Venice
February 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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113-120

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'Venice: February 1660', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 32: 1659-1661 (1931), pp. 113-120. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90053 Date accessed: 18 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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February 1660

Feb. 7.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
117. To the Resident in England.
We recognise the prudence you have shown and this has induced us to send you, changed, the letters of credence which formerly reached you for the parliament. You will receive them attached to these. If you have occasion to use them we are sure that at the audience you will exercise all the circumspection which is necessary for your dignity.
We are glad of the information you send about the earl of Arundel and it will serve for our guidance in case some fresh request is made by the parliament.
Ayes, 96. Noes, 2. Neutral, 5.
[Italian.]
Feb. 10.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
118. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador extraordinary in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Lord Germen and the Abbot of Montagu have gone to make their report to the queen of England. On the principal question of the restoration of the king of England they do not seem to have come away with much satisfaction. I gather that great hopes were held out to them that if peace comes about in the empire a part of the troops of Flanders will be allowed to serve under the king's flag to make some attempt to re-enter the kingdom. But after their departure news reached the Court of fresh revolutions with the re-establishment of parliament and I fancy that they have been left very dubious about the effect of this on the intention aforesaid.
Aix, the 10th February 1659. [M.V.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
119. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A violent attack of gout, paralysing my right arm and almost all my body prevented my writing last week, for which I ask the indulgence of the Senate. I am now somewhat better and able to hold the pen to record the news of this most extraordinary clime.
General Monch enters London to-day followed by all his army. He proceeds at once to Whitehall where his wife and children and household have been for some days, although he seemed unwilling to go there. As changes were expected with his arrival parliament remains very suspicious of him, although it interprets all his actions and letters as favouring the continuance of the present regime.
In all the places through which he passed Monch was feasted and acclaimed amid the ringing of bells and the shouts of the people who cried out to him that he was the restorer of the public liberty and the defender of the rights and privileges of the country, exalting him to the skies to show their esteem and respect and to win his love. Besides this many counties have sent men to him with papers asking for the calling of a free parliament or to bring back to the existing one all the excluded members, restoring the numbers of 1648.
Monch listens to all and receives all but answers only in generalities full of courtesy and civility. He unbosoms himself to no one and keeps his opinions to himself. He cannot in fact do otherwise seeing that the commissioners sent him by parliament never leave his side and report minutely all the words he utters. Parliament perceives however that all have recourse to Monch and address themselves to him as if he was the head of all three realms, and it only serves to increase their misgivings and suspicions of him. We shall soon see the outcome.
Various counties have sent petitions to parliament to the same effect as those presented to Monch, but those who brought them have been committed to the Tower. Forestalling what the county of Kent proposed to send they have had arrested and brought to London some gentlemen of rank suspected of being the promoters, (fn. 1) declaring all these petitions to be seditious, tending to infringe their privileges and start a new war.
All the people generally are utterly disgusted with the present regime and call with one accord for a free parliament or the return of the excluded members. If these should come things would certainly proceed differently, but they are kept out because they are of mild disposition and in harmony with the people. Seeing the disposition of the provinces and that all are reluctant to pay the taxes and other impositions, parliament is at present snowing great energy in limiting the qualifications required for those to be nominated as candidates for parliament in place of those expelled and dead, thinking in this way to shut the mouths of the people and satisfy them. But the counties declare that they will not proceed to any election unless it is free and without qualifications, in accordance with the laws and institutions of the country, so there is reason to expect disturbances and changes ere long since things cannot possibly remain as they are.
To make room for the troops who enter with Monch, who wishes to have them all in London, parliament ordered those quartered in and about London to march out, to be disposed in some of the more remote provinces. When the officers informed four regiments of the move and ordered them a month's pay, they mutinied yesterday after dinner and have been under arms all night shouting about the streets, refusing to recognise any of the new officers appointed by parliament and calling for the old ones, demanding the whole of their pay, tearing the ensigns from the hands of the officers and calling, like the rest, for a free parliament shouting that they will live and die with those who pay them money, in short alarming the whole city.
