarters, which would be a terrible burden on the people, thinking to intimidate them and make them pay, thus providing additional reasons for predicting confusion and misery in these kingdoms.
Locart has arrived from Dunkirk and everyone is eager to know what he brings. They say he reported the entire disposition of Cardinal Mazarini to maintain unshaken the friendly relations with this republic and his steadfastness in refusing to support King Charles in any way. That Don Lost d'Haro treated him with great courtesy and showed no aversion from peace with England. No one can say if these reports are true, but it is very doubtful, especially as they are sending Locart back to Dunkirk at once while they announce great naval armaments and great levies by land whereas if they have no enemies to fear they would not need to make these efforts, though it is unimaginable how they can be done without money. From other quarters it is known that Charles was treated in royal fashion in Spain and left entirely satisfied and with the hope of advancing his interests during the present crisis by foreign assistance.
They have ordered the demolition of Mardich and the erection of a fort at the mouth of the port which leads to Dunkirk, showing that they feel some apprehension and that all their reports must not be taken literally.
Old Galileo, impatient for the ransom of his son who for 8 years has been a slave in the hands of the Turks, has petitioned the committee of safety to make strong representations to the Senate for his release and for the payment of the sums owed to him for his son's salary. The committee sent Mr. Stricherland, one of its members, to me to ask for the more prompt effectuation of these things. He urged that your Excellencies should procure the release of Galileo at once and pay the debt, the lack of which had involved the ruin of the family. I told him what the Senate had done and the efforts of the Captain General da Mar, while I assured him of the readiness of the state to pay the debt with the utmost promptitude, with more to show the desire of your Serenity to please the nation as well as Galileo. Stricherland replied that Galileo had received fair words more than once but nothing was ever done, and he could not pay his debts with these. He had not even been able to get the 3000 ducats voted for him four years ago. The committee asked the Senate strongly for the more prompt ransom of the son and payment of the debt which might be made to John Druynesteyn at Venice, who has powers to act for Galileo. I promised to report everything to the Senate so that your Excellencies may act as you see fit.
London, the 5th December, 1659.
[Italian.]
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
103. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Ten merchant ships have left Cadiz with goods destined for the coasts of the Indies, since they know that the internal troubles of England do not allow of reinforcements for the fleet in those parts. Two ships of the guard have also left for the Canaries where they are to take on board the canon which were left in those islands by the galleons two years ago.
Madrid, the 10th December, 1659.
[Italian.]
Dec. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
104. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
General Monch has not yet ratified the agreement concluded here by his commissioners with the army of England, and meanwhile he continues his military preparations in Scotland. He pledges the troops there to himself by oaths and attestations, duly signed and holds his assembly at Edinburgh in the parliament house. The presence there is noted of the earls of Glencarne and Montgomery with others of that kingdom, former supporters of the king, which makes them very suspicious and anxious here, especially as we hear that Monch is making proposals to that assembly, asking for money and other things, that it is favourably received and that they promise to oblige him. In spite of that they announce at the palace that Monch's commissioners assure them the adjustment will be ratified and every satisfaction given. To bear this out they issued yesterday a letter of Monch to Lieutenant General Flitud (fn. 2) in which he says he is not quite clear upon certain points in the accommodation, and the officers here are now met to consider how they can make things clear to him to prevent the upsetting of the peace and good relations which they desire so much. In this letter Monch expresses a wish to send to England two fresh commissioners, to unite with the three already sent for the fuller consideration of the adjustment and finally conclude it. He also asks that his deputies may confer with five officers to be nominated by Lambert.
Lambert is at Newcastle, having posted his army in the surroundings. The three Scottish commissioners are leaving for that place and they are preparing and sending to Lambert the instructions necessary for this conference. But the suspicions of Monch are increased by his tardiness in ratifying the adjustment, and many think that he is temporising in this way, without coming to any decision, encouraging the hopes of the English and meanwhile strengthening his forces and his finances so that when the time comes he may appeal to arms with more certainty of success. But without the power of prophesy it must be left to time to show what will ensue.
