Venice
January 1660

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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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105-113

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'Venice: January 1660', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 32: 1659-1661 (1931), pp. 105-113. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90052 Date accessed: 02 August 2014.


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January 1660

1660.
Jan. 2.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
111. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In addition to the objections of Monch to the present procedure of the army and the declaration of Portsmouth for the dissolved Parliament we hear that other towns have come out for the same side. What is more important the fleet commanded by Admiral Lauson now cruising in the Channel, consisting of no contemptible number of fine frigates of war, has taken parliament under its protection and has declared its intentions in a printed sheet which consists in a peremptory demand for its restoration. Thus last Saturday Lauson entered the Thames with 23 well armed ships and anchored opposite Gravesend only 20 miles from this metropolis establishing himself there and not permitting any sort of craft to go in or out. This unlucky news caused unspeakable feelings in the council of officers, still sitting at Whitehall, and they immediately despatched commissioners to Gravesend to treat with Lauson. But they could make no impression, the Vice Admiral encouraged by the old parliamentarians, remaining constant in his support of their party.
The council general thus found they were making no progress with Monch and that there was no sign of a friendly arrangement, while the forces sent against Portsmouth, five regiments of foot and as many of horse, have deserted them and gone over to the town's side and all the people generally object to submit to military authority or the decrees issued by the army, the city of London having issued a manifesto the day before yesterday openly expressing its desire for a free parliament.
Considering all these circumstances and the terrible consequences that might result from so many evil humours, the Council General voted and decreed that the calling of the new parliament, arranged last week, should be suspended and that the old one should meet again and once more control and mature the most important affairs of this republic. They also passed certain resolutions to which they demand that parliament shall give its assent and confirmation. These are that there shall be no king or house of Lords; that the republic shall be free; that an amnesty shall be declared for the present council and all its supporters; that the army shall receive the arrears of its pay; that no officer shall be changed, with other things all tending to the same end.
Notwithstanding all this one cannot as yet state absolutely that the parliament will resume its sessions, as the decision was only taken yesterday evening. There are strong reasons for believing that it will end in an uproar. London is clearly not pleased with the decree; Lambert is stationed at Newcastle with the army sent against Monch; the officers cashiered by parliament the day before its dissolution, which provoked the present crisis, will never be able to reconcile themselves to the return to power and authority of those who aspire to ruin them. So one can look for nothing but more changes and dissensions and the Senate will see that there is no sign as yet of any approach to tranquillity for these distressed kingdoms.
On Sunday night in some parishes of this city and at Grinvich 4 miles away armed supporters of the king came out, but they had no time to unite together and the scattered bodies were too feeble, so the soldiers had no difficulty in dispersing them in confusion instantly. In this affair some were arrested and brought to this city. So their plans came to naught and they would have done better to have waited for a more favourable opportunity, which they hope will come before long.
London, the 2nd January, 1660.
[Italian.]
Jan. 9.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
112. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In consequence of the decision of the council general of officers to re-establish the parliament interrupted last October, all the meetings of that council and of the committee of safety ceased immediately and on Monday after dinner all the members of parliament who happened to be in the city resumed their sittings in the usual house at Westminster. They continue these tirelessly without the slightest difficulty and their numbers increase daily by the arrival from the country of those who retired thither after their dissolution.
All their deliberations so far have been devoted to establishing commissioners to govern the Tower of London which has been restored to obedience to parliament without any obstacle, in confirming the commissioners already nominated to command the army, depriving Flitud of his office and of all power, all the regiments in and about London having declared unanimously for parliament with the same facility as they concurred in its interruption three months ago; in voting a month's pay to all the troops, in reimposing the payment of customs, the new impost and other duties which were levied by a special act of parliament the day before its dismissal; in fixing the 15th inst. for considering the question of recalling all the members previously expelled and appointing new ones in place of the many who are dead; in voting letters of thanks to General Monch, Vice-Admiral Lauson and the town of Portsmouth, who by their action brought about the restoration of parliament; in directing the disbanding of all the forces which have been collected without authority from parliament, and many other acts of no great importance.