Distressed at this uproar and fearing the consequences parliament has tried to pacify them by tact and gentleness. They promise six weeks' pay being unable to give the whole because it is too much, and they have not the cash, to be given them on their march, and for the rest giving them fair words. Some have gone though grumbling, but others will not trust them anticipating that when they are out the cavalry will force them to go on, and fearing punishment for what they have done. But these also will have to be out before night because Monch's soldiers who are coming in cannot remain without quarters. I will watch to see what happens and keep the Senate informed.
London, the 13th February, 1660.
[Italian.]
Feb. 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
120. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Monch entered London a week ago with all the troops from Scotland, consisting of 5000 combatants, horse and foot. He dismounted at Whitehall and occupied the quarters there prepared for him by parliament. He rested there Saturday and Sunday, receiving visits from members of parliament and others. On Monday morning he went to Westminster and was introduced by Messrs. Scot and Robinson, the members who had been sent to him as commissioners, and who have never left him since he arrived in London. He found a throne prepared for him opposite the President, to sit and make his communication to parliament, a formality observed with ambassadors alone and quite out of place for a subject, while it was equally improper to have troops for him under arms in the court and palace of Westminster, a thing noticed with general astonishment but interpreted as an additional blandishment for the general. Monch however refused to sit, although the President urged him more than once, and with great modesty he stood behind the throne and leaning on one arm began his speech containing a full acount of what had happened to him since he left Scotland. He said that he noticed on his march that all the people were ardently looking for stability in the government. Many addresses had been delivered to him with numerous signatures asking for a full and free parliament or for the admission of the members excluded in 1648 without any oath or pledge. He had told them all that the parliament now sitting was free and that none had ever been convoked in England without an oath beforehand for the security of the government.
He told them all this and urged them to consider it deeply and to decide speedily. He added that he thought that the less the oath and pledge imposed the better and it would be the easiest way to a quick settlement of some permanent form of government. He felt sure that if the people were treated with gentleness and suavity all would unite themselves to the present parliament whereas otherwise they would all meditate its destruction. He then spoke of the state of Scotland and recommended some measures for the civil government of that country and so finished his speech, in which he has sufficiently declared himself for the present parliament. But in spite of this they do not relax their suspicions of him, noting that many of his ideas are ambiguous and not positive and being much vexed at his recommendation to make the oath as slight as possible. These rulers are unable to interpret his real motives or whither his ideas lead.
Meanwhile all the provinces together are calling for a free parliament. Many have already risen and with arms in their hands and declarations which reach London daily and may be read in the press, protest that they will not pay taxes or impositions of any kind or agree on any consideration to the last tax of 100 000l. a month.
The citizens of London have also declared for a free parliament and the day before yesterday they presented their resolution to the common council of the city, where it was carried that for the time being the payment of taxes or impositions of every kind were suspended. When this reached the knowledge of parliament, the impression caused may be imagined. They at once ordered General Monch to march troops to the city to overawe it, make them revoke their decision and declare for the present government and so prevent the disorders which might arise. He obeyed at once, throwing himself into London early yesterday morning with some companies of horse and foot, taking possession of the gates, passages and posts and setting strong guards everywhere. He then entered the council chamber and secured some aldermen and other rich members of the corporation, suspected of promoting the decision reported, sending them all to the Tower and leaving guards everywhere, without meeting with the least resistance. By order of parliament he threw down the gates of the city and removed all the chains and other things from across the streets, put there for defence. He then withdrew to a house in the city (fn. 2) where he passed the night and stayed until 2 o'clock to-day when he returned to Whitehall.
This morning the common council proposed to meet to deliberate upon yesterday's outrages, but soldiers prevented them, their hall of meeting having been closed and Monch keeping the keys. It will be interesting to see what follows and it is much to be feared that in the end London will be put to the sack. The soldiers long for it and make this known everywhere, and certainly if it is granted them they will find incalculable wealth.
All Monch's actions indicate his submission to parliament, yet it is more suspicious of him than ever, apprehending, a view which many share, that he is doing everything for his personal advantage and that we shall soon see important changes, especially as it is observed that all the troops are closely united with him and altogether devoted to his personal satisfaction and entirely obedient to his lightest gesture.
