A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 1, 1638-1653. Originally published by Fletcher Gyles, London, 1742.
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The city of Bruges to the company of merchant adventurers of England.
Magnifici generosique domini,
Non dubitamus, D. D. V. V. non latere, qualiter præteritis temporibus, præsertim sub Philippo & Carolo, Burgundiæ ducibus, nec non archiduce Maximiliano Austriaco, hæc urbs Brugensis ex mercimoniorum & commerciorum copia & frequentia abundaverit & floruerit, ut inde totius Europæ emporium meritò celeberrimum fuerit nuncupatum. At cum nihil sub sole stabile sit nec perpetuum, ita & hæc omnia pertransierunt, & auspiciis adversis suam quoque mutavit fortuna sedem. Illa, quæ opum, divitiarum, & honoris sedes erat, in belli sedem est conversa. Hinc exteræ nationes eam dereliquerunt, prout & D. D. V. V. atavi hinc sese diverterunt, & mercium Anglicarum, præsertim pannorum, commercium in diversas urbium & regionum partes transtulerunt & collocaverunt. Attamen ut temporum, ita quoque rerum & fortunarum cum fit vicissitudo, inopinatum non erit, si nunc eâdem temporis vicissitudine quid boni nobis vicissim tribuatur, quo ad meliorem aut certe pristinam conditionem commerciorum causa huc reducatur. Favet nobis diu expectata pax, qua provinciæ Belgicæ sibi invicem cum exteris nationibus nunc fruuntur, & uberrime potiuntur. Occasione illius nonnullæ dictarum nationum ad nos reverti intendunt, & ad pristinam præ decessorum suorum risidentiam repetendam sese parant. Per magistrum Robinson vestras accepimus litteras, ex quibus grato animo cognoscimus D. D. V. V. quoque intendere mercium suarum, præfertim pannorum, negotiationem huc dirigere, veteremque atavorum fuorum residentiam recuperare velle; quod ut fiet optamus vobis cuncta felicia & prospera. De selici intentionis vestræ fine & scopo non est ambigendum neque dubitandum, quandoquidem modo & portuum, & fluviorum frequentia, & commoditas longe major & melior quam unquam aliis suit prætactis seculis. Naves enim vestræ mercibus onustæ mare persecantes per portum Oftendanum ad civitatem noftram rectà, nullâ remora obice, velis contendere poterunt; unde earandem mercium per totam Flandriam, Brabantiam, etiam ad Leodii, Lotharingiæ, Franciæ quoque (quæ ad Mosam) partes commodissime fluviorum beneficio transmittendarum facultas erit: idque non navigiis invicem de civitate in civitatem subvenientibus, sed unâ eâdemque carina a primo ad ultimum, quo exonerandarum mercium nauclero destinatus fuerit terminus; sic ut occasione hujus beneficii perquam maximi, si mercimonia vestra umquam fuerunt ingentia, quando nec portuum nec fluviorum commoditas dabatur, nunc proculdubio majora erunt. Nihil mercimoniis instituendis magis conducit, quam secura fine vexâ commoda illarum traductio, item mercatorum libera ubique frequentatio, & magistratuum erga illos in exemptionibus & immunitatibus concedendis benevolentia. De quibus in prætactis litteris cum fiat mentio, nil superest, ut certi quid inter nos desuper utrimque terminetur & concludatur, quam ex parte D. D. V. V. aliqui deputentur seu committantur, qui nobiscum super articulis & conditionibus latius exhibendis conveniant. Speramus eandem conventionem fore talem (uti dictus magister Robinson significavit) quæ vobis justa & æqua videbitur, & amplectenda erit; quod faxit Deus opt. max. qui nos, & D. D. V. V. diu servet incolumes. Datum Brugis hac 29 Decemb. anni mill sexcent, quinquagesimi primi, stylo novo.
To the right honourable the council of state.
That when queen Elizabeth did openly declare herself against king Philip the second of Spain, lord of the seventeen provinces of the Netherlands, his lieutenant governors in those countries did take occasion to banish all English cloth and woollen manufactures, and to prohibit the same to be imported. But in time, as well to accommodate their own merchants, as to gratify some commanders and churchmen, there was found a means to dispense with the importation of a greater or lesser number of cloths, under the name of Lycent; which was brought by merchants, sometimes English, and sometimes strangers, as could best be agreed. And so in time this way of Lycent growing into custom, and all things reconciled with king James, the same was made a revenue of the crown, and brought into the finances of the remaining provinces to the king of Spain, which hath so continued till of late years; and sometimes hath not wanted compliance from some English, partly changed in religion and there residing, and others pursuing their own private advantages, without any care of the public, in such manner, that no complaint of the injury and breach of the ancient treaties of Burgundy, which charge the English cloth with two stivers only, could prevail. But by degrees this Lycent was advanced to twenty four gilders upon a cloth, which is forty eight shillings; and therefore by way of retaliation, when in the beginning of this parliament it was thought fit to compose a new book of rates, the Flemish linens imported into England from those provinces, were thought fit to be raised to such an height, as might make them sensible on their parts of the burthen; which had effect accordingly, insomuch, that upon the peace with the States General, they absolutely took off this Lycent; yet not without great importunity and interest of their own subjects, who gave hope that, in lieu thereof, the extraordinary customs, laid on their linens here, would be also reduced; which their expectation hath by the petitioners been represented to the council of state, yet without effect; of which delay the court of Bruxells taking notice, and being always intent to advance their prince's revenue, without any regard to the interposition of those of Antwerp, who still opposed the same, have again prohibited all English cloths and other woollen manufactures to be imported, which is to make way again to this course of Lycent, wherein also the petitioners have cause to doubt they are again, as formerly, encouraged by some English merchants, trading in those parts, for such private views and advantages, as have been formerly made thereof.