Of the forces in the North under Lambert, two regiments have already declared for parliament. Parliament has also sent orders to bring over the others, but so far it cannot be known whether they will obey or remain faithful to Lambert. There can be no doubt that he will not suffer this re-establishment and it is expected that together with the other cashiered officers he will collect troops and do his utmost to drive out parliament once more and prevent their own ruin. Meanwhile all Lambert's supporters here have gone to join him to determine how to save themselves. Lieutenant-General Flitud, who was the principal author of the fall of the Protector Richard, his brother-in-law, is now utterly cast down, being in danger of losing his estates as well as his office, and all that he gained during the time of his greatness.
The city of Dublin, Ireland's capital, has been secured by supporters of the parliament, the governor being imprisoned together with all who supported the party of the army. (fn. 1) Windsor castle, also, which is of extreme importance, has been surprised and secured for the parliament. (fn. 2) With such examples many other places are submitting of their own accord. London has not yet made any declaration, but while it certainly does not like this re-establishment it is probable that it will eventually have to submit, because Lauson, who is in the river with the fleet, can compel it without hindrance by stopping trade. Thus London is now preparing a petition for the congress with representations and demands the nature of which has not yet transpired.
Such is the state of affairs here, and one can speak with no assurance owing to their instability, and first they want one thing and then another. It seems probable that their troubles are not yet over as Lambert is certain to make some effort, and even if he does not the form of government established by parliament will always be interesting and deserve attention, and I will keep the Senate well informed.
Your Serenity's missives of the 8th and 29th November have reached me, the first delayed by wandering in France owing to the absence of the ambassador Nani from Paris. Now that parliament is re-established I will follow my instructions about my audience. But as the credentials I hold are in the name of the late Doge Pesaro it may be as well to send a duplicate in the name of the present Doge Contarini, as with the council of state set up again I may be able to have my audience in a form suited to the dignity of the state.
It is quite likely that the question of the earl of Arundel may be raised again and I will keep myself in readiness to report all particulars to your Excellencies. I may add that whatever is done in this affair is due to the pure malignity of an uncle who has always been a rival and enemy of the family. For the rest the earl is living at Padua to the entire satisfaction of his mother and relations and is maintained there by his brother here with great generosity and splendour (fn. 3) No one desires his return as they know that so long and painful a journey would inevitably cause his death in his present lamentable state.
London, the 9th January, 1660.
[Italian.]
Jan. 16.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
113. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Parliament continues to sit, so far without the slightest disturbance, but this may not last for ever as with the numbers of those who object to its return increasing there is reason to foresee fresh trouble. The city of London still does not declare itself and has not yet presented the paper it was preparing. This delay, which the assembly does not like, is interpreted as disinclination to concur in the procedure of parliament or to submit to it.
Many other towns and whole counties are keeping their sympathies hidden and their behaviour adds to the suspicion and uneasiness. In Yorkshire and some other counties many of the people have come out in arms, though the objects of these risings cannot yet be definitely ascertained. Parliament announces, and instils, that all this is in its favour and to induce the counties to take its part, but others assert that the purpose is the same as Booth's in Cheshire, namely to demand a free parliament. But everything is uncertain in this inconstant country which must amaze the world by the extraordinary things which are seen here daily.
An act of indemnity and pardon for all officers and soldiers who took part in the late rebellions and have submitted to parliament by the 19th inst. has been recently published, and now they are preparing an oath to be taken by all the members and presented to every subject renouncing the title of Charles Stuart and all the line of King James. As many are expected to refuse it, this is only likely to lead to turmoil and differences, involving unpleasant consequences.
Some of the officers dismissed by parliament and who brought about its dissolution are now asking pardon in letters full of submission, and so they will enjoy the benefits of the above act; but those who persist in their opposition will certainly lose their goods and may also forfeit their lives. We should see soon.