From the seal and other indications it is suspected that the letter may be a forgery which was last week presented in Monch's name to the common council of the city of London, in which he explains the reasons for his action and asks them to declare in favour of the army of Scotland, and by order of the committee of safety two colonels who delivered it have been arrested. (fn. 3) Nothing definite can be gathered from them, one saying that he had it of the other, and the other absolutely refusing to say from whom he had it; so the examination is proceeding and the colonels remain prisoners.
The committee of safety has these days presented to the committee of the army officers part of the model of government which is being prepared to set up here. The officers are considering, debating and correcting it. It will be returned to the committee of safety and presented by them on Tuesday next the 6th inst. to the council general of army officers of the three kingdoms assisted by some naval officers as provided in the agreement between the Scottish and English commissioners. By virtue of that it is, they say, certain to be upheld, but many are of the contrary opinion and the probabilities are against it, for as Monch has not confirmed the adjustment the settlement cannot be said to be entirely in force and consequently nothing can be lawfully done thereby as the officers of Scotland cannot intervene. But as they do what they like here they may get over this point with the idea of satisfying the people who are looking for some form of government.
They lead them to expect this soon and so far as one can see it will consist of a parliament, senate and council of state, the last two formed from members of the first. The parliament will not be free, but less numerous than it used to be and composed of military persons and dependants of the army. But this cannot be the way to satisfy the people, who will not thus enjoy their ancient privileges, so there is reason to look for further troubles and differences in these realms unless it please God to put a term to the calamities of this people who only suffer what they deserve for so many old and recent sins.
Governor Locart has left the palace and is about to set out for Dunkirk. His movements are most accelerated by his desire to be on the spot quickly to deal with events beyond the sea as they are very apprehensive of some design of the Spaniards against Dunkirk, now they are about to announce the peace between the Most Christian and Catholic kings. It is solely from fear of surprise from the Spaniards they they have destroyed Mardich and built another fort at the mouth of the port, in the expectation that it will make Dunkirk safer.
London, the 12th December, 1659.
[Italian.]
Dec. 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
105. Franceso Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
My stay of four years at this Court has exhausted the slender resources of my house, as in addition to keeping up a proper state I have suffered many misfortunes. At the beginning of my residence I had my coach stolen; after two years I experienced a considerable robbery, with peril to my life. Last year the English ship Lion was taken at sea by corsairs off Majorca, and on it were wax and other provisions of no small value, sent me by my uncle Geronimo for the service of my chapel. In addition to all this a week ago a footman ran away. Besides the new livery he wore he carried off over 60l. sterling stolen from a casket which he opened and locked again in some incomprehensible manner. With all my efforts I have not succeeded in laying hands on him, and this is the last stroke. I beg the Senate to have compassion on my state and treat me with the liberality which is customary on such occasions to those who serve them.
London, the 12th December, 1659.
[Italian.]
Dec. 19.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
106. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Things at this Court remain so tangled that there seems little prospect of their being settled speedily in a durable form and the record of them must necessarily be doubtful and uncertain subject as they are to change in a moment. It is, however, quite certain that things cannot go on for long as they are or that we shall not shortly see some terrible and tragic change in this country.
Nothing more can be reported of Scotland, everything remaining as it was without sign of an adjustment, and we do not know either what will happen at the congress at Newcastle between the five Scottish and five English commissioners. So much delay alone serves to confirm the opinion that Monch is trying to gain time, from which he hopes to profit, as he easily may, and as will appear before long.