The day before yesterday it was published that Monch had been poisoned the night before by order of parliament. The rumour proved to be without foundation, but as he has heard similar predictions he is certain to keep his eyes wide open to prevent the mischief that such prognostications may do him and to play his game when he sees he can win it, supposing that he has the intentions that are attributed to him.
The mutinous soldiers marched out of London last week. To give them the pay promised they were obliged to pawn a quantity of the public plate. From their grumbling as they went it was suspected that they would make trouble again and this happened for when they were some distance from the metropolis they halted and refused to go on. Some companies which were marching to the coast to embark for Dunkirk to reinforce the garrison, mutinied for their pay and from dislike of the service, almost killing their colonel. (fn. 3) Some troops of horse were sent at once from here and easily quieted the disturbance of both parties, disarming and dismissing some hundreds of the most mutinous and bringing others to London to be tried and punished by a council of war, and suspending the expedition to Dunkirk from fear that when they got there they might go over to King Charles or the Spaniards.
In accordance with the Senate's instructions of the 6th December I have told old Galileo what your Excellencies impart to me about the release of his son from the Turks and the payment of the money owed him. He received it submissively and begged me to supplicate your Serenity that both things may be done as soon as possible.
London, the 20th February, 1660.
[Italian.]
Feb. 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
121. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In my last I reported the action of General Monch to overawe the city council. In parliament a week ago that body was annulled and a committee appointed to nominate a new common council with qualifications approved by parliament. I have now to relate the sequel, which is true though it seems impossible and promises further changes at any moment. No one who did not see it with his own eyes would credit the extravagant things that this fickle climate produces every day and it is hard to give full credence to the reports one receives especially as they refer to matters of extreme importance.
After Monch had acted as reported, left adequate guards in London and returned to Whitehall on Friday evening, he began to think over what he had done. The officers of his army remonstrated with him over the affront and violence done to the city, which would bring on him and the whole army the eternal hate of the nation, ruining them all for ever. They pointed out that all this was contrary to the hopes the people had reposed in him of enjoying permanent peace and tranquillity after their prolonged troubles. Many of his intimates and his wife herself told him much the same, showing what fame would be his if he turned his back on his action of Thursday and Friday against so famous a city and showed the world his love for his own country and for so many thousands who looked to him as a refuge to deliver them from the miseries which have overwhelmed them for so many years.
Moved by such considerations and loving counsel and incensed against parliament which at the very time when he was obeying its orders in London showed its suspicions of him by deciding to appoint five persons to direct his army, some proposing to leave him out, the voting being very close, (fn. 4) sat down then and there and wrote a substantial letter, with the concurrence of his officers, which he sent to parliament on Saturday morning. He told them that with some strain on his conscience he had carried out their orders against the city. The whole nation was of one mind in looking for a free parliament or at least for filling up the present one by free and unrestricted election. He meant to stand by this and the assembly must by to-day issue writs for the election of members and so satisfy the people, with more to the same effect in the interests of the people and tranquillity.
After despatching the letter to Westminster and leaving a small body of troops to guard the parliament, he proceeded with all the army to the city, where he took up his quarters and still remains. On Saturday after dinner he summoned the common council, in defiance of the decree passed in parliament the day before, and telling them what he had done declared that he meant to live and die with the city, for the maintenance of the privileges of the nation and to secure permanent tranquillity.
This sudden resolution, unlooked for by the people, who had just been spectators of the most severe treatment, was acclaimed with loud shouts and unspeakable joy. All the bells were rung, bonfires lighted in every street and the citizens and soldiers spent the whole night drinking together and shouting about the streets for a free parliament, for King Charles, whose name came openly from all lips without any fear, and to the confusion of the present parliament. In derision of that body at every bonfire they were roasting the hind quarter of oxen, poultry or other animals, which the people afterwards tore up and destroyed. (fn. 5) I should explain that this body is called “Rump,” the few members who sit being the residue of the long parliament, so the name is appropriate if obscene, and shows the detestation of the congress.