Lambert, who caused the assembly much apprehension, having been completely abandoned by all his men, who were under his command on the Scottish border, has been obliged to humble himself to parliament to whom he has sent a submissive letter. Although by virtue of this he is granted pardon, he does not venture to come to London or betray his whereabouts, knowing that he would only be arrested and sent to the Tower to prevent him plotting to overthrow parliament again. This would not have come to nothing if his inconstant officers and men had not abandoned his plan, but he will undoubtedly advise fresh schemes for turning out the present authority which does not love him and which he detests cordially.
A new council of state has been set up and has begun to sit. It consists of 31 persons of whom 21 are members of parliament. Flitud has been excluded and many others of those who formed the council before the dissolution. It is now setting to work and even beginning to treat with the foreign ministers who previously have not known to whom they should address themselves.
In pursuance with a vote of last week parliament spent last Wednesday in prayer and humiliation to God in gratitude for its return and to implore His aid in their deliberations and in carrying out the great work it has in hand of setting up a firm and durable government.
Yesterday they spent their time in discussing the question of filling up the house with all the members who have a right to take part as representatives of the counties and boroughs which by law have a vote in parliament. After more than one dispute they decided that those who were shut out for refusing to sign at the death of King Charles should be considered disabled from sitting in the present parliament, and that writs should be issued for the election of others in their place. But these will take place under so many restrictions and qualifications, contrary to the fundamental laws of the country, that the people will not be satisfied, for they now long to see themselves delivered once for all from the miseries and burdens under which they are at present groaning.
London, the 16th January, 1660.
[Italian.]
Jan. 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
114. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
So far no declaration has come from the city of London either for or against the present parliament. The reason for this long delay is that the mayor and common council have sent an express to General Monch in Scotland (fn. 4) to know if he is content with the return of parliament and if all his procedure is directed in its favour or to have a free parliament, as was published, in which case they promise to support him in the most strenuous manner to secure that object, to the glory of the general and the preservation of the rights and privileges of the nations which are so utterly cast down. The messenger returned yesterday and to-day Monch's reply has appeared in a printed sheet stating that all his actions have been directed to maintain the present parliament, for whose preservation he and all his army are resolved to live and die. So some declaration may shortly be expected from the city. This will undoubtedly be in favour of the parliament especially as they see Monch is marching on England with 5 to 6000 combatants to join the forces here and hold in check those who contemplate taking the bit in their teeth and throwing parliament from the saddle.
That body is now preparing at Whitehall the apartments of the Protector Richard to receive Monch and his household, who is expected in the city in 8 or 10 days. He has been appointed a member of the council of state as has Vice Admiral Lauson, for whom also they have allotted the quarters at Whitehall, which had been occupied by Lambert. They have done the same for others who proved themselves active supporters in their late disgrace, while turning out those who showed disaffection and gratification at their disappearance.
The risings in Yorkshire and the adjacent parts turn out to have been in favour of parliament with the sole object of preserving the country from contributions and from the free quarters with which Lambert's army threatened them. Since Lambert's submission the authors of the insurrection, who were General Ferfax and other leading men of the counties, have written to parliament explaining the motives which led them to take arms and promising to disband all their men now there is no longer any need to keep them together. Accordingly parliament has written to Ferfax approving his action and thanking him for his good disposition, asking him to thank all those who took part in their name, and as a sign of appreciation they have made him a member of the council of state.
In spite of all this there is no certainty that this body will subsist as there are so many malcontents and opponents that it is all but inevitable that something will come of these evil humours which will be beyond remedy. Demands appear daily from the people calling for a free parliament. One has come out to-day signed by many thousands of the citizens of London to the same effect. But no one would venture to predict what effect this will have, so unstable and subject to change are all those who live in this most inconstant climate.