Wherefore the petitioners conceiving this to be of that high nature, in relation to the charges of the great staple commodity of this city of London, or banishing the same out of these lands, as ought not by them to be concealed from the state, do represent the same to your honours, humbly praying, that your honours would consider the evil consequences thereof, and accordingly apply such timely remedy as in your great wisdoms shall be found requisite.
Considerations of the advantages, that may come to the commonwealth of England, by getting all the Spanish cloth woolls into English hands, and some humble offers at the means to effect the same.
First, our getting all the Spanish cloth woolls into our hands will totally dissolve the clothing of Holland, which, by means of the woolls, hath of late years mightily increased, to the destruction of the vent of all fine cloths of English making, both in Holland, France, and the east lands; and hath drawn from us considerable numbers of weavers, dyers, and cloth-workers, now settled in Leyden and other towns of Holland, by whose help they have very much improved their skill in cloth, and have made in that one province (communibus annis) 24000 to 26000 cloths, of which scarcely one cloth was made of other than Spanish wooll, and surely not one but by a mixture of the most part of it; for though they have some supplies of wooll from Poland, Pomerland, and Luyckland, yet they have found by costly experience, that in making cloth of the coarse woolls they lose their capital; and that although our English cloth be charged in their shops with a very heavy excise (of which their own manufacture is free) yet we can underfell them, and gain too; which comes thus to pass: One pound of English wooll of 12d. price is improved in a mixed cloth to 4s. so as ¾ of its value is merely made out of the labour, and that labour of carding, spinning, dying, weaving, fulling, and working, does not cost us above ½ of what the Hollander pays, by reason of their high rates of houses and victuals, to which all labourers wages are proportioned. But now in fine Spanish wooll, that costs three times as much as our ordinary English wooll, that advantage in the labour doth not hold for us; nor can the most judicious eye guess so near the true worth of fine cloth, but that the maker may at most times advance 10 per cent. on the fancy of the buyer, which on coarse cloth cannot be done; and therefore they paying no impost or excise on the manufacture from the sheep's back to their own, and ours paying customs here, and freight, and insurance thitheir, and a great excise there, we cannot recover the vent of our fine cloth in Holland (if we should be reconciled) nor in other parts, nor get our workmen home, but by keeping the Hollander from any Spanish woolls.
Secondly, By that we shall also right ourselves in part upon the French, for their prohibiting our cloth, by keeping them both from considerable quantities of Spanish woolls, which they yearly got from Biscay, and wrought into cloth at Roan, and other parts; and by totally cutting off the supply of cloth, which they had from Holland, so as they must necessarily apply themselves to us.
Thirdly, We shall hereby much increase the vent of our English manufacture in Biscay; for whereas the Hollanders have of late years bought and exported from thence 4/5 parts at least of all the woolls, and sold there proportionably of their country stuffs and sayes, they will be now discouraged from coming to a market, where they cannot have any commodity to make their returns in, or relade their ships withal, nor any course of exchange to make; nor money, but copper, not worth their exporting.
Fourthly, As this would much improve the stock of a great many individuals, so will it make a very fair increase of the public revenues of the commonwealth, by the excise of the oils, soap, and dying-stuffs, to be used in making 30000 cloths yearly, more than formerly; and in the customs of the most part of them, when exported, with the excise and customs of the commodities to be imported on the returns of them.
For the expedient of getting these woolls into our hands, I do humbly conceive and offer, that it be done by the authority of the king of Spain, who may be dealt with by our state in the treaty of alliance (if any be) between our two nations, that he undertake for us the pre-emption of all the woolls of Segovia or Castile, which he will permit to be exported, and that for a certain term of years, and at such a price, as the owners of the wooll and the English contracter may both have reasonable content; and that the said king be obliged, that no woolls shall be exported out of any of his ports but by the English contracter; and that for the forming of a stock for this purpose, and the management of the work, the state will please to consider of declaring, that if a company of merchants of London or any other ports of England will engage to make up such a capital, they shall be impowered by a charter, with reasonable authority, for the government of the trade in one common stock, as is the East India company; but that they may erect several courts in the respective ports for the direction of the English manufacturers to be exported from them, that so all parts of the commonwealth may share in it, if they please. But more especially, that the western ports, who do usually carry into Biscay yearly from Newfoundland 70,000 quintals of fish, besides train-oil, may not be deprived of woolls to make their returns in; but that a proportion of the fishing ships may (if the owners desire it) upon a reasonable valuation be received in, as part of that stock, and the same employed to bring their fish to Biscay for the accompt of the company; by which means the price of the fish also will be the better maintained, as being under one direction.