Certain sheets are circulating in London in the form of petitions from the citizens to the mayor and common council of the city, for signature by persons of every sort. The committee of safety, suspecting that some other design might be behind this, issued an order a week ago that whoever in the future should venture to sign such papers or present them for signature should be held a disturber of the peace and guilty of treason and punished accordingly. Anticipating that this might cause some commotion in the city as depriving the people of the right to petition, they caused some regiments to patrol London. On Monday a scuffle occurred between these and the apprentices. In a moment all the shops were closed and a great tumult arose which was quieted by the efforts of the common council; but two of the apprentices were killed, many on both sides were dangerously wounded and the soldiers broke and cast down one of the gates of the city which had been shut by the rioters.
Subsequently, in spite of the committee's orders and the disturbances, the apprentices presented a petition to the mayor and common council of London, signed by thousands of them, for the calling of a free parliament and other matters tending to the maintenance of the ancient privileges of the realm. The common council is now considering this petition, which is very significant as it is evident that the people are far from satisfied with the present procedure. Since it is known that the minds of the leaders in London are not in accord but utterly divided while the boatmen, butchers, porters, apprentices and others of the lower orders who can in a moment supply an inexhaustible number of combatants, are at one; there is good ground for anticipating serious disturbances. For fear of this the army is causing strict guard to be kept in the city and has introduced a quantity of guns, bombs and other artificial fires, causing many to suspect some dangerous intention in the army if they cannot draw the city over to their side altogether; but that will be impossible owing to the incredible division which reigns among those who govern it.
To all these distressing things are added fresh misfortunes which serve to increase the depression and mistrust. The town of Porsmoud, possessing a good port and castle, has declared against the present rule and for parliamentary authority. In the port they have secured some men-of-war and merchant ships and proclaim that they want a parliament. Bodies of horse and foot were immediately sent from here to reduce the garrison to submission to the army, but as the issue is uncertain there is good reason to fear that other towns and counties will follow the example and revolt. To prevent this orders have been sent to the counties for assembling the militia who were raised last summer and then dismissed, but with the diminution of the forces in the metropolis this might give rise to fresh disturbances. Time will show but your Excellencies will foresee what must infallibly happen in the end if these realms are to enjoy peace and quiet.
On Tuesday was opened the council general of officers of the armies of the three kingdoms, even though Monch has not yet ratified the agreement by virtue of which this council was constituted. The number of those taking part receives additions daily as officers are constantly arriving from the garrisons of England and Ireland, but from Scotland those who have declared for Monch are wanting. They are working at the question of the government and hold out hopes of something soon. Everyone agrees that they must have a new parliament with a Senate and Council of State, but nothing has ripened as yet and it is better to defer writing on the subject until there is something more definite.
As regard affairs of the North we hear of a great victory (fn. 4) won by the Danes, Dutch and other allies against the Swedes in the island of Feunen with the capture of the town of Neuburgh and of all their baggage, many Swedes being slain and taken, with every other indication of a great success for the victors.
London, the 19th December, 1659.
[Italian.]
Dec. 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
107. Giacomo Quirini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
It is several weeks since any English ships of war appeared in the Strait, the sea and navigation remaining free from this formidable nation, indeed six privateers of Majorca, taking advantage of the time and opportunity have attacked and captured towards Malaga three large English ships laden with merchandise.
Madrid the 24th December, 1659.
[Italian.]
Dec. 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
108. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have nothing to report about the affairs of Scotland as things remain in the same position without any change. Monch has not yet ratified the agreement nor has the congress of commissioners opened at Newcastle, as Monch's additional two have not yet started. The delay only serves to increase their misgivings and suspicions here especially as we learn that the general has recalled the first three from Newcastle to Scotland, without the reason being known. The five English remain waiting for the return of the Scots to begin the conference and try and find some compromise that will satisfy the army of England and that of Scotland.
The general congress of officers of the three nations has acted so far with great energy. They are still meeting and have decided to summon a new parliament to open at Westminster on the 24th January next, old style. To this end the committee of safety has issued a special proclamation and is now preparing the writs for the election of the members who are to take part.