Sir Henry Vane, a member of parliament, attached himself to the army and concurred with Lambert and the other officers over its dissolution. Now it is restored he resumed his usual post but with diminished authority and looked at askance by some of his colleagues. The day before yesterday he was taxed with affronting the house by supporting the army and by public decree was declared incapable of sitting in parliament any more. He has therefore been expelled and ordered to withdraw to his house in the county of Durram, and not to leave it without definite permission from parliament. (fn. 5)
Lambert, Desbero, Bery and other officers of the army, in addition to the 9 already cashiered, have been ordered by a special decree to proceed to their country houses most remote from London and stay there during parliament's pleasure. These fresh offences will only increase the evil humours and they can only be expected to plot against the authors of their fall, so there is further reason for predicting fresh dissensions and disorders.
Flitud also, entirely removed from power whose regiment of horse is already destined for another, (fn. 6) thinks of withdrawing to the country and living quietly there without meddling further with affairs of state. He has good reason for he has only himself to blame and the same applies to the other disgraced officers as if they had conducted their affairs with more prudence and circumspection they would not find themselves in their present deplorable situation. If at the undoing of parliament they had imprisoned Colonel Morlei, who tried to fire a pistol at Lambert, and the other members whom they kept shut up in the house for a day, things would undoubtedly have turned out differently. But these persons, being left at liberty are those who have agitated and procured the restoration and in appreciation of their efforts Morlei is now appointed governor of the Tower of London (fn. 7) and all the others have obtained marks of honour as a reward for their devotion to parliament.
The voting of the act of abjuration against the royal family meets with more opposition than was expected and a decision is still pending. The royalists observing the discrepancies and differences among the members, particularly on this question, feel hopeful for the Stuart cause.
London, the 23rd January, 1660.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
115. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador extraordinary in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Lord Germen and the Abbot Montagu have come to Court, being sent by the queen of England about the Principality of Orange and to represent the state of the kingdom, which being in greater confusion than ever would open the way to the king for great advantages if he received the assistance of strong forces at his first entry. But I do not see any disposition as yet to employ their arms in that quarter.
Meanwhile the English have transferred the fort of Mardich to a more suitable place, and by levelling the dunes, by immense labour, they have rendered Dunkirk impregnable on the land side. As they keep it garrisoned with a strong force of over 4000 men it would seem that the Spaniards are not thinking of any attempt against it especially as they are re-organising their forces in Flanders.
Aix, the 27th January, 1659. [M.V.].
[Italian.]
Jan. 30.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
116. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although General Monch is marching this way and is expected in London next week, letters reach parliament almost daily with expressions which they interpret as favourable to themselves and altogether for their continuance. Although that general sent the letter to the city indicating his submission to the present parliament, yet a careful reading of his words shows the circumspection which he has always practised on all occasions, the ambiguity of which causes the rulers serious misgivings and suspicion. Parliament accordingly caresses and flatters Monch all it can. In addition to appointing him to the council of state and assigning him quarters at Whitehall, it has sent him several complimentary letters this week and despatched two members to meet him, thank him for his supposed loyalty to parliament and assure him of their regard. (fn. 8) They have richly rewarded those who brought his letters (fn. 9) and have voted him 1000l. sterling a year in lands, for himself and his heirs as a sign of appreciation for his share in their re-establishment.
What Monch's plans may be when he reaches London is not disclosed and remain hidden and doubtful. It is probable that he has something at the back of his mind as in spite of the answer received London will not make any declaration until he comes. The city has also this day sent three of the common council to meet and congratulate him. This serves to augment the suspicions of parliament which apparently does not want Monch to advance as far as London with his forces, which are all devoted to him, but to establish his quarters some distance out. But if, as is argued, he cherishes secret intentions of raising himself to the supreme post, especially now Lambert has fallen, who alone could stand in his way, he will never allow himself to be separated from his men. That there is something of this kind is accredited by the report now circulating that he will not take quarters at Whitehall but has hired a house in London. If this be true there is certainly a secret understanding between him and the city, and it will soon come to light. It may be that he will allow parliament to sit for some months longer to draw them more easily into the snares which he may be spreading for them.