And that it may not relish of a monopoly, that the state would please to declare, that every English subject, that will underwrite for any sum towards this stock, shall be admitted, if he do it within a reasonable time; and in case the sum underwritten shall exceed the necessary stock, then every sum subscribed to be reduced to the just proportion of it; that so no man be excluded, but that before the publication hereof, the state would please to instruct such men as they shall see fit, to make private essay, and report how probable it may be to find men to engage for the stock, upon such terms, as the wisdom of the state shall think fit to propound; that so our state may have grounds for their treaty with the Spaniard, and the Hollander get no umbrage of the design to stir him to a countermine.
And whereas the merchant adventurers are now soliciting the state to appoint an agent to treat with the Spaniard about the removal of their staple from Holland into Flanders, I do humbly conceive, that it may be made serviceable to the present design. For
First it may be urged on the Spaniard, as an argument for his compliance in granting us his woolls, because we are about to give his subjects the benefit of the mart of our cloth, which is the most compendious means to restore the antient trade and glory of those provinces.
And it may lay a just obligation upon that company (if the state shall think fit to establish them) that they engage deeply towards the stock for the woolls, because they are likely to have a liberal share of the profit, that must come to our nation thereby, by the overthrow of the Holland's clothing; for their rent of cloth will be thereby double as much as formerly.
And I humbly submit to the consideration of the state, if it may not do well, in case they resolve to establish the trade of the merchant-adventurers under a government, if they inordered, that no man should have his freedom in that trade, unless he brought in a proportionable part of his estate to the stock for woolls.
But if the state think that not to be security enough against the company's extorting an excessive price from the clothiers, the price may be regulated at a certain rate of profit, by consent of the undertakers, which they may not exceed.
At the council of state sitting at Whitehall.
That the committee of the council appointed to treat with the lords ambassadors from the high and mighty lords the States General of the United Provinces, do meet with their said lordships to morrow morning, being Wednesday, at the hour of nine at the usual place in Whitehall. And sir Oliver Fleming master of the ceremonies i. to have notice hereof, that he may attend upon the said lords ambassadors to the place appointed accordingly.
The governor and assistants of the company of merchants adventurers of England to the city of Bruges.
Magnifici, amplissimi, generosi domini,
Literas D. D. V. V. 29 Decembris proxime elapsi exaratas, quibus nostrarum per Mag. Robinson fit mentio, accepimus, & prout eædem exquisito stilo sunt conceptæ, abunde nobis satisfactum est, tam de constanti D. D. V. V. erga societatem nostram benevolentiâ (quâ nihil nobis gratius) quam de commodâ ad civitatem vestram per portum Ostendanum navigatione; & certe nihil prætermissum est, quod nos non jubeat benè sperare de prospero mercimoniorum nostrorum in civitate vestra successu. Cum vero adhuc duo supersint capita, quæ nos iisdem literis nostris ante omnia proposuimus, nimirum liberum religionis nostræ exercitium, & totalis Lycentiarum, quas vocant, abolitio, in quibus D. D. V. V. plane silent; nos ante conventionem super aliis articulis & conditionibus, quid super his expectandum sit, omnino necessarium esse censuimus. Ut igitur D. D. V. V. ad hæc imprimis capita nobis promptum & perspicuum responsum velint dignari, etiam atque etiam petimus; cum pro certo habeamus, parliamentum nunquam consensurum, tam pro cultu suo erga Deum, quam pro dignitate nationis, ut nos de residentiâ tractaremus, antequam de his plenè satisfactum sit.
Mr. Laurence Chambers's narrative concerning the murder of Anthony Ascham esq; delivered to Bradshaw, president of the council of state, 27 March, 1652.
May it please your honours,
In obedience to your lordships commands, I have here set forth, to the best of my remembrance and knowledge, the truth of what myself have seen and heard, and have been otherwise informed, concerning Anthony Ascham esq; agent from the parliament of this commonwealth of England to the king of Spain in Madrid.