It is claimed that this sudden calling of parliament is the only means for appeasing dissatisfaction, steadying feeling and preserving the liberty of the people. They groan for this but if they are not to be free as they desire, none of the above results can be expected because the whole affair will only consist of military men or dependants of the army.
Divers things not to be altered by any parliament or any one else under any pretext soever have been resolved recently in the council general of officers, now sitting at Whitehall, to be observed as fundamental laws of the country. These are that there shall be no king or other sole person to act as supreme magistrate; that an army shall be maintained to preserve the peace of the country; that there shall never be a house of Lords; that the legislative and executive power shall be distinct and divided among several, with many other things, all out of harmony with the wishes of the people.
With the relations between the city of London and the army not entirely friendly, the former appearing dissatisfied with the proceedings of the latter, Lieutenant-General Flitud is doing his utmost to reconcile them, and meanwhile guards are kept rigidly at every corner with the idea of overawing the city. With all this the apprentices and boatmen with others of the populace are constantly molesting and insulting the soldiers. Petitions are daily presented to the mayor and magistrate of the city by parties of the lower orders which all ask for a free parliament, but as the one ordered is not that, one can only foretell continued disorder and further trouble.
The late parliament put an army officer, its supporter, as governor of the Tower of London. (fn. 5) Since the change he has never declared openly either for the army or for parliament. But he was always suspect and on Sunday evening it was found that lie proposed to deliver the Tower over to the parliament, in whose name certain persons who disapprove of the army's action and live for the parliamentary party were to enter on Monday morning. Flitud got wind of this intended betrayal, which was prevented by the arrest of the governor, who was betrayed by one of his officers. Desbero and another leading officer immediately took his place at this most important post, until other arrangements are made, and so this plot of the old parliamentarians came to naught.
Portsmouth is still in revolt against the present military rule. Some of the members of the old parliament have gone there and they are preparing their defence against the forces sent against them from here. As these troops have a long march to make in the present most severe weather it is impossible to know yet whether they have reached their destination. In the meantime everyone is eagerly waiting to see what will be the outcome of all these present complications.
London, the 26th December, 1659.
[Italian.]
Dec. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni
. Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
109. To the Resident in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his despatches, which arrived two days later than usual. Approval of his answer about Galileo. To continue on the same lines. But besides this it is necessary that some one should represent his interests in the fleet and negotiate and settle the exchange to facilitate the intention of the state. He is to content the old father Galileo with the same expressions of the regard of the republic for the nation and assurances that the debt will be attended to.
Ayes, 119. Noes, 3. Neutral, 3.
[Italian.]
Dec. 31.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
110. Giacomo Querini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Four days ago two Jesuit fathers arrived in Madrid from England. They bring some beginning of negotiation and adjustment although there are other persons who are treating openly for the Generals Monch and Lambert, everyone promising on his own behalf the restitution of Dunkirk to the Catholic king. Here they all listen with attention but do not know what to believe nor to whom to give credit, seeing that the civil discords in that country are constantly on the increase. At this opening of business or a treaty the earl of Bristol has appeared, who acts in the interest of King Charles, but without the character of minister.
Madrid, the last of December, 1659.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Letter dated 12 November. See Mercurius Politicus Nov. 17–24. The letter was disavowed by the deputies sent from Scotland and the bearers arrested. Bordeaux to Mazarin, on 8 Dec., P.R.O. Paris Transcripts. But its genuineness was afterwards acknowledged. SeeClarke Papers Vol. iv, pp. 135–6.
2 Of 24 November, o.s., printed in Mercurius Politicus, Nov. 24–Dec. 1.
3 Col. Markham and Col. Atkin, Merc. Politicus, Nov. 17–24.
4 On 23 November. The town of Nyborg with all the Swedish forces in Funen surrendered on the following day. Le Clere: Hist. des Provinces UniesVol. ii, page 416.
5 Colonel Fitch, on 10 June o.s. Lt. Col. Miller was left in command there by Desborough. Mercurius Politicus Dec. 8–15.