In the city of London it seems that there was to have been some rising on Tuesday night, but parliament got wind of it and prevented any disturbance by strict guard, causing the city to be patrolled all night by horse and foot soldiers to check any tumult in the bud. Yet the inhabitants of this city and of others continue to call for a free parliament. Exeter has declared for one, the registrar having written a letter to the Speaker asking him to communicate it to the assembly and procure a hearing for their petition for the maintenance of the rights and privileges of the nation, so that the people may not be forced to take other steps. (fn. 10) It is expected that other places will make similar declarations. They talk of Ireland, but this is not yet certain. About Yorkshire also they are uneasy and it is said that the assurances given by Ferfax and the other leaders were unreal and forced by the violence of the troops, who surprised the insurgents and compelled them to act so. There is certainly something concealed and it is generally felt that before long we shall see great changes in these realms. Appearances point that way and Monch's arrival is certain to give rise to something of consequence.
Besides Vane other members who attached themselves to the army have been expelled by vote, some being confined to their country houses and one imprisoned in the Tower. (fn. 11) Many others are expecting a like fate next week.
Not content with relegating Lambert and the other officers responsible for its dissolution to their country houses, parliament has this week ordered the council of state to secure all nine of them. But they cannot be found as they are safely in hiding planning fresh dissensions. These are more likely to occur as there are serious differences among the parliamentarians themselves. Of the 40 or 50 at most now taking part, out of over 400 that there ought to be, there are three or four parties, so it is easy to see in what confusion affairs are here and how little one can foresee.
Of the act against the royal house nothing more is heard for the reasons indicated. Parliament has imposed a tax of 100,000l. sterling a month to be paid by England for six months. This burden will serve to embitter the people and with this additional irritant to their existing rancour one cannot imagine what evil consequences will ensue.
London, the 30th January, 1660.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 Dublin Castle was surprised on 13–23 December by Colonel Warden, when chief baron Corbet, Col. Jones and Col. Tomlinson were secured. Mercurius Politicus Dec. 29–Jan. 5. Public Intelligences Dec. 26–Jan. 2.
2 Windsor Castle was secured by Col. Henry Ingoldsby. Brit. Mas. Add. MSS. 27962P, f. 572. He reported its surrender on 28 Dec. o.s. by Colonel Whitchcott, the governor. Tighe and Davis: Annals of Windsor Vol. ii, page 286. Journals of the House of Commons Vol. vii, p. 798.
3 The uncle is presumably William Howard, earl of Stafford, and the brother Henry Howard, second son of Henry Frederick Howard, earl of Arundel.
4 William Man, the city sword bearer, who met Monk at Morpeth on 3–13 Jan. Gumble: Life of Monk, page 200; Baker: Chronicle (Lond. 1720), page 593.
5 To retire to Raby by order of the House on 9–19 Jan. Journals of the House of Commons Vol. vii, page 806.
6 Anthony Ashley Cooper was given Fleetwood's regiment on 11–21 January. Journals of the House of Commons Vol. vii, page 808.
7 On 7–17 January. Journals of the House of Commons Vol. vii, page 805.
8 Thomas Scott and Luke Robinson, by order of 16 January and 7 February. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1659–60, page 593.
9 100l. was voted for Thomas Gumble, Monk's messenger. Mercurius Politicus Jan. 12–19. Voted on 12 Jan. o.s. Journals of the House of Commons Vol. vii, page 808. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1659–60, page 592.
10 Thomas Bamfield, the recorder, delivered to the Speaker, on 14–24 January a declaration of the gentry of Devon for redress of grievances and the restitution of excluded members. Mercurius Politicus Jan. 12–19.
11 Major Salway by a vote of the House on 17–27 January. Journals of the House of Commons Vol. vii, page 814.