That on Sunday at night the 5th June, 1650 stilo novo, the parliament's agent Mr. Anthony Ascham, with the Italian his interpreter, Mr. Fisher his Secretary, and one English servant, came to Madrid conducted (as the said Mr. Ascham informed us) by a Spanish colonel, a serjeant major, three captains, and one Alfarez; and that they had order from the king of Spain to have raised such strength and power, as should be requisite on the way for their safe conduct from Port St. Maria to Madrid; who, when they came to Madrid, they brought them to a common posada or inn, and then left them there that night without any guard; and went to their own private lodgings, the colonel promising to be with him again next morning; at which Mr. Ascham was so much displeased, to find himself so meanly lodged and without a guard, that the next morning he sent Mr. Fisher to find out Mr. William Marston, to come and speak with him; and he finding the said Mr. Marston and myself, where we were lodged together, we immediately went with the said Mr. Fisher to the agent, who declared unto us, not only the great dislike of the meanness of his lodging, but also that it was without any security, there being neither locks nor bolts on the doors or windows; and that he had lodged there that night in that manner, as we saw him, with the doors and the windows open, without any guard or security by them (as he expected) that had brought him there. And moreover he told us, that the colonel had been with him again that morning, and acquainted him, that he had performed his majesty's command in conducting him up to Madrid; and that he was then to take care and charge of himself; to whom, the agent said, he replied, that in regard he was threatned with so much danger of his life, he hoped they would not so leave him without a guard, until such time he could otherwise provide for himself; whereunto (he said) the col. again replied, that he found himself very ill with a pain and stitch in his side, that he must be forced presently to return to his lodging, and take his bed; and so left the agent with only his own retinue. And then the agent, who brought with him a letter from the duke de Medina to one of the secretarys of state, recommending, as the agent conceived, to his majesty's care, so well his personal safety, as what imported his other affairs, sent the said letter by the Italian to the said secretary of state, who upon the delivery thereof told him what the colonel had done; at which the secretary said he very much admired, that the colonel should leave him without a guard; and that although he had performed his majesty's command in conducting him to Madrid, yet he ought not to have left him there without having first his majesty's order. The which letter, as we were informed, was presently communicated by the secretary to his majesty, that was then in his chapel at Madrid; that order was immediately given by his majesty, for some of the guard to be sent him; but whilst we were there present, the Italian returned to the agent with that answer, which the secretary of state gave him, which was, that order was given, and that within an hour he might expect a guard would be with him; and then the agent took out of his pocket the copy of a short letter in Spanish, that the colonel had received from the secretary of state at Diescus, six leagues short of Madrid, where they lodged the Friday night before, being in answer of a letter, that the colonel had written from thence to the secretary of state, advising him of his being there, and withal, it seems, to know his majesty's pleasure, not only whether they should proceed forward with the agent for Madrid, but also where he should be lodged when he came there. And for this answer they remained there all the next day, which was Saturday, and upon receipt of the secretary's answer they proceeded for Madrid the day following, being Sunday; where they came late at night, the which answer of the secretary to the colonel, according to the copy that the agent took out of his pocket, was to this effect, that he might proceed for Madrid . . . . . where he pleased; the which the agent said, he did not understand, whether it were meant, where himself or the colonel pleased; but our sense thereof was, that the letter . . . . . . . to the colonel, it could not be meant, where the colonel . . . . . . pleased; who then replied, that he much deceived in his expectation; and as that thitherto he never knew, so never questioned the sufficiency of their orders, being assured by the duke de Medina, from whom he had received so much respect, that what he had demanded was granted him in having a safe conduct from where he landed up to Madrid, and a guard whilst he was there in treaty. And whether any thing with the king were concluded or no, to have the like safe conduct back again, from where he came; the which he said was the parliament's orders to him, and without which he said he would never have gone from the place, where he was landed; and for this reason said, he never wrote up to have any lodging provided for him before hand, conceiving it was not convenient nor proper for him to provide them, but left it to the care of them that had undertaken his security and safety, where they should think it most convenient themselves. Who then acquainted Mr. Marston with his desires and reason why he had sent for him; which was, that seeing he was put to this strait by the inconveniencies of his lodging, and that he was in so great danger of his life, that we would presently go and procure him some more secure and convenient lodgings; as Mr. Marston and myself did; and within an hour's time we returned him answer thereof, and desired that his secretary, Mr. Fisher, might go along with us to approve of them, and conclude for the price; who being then ready to set down at dinner invited us to stay and dine with him, which we refused, pressing him, as we had often before, for his speedy remove from thence with us before he dined. But the Italian persuaded him first to dine there, assuring him the guard would be presently with him. The agent then desired us, that we would go with Mr. Fisher, that whilst they were at dinner, the lodgings might be agreed for and got ready; and that at our return back, whether the guard came or not, he would go along with us. But it pleased God (as we were credibly informed) as the agent and Italian were sitting at table, attended with only his English servant, and no others in the room, the malefactors came up stairs, whereof two remained to guard the top of the stairs, that none should come up: then one of the rest came first into the chamber, approaching the agent as he sat at table, as if he would have saluted him. Upon which the agent rose from table to meet him; and then seeing three others of them entring, he thought to have retired back to a side-table, where lay two or three pair of pistols and some carbines charged, to have defended himself; but he that first came in, presently closed with him, and caught him by the hair, calling him (as the agent's servant reported, that was present in the room) traitor, and then he with the other three ran him through the temples of his head with a small stilletta, and gave him some other wounds in his body, that he presently fell down dead; and the Italian, who, it seems, thought to have saved himself in his chamber, as he ran away towards the door, one of the malefactors gave him a large cut and wound in the belly, with which he was found dead in his chamber leaning with his head against the door; all the which time the English servant remained in