Parliament watched this change and the rejoicings with feelings that may be imagined, but being unable to help themselves they let things go on and continue to sit daily. They are preparing the writs to be issued to-day for filling up their numbers, and within forty days the new members should be here to take their places in conformity with the constitution. Meanwhile they have voted a pledge which they mean everyone to take, members and soldiers alike, to be loyal to the republic, without a king, sole person or house of lords. Monch has not yet taken it and many say that he will not do so.
All these things foreshadow further changes and if they do not happen before parliament is filled up, then it is inevitable. But everyone is momentarily expecting some greater revolution, with the dissolution of the present parliament or other things, especially as Monch has found out that this congress is disposed to put him in prison and if they can get him into their hands they certainly will not spare him; accordingly when summoned to parliament on Monday, he refused to go.
To oppose any attempts of Monch backed by London they have countermanded some of the forces turned out of their quarters here, and although this week Lambert was proclaimed as disobedient to parliament's orders and accused of promoting the mutiny two weeks ago, summoning him here to render account of his actions and threatening him with confiscation of his goods parliament is now secretly negotiating to put him at the head of an army of Anabaptists and other sectaries, who alone are capable of standing up to Monch's forces. But he found this out and knowing that the proclamation against Lambert was only a blind to remove suspicion, he has these last days disarmed all the Anabaptists, Quakers and other sectaries found in London, who were numerous, and keeping careful guard he shows the city that he does not fear any attack. In a short time there should be more light on these affairs.
Declarations continue to arrive from the provinces every day against the present parliament and in favour of a free and full one, with an absolute refusal to pay taxes of any sort. One from Yorkshire, signed by Ferfax and many thousands of all ranks arrived yesterday, protesting that if their petitions are not heard, which are in harmony with those of the whole country, they are ready to take arms to enforce them. Parliament thus sees that it cannot hope for a farthing from the taxes, and with cash extremely short it has ordered the sequestration and sale of the goods of Sir George Booth and of all those who took arms with him last summer.
Learning that the Spaniards are drawing near to Dunkirk they are afraid here of a formal siege and accordingly are beating up for volunteers to send across the sea to reinforce the garrison; but none present themselves as that service is universally detested. Locart arrived yesterday night; what he brings has not transpired but it must be some urgent requirements of that town and to ask for immediate drafts; but in the present crisis it seems unlikely that much help can be sent thither. Here they pretend that they are in a position to meet all calls, continue the war abroad virorously and surmount whatever may happen at home, but those who have eyes to see consider it impossible to deal with so many things.
No ducal missives have reached me since those of the 3rd January, so there are 3 weeks missing. All letters of France, Italy and elsewhere reach me regularly, only the official ones are in arrear. I do not know the reason as the packets come whole. I report this that duplicates may be sent and ask that they may come by Zurich out of the French packet, to ensure greater regularity, as with the Ambassador Nani away from Paris there are sure to be delays and defects.
London, the 27th February, 1660.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 On 1–11 Feb. Sir John Boys, and his father, Sir William Man and Thomas Ingeham were taken into custody with other gentlemen of Kent for having designed and propounded something extraordinary at Canterbury. Public Intelligencer Jan. 30–Feb. 6, Cal. S.P. Dom. 1659–60, p. 330.
2 He took up his quarters at the “Three Tuns”in Guildhall Yard. Gumble: Life of Monk, page 236.
3 Five companies of the regiment which lately belonged to Sir Brice Cochraine, having marched to Gravesend, mutinied there on learning that they were to go to Dunkirk. They marched to Dartford and Crayford, where they were rounded up by Monk's horse and laid down their arms. Mercurius Politicus Feb. 2–9. Public Intelligencer Jan. 30–Feb. 6.
4 The voting on the army commissioners took place on 11–21 February. Those chosen were Monk, Hesilrig, Cols. Morley, Walton and Matthew Alured. Three were to form a quorum. A proposal that Monk should always be one of them was negatived. Journals of the House of Commons Vol. vii, page 841.
5 This was on 11–21 February. See Pepys: Diary Vol. i, page 65.