the room, crying for his master the agent; unto whom they offered no violence, but presently got out of the house, and with what speed they could took sanctuary in a church called the hospital of St. Andrea, not far from the posada or inn; of which the justice had present notice, and instantly came, and beset the house so well within as without; and when Mr. Fisher, Mr. Marston, and myself returned back from hiring of the lodgings, we found the streets full of people, saying, that the parliament's ambassador was killed; and when we came into the house, we found the agent lying in the middle of his chamber with his sword . . . . . and the Italian as aforesaid we found dead in his chamber. After that we came into the house where we found divers . . . . . and other officers. There came in likewise an alcade . . . . . that had been at the church (where the malefactors had taken sanctuary) who brought news, that they had apprehended the said malefactors, and taken them out of the church, as they were near the high altar, and sent them to the common prison, where they were commanded to be kept close prisoners. Also they reported, that the col. was in prison, but where I never knew, nor what hath been done against him. The names of the five that were apprehended, are these following; major Halsey, a Lancashire man; captain Progers, and captain Williams, Welchman; William Sparkes an Oxfordshire man, with a Scots trumpeter; all which, but Sparkes (that was book-keeper to William Pawly) were soldiers in the king of Spain's service. And after the alcade came into the house, he commanded the doors to be shut, and suffered no man to go in or out; who then with an escrivano took Mr. Fisher's declaration; and amongst divers other circumstances, that I could not come to hear, they examined him upon what occasions they came for Spain, and by whose commission Mr. Ascham came as agent, and what religion he and the Italian were of. Mr. Fisher answered, that they came upon the parliament of England's . . . . . and that Mr. Ascham had their commission; and that for religion, he was of the church of England, and the Italian a Roman catholick. And whilst we were there present, they took out of the agent's trunk and pocket his said commission from the parliament, and such other papers and monies, as they found therein; and the alcade, that had sent for the king's translator, when he came, they fell into debate of whom they should make choice of the English nation in Madrid to be assistant unto the king's translator, that is a Spaniard, for the translating of the aforesaid commission and other papers into Spanish. They would have had Mr. Marston and myself to have named the parties; but we not approving thereof, refused them; and to stop them in that design, we prepared a petition to the king, and carried it early the next morning, for Mr. Fisher to deliver it. But before any thing was done in translating the said papers, or the petition delivered, there came an order from the king, that they should not proceed therein, but seal up the said commission and other papers with the king's seal, and deliver them to the secretary Mr. Fisher; the which, as we were informed, was accordingly performed.
The alcade, after he had made this dispatch at the posada or inn, sent Mr. Fisher away under his protection, and lodged him within a door or two of his own house at a near kinsman of his, with whom after the next morning, that Mr. Marston had very privately delivered him the aforementioned petition, we could not be permitted by no means to have any conference with him either by word or letter. In whose custody he remained in this manner eight days before my departure from Madrid; during which time of my eight days abode there after the perpetration of this murder, the king of Spain shewed himself very vigorous in prosecuting the malefactors, who were kept for two or three days at first apart in dungeons; and then they had liberty from morning until night to be in a room together. But the same day at night by order from the king they were commanded to be put down in dungeons again, where they remained for some two days after, and then had liberty again for two of them to be in one room, and three in another; who so remained at my depart from Madrid; and by their several examinations and declarations, that the justice had taken (as we were further informed) each of them declared himself guilty of the said fact, and were ambitious, which of them should make himself appear the greatest actor in it; supposing, by reason they had taken sanctuary, that they should have had not only the protection of the church, but much honour by what they had done. But when their counsel came to take cognisance of their declarations, wherein they had confest themselves guilty, and that the king had ordered a special judge for this cause (upon their aforesaid declarations) to form a criminal process against them, their council then in answer to their accusations could not but acknowledge their fact; but pleaded the right of the church against the king; and as it was generally reported, the church had several times demanded them, and upon the king's denying to deliver them, the interdictions of the church were daily expected to come forth, until they were restored to the church. However they were to have come to their trial that afternoon I departed from Madrid; but it was suspended until the next day. And then, as Mr. Marston hath since written to me, it was heard and debated very strongly by council on both sides for above two hours together, and at last not determined . . . . . their would be a further suspension of their trial . . . . . time that the king had answer of his letters from England.
Monday 5th April, 1652.
That a conference be had with the extraordinary ambassadors of the United Provinces upon the answer given to the thirty six articles, and also upon the paper of demands given to their excellencies from the council; and likewise, that in this conference with the Dutch ambassadors upon the paper of demands, it be insisted upon, that an answer be given by the said ambassadors to the said paper of demands.
That it be referred to the committee for foreign affairs, to prepare a paper to be given in to the Dutch ambassadors at the conference now resolved on; wherein it is to be signified unto them, that the council do insist upon an answer to be given by them to the paper of demands given in to them from the council.
The council of state to the Dutch ambassadors.
Upon the 15th of March last, we delivered unto your excellencies a paper, whereby we did demand right and justice to be done to the people of this commonwealth in several particulars specified and expressed in that paper, and likewise satisfaction in what relates unto, and so highly concerns the honour of this commonwealth; since which we have received no answer at all thereunto; and in the paper of the 5/15 instant delivered in by your excellencies unto the commissioners appointed to meet with you, and by them reported unto us, your excellencies take no notice of those demands, your desires therein expressed relating only to our answer to your thirty six articles. We therefore find it necessary to remind your excellencies of the said demands, and that you would be pleased to give your answer thereunto; and to prevent all occasion or pretence of further delay, we have consented to a mutual conference, as is desired by your excellencies in your last paper, expecting thereupon to receive your full answer, as well to the said paper of demands, as to what we gave in answer to your thirty six propositions.
Lord chief justice St. John to secretary Thurloe.
I Received not yours of 3d instante before the last post, togeather with your other of the 6th instante, and have by the last post written unto you uppon the subjecte of both yours relating to yourselfe, but directed my letter to Whitehall, where I thought it would have founde you. I heare from sir Hen. Vayne, and otherwise, of your election into Mr. Frost's place, with the circumstances. God forbid I shoulde in the least repine att any his works of providence, much more att these relating to your owne good, and the good of many. Noe, I blesse him. As soone as I heard the news in what concerned you, I rejoyced in it uppon those grounds. Noe, goe on and prosper; let not your hands saynte; wayte uppon him in his ways, and he that hath called you, will cause his presence and blessing to goe along with you. And if I weare otherwise minded, might I not feare a curse uppon what concernes myselfe in seeking my owne good above the good of many? I perceive by your last, that this is like to finde you in the fenns. I doe fully approve of the way you have sett out through Fassett fenns, and all that you have done therein; and concerning the sellinge the rectorie of Godmanchester. Concerning Osterly parke, I received att large a relation, and likewise a particuler from sir John Trevor. I can say nothing in it; you know I wante a habitation; this would be a good distance from London; and you know how able I am to goe through with soe greate a purchase. If any thing of treaty be divulged, I shall be thought a richer man then I am, and shall not yet be able to buy it att the last. Doe in it as you shall see cause. If I may know by your next, when you are like to returne to London, I shall likewise by that time know the time of our departure hence, which is likely before the ende of this month (fn. 1). Our affayres heare are as formerly; only we heàre, that Argile beginns taxations both offensive and defensive in the Highlands. Now you are uppon the place, it would be well to see all the works on the north of Bedford river to be begun. Pray by the next let me know, wheather Bedford river be yet finished as to the bottoming. My service to Mr. Glapthorne, when you see him. I have noe more att presente.
Tuesday the 27th of April, 1652.
That it be referred to the committee for foreign affairs, to prepare a paper, wherein to declare an equal liberty to the Dutch ambassadors on the behalf of the United Provinces, as well as to the council on the behalf of this commonwealth, to make such further propositions, as they shall see cause, in the carrying on of the treaty; and this paper is to be brought into the council to morrow in the afternoon, and to be left to the commissioners, to deliver it as they shall see cause.
A Paper of the council of state.
For the further satisfaction of your excellencies desires contained in your last paper, and for the prevention of any delay to the carrying on of this treaty, the council have thought fit to signify, and propound unto your lordships, that in the progress of this treaty now begun betwixt your excellencies and this commonwealth, there be equal liberty to this council and to your lordships reserved and declared, to make such further propositions and demands, as either party shall think fit, until the whole treaty be transacted and concluded, unless by mutual consent it be hereafter otherwise limited and declared.
Parlamentum reipublicæ Angliæ serenissimæ Christinæ, Dei gratia, Suecorum, Gothorum, Vandalorumque reginæ, magnæ principi Finlandiæ, duci Esthoniæ, Careliæ, Bremæ, Verdæ, Stetini, Pomeraniæ, Cassubiæ, & Vandaliæ, principi Rugiæ, necnon dominæ Ingriæ, & Wismaræ, &c. salutem.
Serenissima et potentissima regina,
Quam gratæ inclytiss. vestræ majestatis litteræ ab publico vestro ministro D. Petro Spieringio redditæ huic reipublicæ Anglicanæ fuerint, & quam prompta parataque eadem hæc fuisset quæcumque vestræ majestatis mandata, nisi Deus aliter ordinasset, (fn. 2) expositurum & propositurum, audiendi & expediendi, vestram regiam majestatem ex literis non ita pridem per ablegatum Danielem Lislæum missis (quas quidem jam traditas esse sperant) satis intellexisse, nulli dubitant. Porro quam libenter receperint potentissimæ vestræ majestatis Stocholmiæ 20 Martii, 1652, datas, atque huc per publicum vestrum ministrum nobilem Haroldum Applebonium (quem amicissime audiverunt) allatas literas, atque quicquid præterea ab inclytiss. vestra majestate idem proposuit, lubenter (uti debuerunt) revolverunt, atque ad ea jam responderunt, adeo quidem ut regia vestra majestas de sincera parlamenti hujus voluntate pristinam amicitiam & necessitudinem, quæ jam dudum inter Anglicam & Suecicam gentes intercesserunt, colendi, renovandi, & firmandi, eaque, quæ ad ulteriorem omnis confuetudinis & mutuæ societatis adauctionem hac ex parte æqua & factu necessaria videbuntur, certa esse queat. Hac quidem bona mente constanti potentissimæ vestræ majestatis regiæ, regnorumque & dominiorum continuam tranquillitatem & pacem cum omni prosperitate conjunctam, usque comprecantur & vovent. Dat. ex palatio Westmonasteriensi die 2 Junii, 1652.
The Dutch ambassador to the council of state.
Au tres illustre conseil d'estat.
L'Ambassadeur extraordinaire des Provinces Unies ayant reçeu le 10/19 me Juin sur le soir assez tard par les mains du sieur le chevalier Flemming la response, qu'il a plu au tres illustre conseil d'estat luy donner fur le sommaire des choses par luy proposées le 14/24 me du mesme mois:
Il se trouve obligé pour s'acquitter de sa charge, de reiterer ingenuement derechef icy, comme il a faict parcy devant, que les estats generaux ses supericurs n'ayant nullement proposé, ny deliberé, ny ordonné de donner aucun soubçon ou le moindre subject d'offense à l'encontre la flotte ou navires de cette republique selon la parfaicte cognoissance qu'il a de toutes leurs plus intimes deliberations & consultations, il avoit creu que cela auroit esté suffisant à toutes autres impressions contraires.
Il a aussi presenté naifvement l'accident arrivé entre les deux flottes aupres de Douvres ou Dunes, selon qu'il est venu à cognoissance de ses superieurs par des attestations sinceres des personnes dignes de foy & sans reproche, & pour eviter toutes autres ulterieures contestations (au lieu de maintenir les preuves susdictes) il a ouvert le chemin, par lequel on eut pu parvenir à la vraye & infallible cognoissance, & par mesme moyen à la satisfaction, qu'on auroit pu legitimement pretendre.
Ainsi cet inconvenient ne peut estre en aucune façon imputé à ses superieurs, pour n'avoir jamais eu la moindre pensée, ny aucunement contribué à l'infraction de l'amitié (pour l'avoir eu tousjours tres chere) & moins à l'interruption du traicté de confederation, pour lequel ils ent ont eu, & en ont encor leurs ambassadors extraordinaires pardeca.
Cele se peut manifester suffisament par la serme & constante resolution des ses superieurs, qui n'ont jamais voulu octroier des lettres de repressailles sur des assiduelles plainctes & requestes (reiterees jusques à l'importunité) des interesses dans les navires qui ont esté pris, arrestes, & confisques par deca, affin qu'on ne donnasse le moindre subject de mescontentement cette republique.
Le mesme se voit encor clairement dans la protection octroiée à la compagnie des Anglois (establie dans Rotterdam) ex superabundanti, & combien qu'elle n'en avoit aucun besoin pour tesmoigner plus specialement leurs plus sinceres intentions, lesquelles se peurent justifier aussy par toutes leurs actions, personne de deça n'ayant reçeu jusques a present le moindre dommage, offense, ou injure, pour toutes lesdites & autres procedures, mesme leurs vaisseaux de guerre & autres ayant aimé mieux de se laisser conduire dans les ports d'Angleterre, que de se defendre contre ceux qu'ils ont tousjours tenu pour leurs amys, comme n'avant jamais reçeu aucune denonciation au contraire.
Mesme pour rendre un tesmoignage plus authentique a cette republique en la faire cognoistre a tout le monde, ses superieurs ont envoié une seconde ambassade extraordinaire pour desabuser entierement touts ceux, qui pourroient estre preoccupes ou mal informes, & faire avancer & parachever ledict traicté.
Mais en cas que toutes ces overtures & autres moyens d'accommodement soient rejectes, & qu'on veuille proceder icy par des voyes, qui au lieu d'assoupir, ne fairont qu'accroistre le mal, & qui estant contre les maximes des estats & republiques, lesquels ne jugent jamais sur des indices, presuppositions, & suspicions, mais sur des preuves infallibles, claires comme le jour en plein midy, & irreprochables, & qui durant le traicté font tousjours precisement cesser toutes voyes de faict, surprendront davantage les dicts superieurs, & donneront des estranges allarmes à leurs peuples en faisant soussrir les innocents & ceux qui viennent de loing, ou qui n'ont jamais eu le moindre soubçon ou entendu le moindre bruict de quelque mauvaise intelligence entre les deux estats.
Le dict ambassadeur doit estre extremement surpris & marri, requirant (pour tenter toute sorte des voyes) qu'il plaise aux dicts deputes de proposer de leur part des autres expedients (puis qu'on a tesmoigné dans la derniere response donnée aux autres ambassadeurs extraordinaires, que les voyes les plus douces leur seront tousjours les plus agreables) qui pourront estre propres, satisfactoires, & convenables pour sortir au plustost de cette malheureuse affaire, & remettre tout en son premier estat.
Et cependant qu'on veuille faire cesser toutes voyes de faict, & donner ordre, que les navires detenus soient le plustost relasches, priant instamment, qu'il plaise audict conseil de s'expliquer la dessus, & quant e quant respondre sur les derniers articles du memoire presenté le 17/27 Juin, & le rendre ainsi capable de contribuer les meilleurs offices pour le bien & affirmissement de deux republiques.
Dutch ambassador to the council of state.
Au tres illustre conseil d'estat.
L'Ambassadeur extraordinaire des Provinces Unies considerant l'importance des affaires, qui sont presentement sur le tapis, & les dangers eminents, dont on est menacé de part a d'autre, a esté constrainct de se rendre encore importun envers vos excellences, en leur recommandant tres serieusement la response sur la derniere conference, & les priant tres affectueusement qu'elle puisse estre un convenable & legitime moyen a assoupir les differents, & restablir la bonne union entre les deux estats, & la parfaicte intelligence entre leurs peuples.
Dutch ambassador to the council of state.
Autres illustre conseil d'estat,
L'Ambassadeur extraordinaire des Provinces Unies ayant esté hier en conference avec les seign. deputes du dict conseil, & reçeu d'eux deux memoires sur le mesme subject, il desire grandement, qu'il voulut avoir pour agreable d'ordonner derechef sans perdre du temps une nouvelle conference avec les dicts deputes, affin qu'on s'y puisse expliquer, & s'esclaircir davantage de part & d'autre, & sortir au plustost de cet affaire.
The Dutch ambassador to the council of state.
Autres illustre conseil d'estat.
L'Ambassadeur extraordinaire des Provinces Unies à proposé dans la conference tenue cejourdhuy le 26 Juin/6 Juillet, avec les seigneurs deputès du conseil d'estat les poincts suivants:
Que leurs subjects outre les excessives pertes, qu'ils ont eues sur mer parcy devant, en ont receu des tres grandes par des represailles données tant contre les Francois que contre les dicts subjects des Provinces Unies & sur des autres pretextes.
Et s'il plaist aux dicts deputés d'exprimer la dicte estimation en termes civils de leur costé, on pourra remarquer si on a envie & si on est intentionné par deça de transiguer les choses passées selon la raison & à l'amiable, ou si on voudra proposer des choses impossibles & non faisables.
Sur ce que concerne la confederation entre les deux republiques & l'adsistance mutuelle pour secourir l'un l'autre contre ceux qui les voudront offenser ou attaquer, les autres ambassadeurs extraordinaires ont faict cognoistre les vraies intentions de leurs superieurs, & sont tout prests de continuer & parachever la dicte negotiation, sans perte du temps.
Si les dicts deputés jugent, que la dicte confederation doit estre plus ample & plus estroicte, le dict ambassadeur ne l'aura pas seulement pour agreable, mais supplie serieusement d'en estre esclaircy la dessus.
Donnant a considerer, s'il ne sera pas convenable, voire tres necessaire que les flottes ne puissent s'approcher & s'engager davantage, ce que le dict ambassadeur apprehende grandement & notamment, si on n'en donne promptement ordre par deça.
Et requirant aussi que les navires detenus puissent estre relaschés au plustost, & qu'on ne face aucune ulterieure detention, ou prises, affin que les humeurs estant aucunement appaisées, on soit plustost par amitié, mutuelle bienviellance, & de bon gré, que par contraincte induict a s'unir derechef par une indissoluble confederation.
Et que le dict ambassadeur puisse avoir icy dessus si prompte & favourable declaration, qu'il puisse travailler avec plus d'apparence de succes aupres les seigneurs ses superieurs, & y effectuer ce que dans cette conjoincture du temps & des affaires est tres expedient & necessaire, & s'y employer sans aucun delai selon l'ordre expres qu'il a des dicts superieurs, & selon lequel il est obligé de se reigler precisement.
The Dutch ambassador to the council of state.
Au tres illustre conseil d'estat,
L'Ambassadeur extraordinaire des Provinces Unies ayant considere la responsé, qui luy fut delivrée hier au soir par le sieur chevalier Flemming sur des considerations par luy pro posées parcy devant, demande tres justament, qu'il plaise au tres illustre conseil d'estat, luy octroier un autre conference cet apresdisne pour y pouvoir deduire plus particulierement les intentions de fes superieurs, & pour satisfaire aussi bien a leurs excellences, qu'a fes devoirs.
The Dutch ambassador to the council of state.
Au Tres Illustre conseil D'estat.
Cependant que l'ambassadeur extraordinaire des Provinces Unies a este occupé à former la response sur l'escrit, qui lui fut rendu hier au soir bien tard par le sieur le chevalier Flemming, il a esté informé (à son grand regret) que le slotte de cette republique est entreé en mer, pour executer son dessein.
Le dict ambassadeur a eu ordre aussi par diverses depesches de fes superieurs, qu'en cas il ne put faire cesser les actes d'hostilité par touts devoirs possibles, il retournast en toute diligence aux Pays Bas, pour leur faire rapport de ce que lui estoit arrivé.
Tellement que le dict ambassadeur ne pouvant plus faire aucun avancement dans la negotiation, dont il a commandement de faire rapport à fes superieurs an plustost, il requiert, qu'il puisse prendre congé demain du dict conseil d'estat, pour passer en grande diligence avec le navire de guerre du cap. Johan Verhaes, qui a eu ordre de le mener & rammener, & qu'il puisse avoir un pasport du dict conseil, assin de passer la mer sans aucun empeschement ou detour bien, & sans estre molesté ou arresté par les navires du parlement.
Les autres ambassadeurs extraordinaires lui ayant communiqué & faict voir, qu'ils avoient pareil ordre & commandement, l'ont requis de demander de leur part, qu'ils puissent avoir audience demain quant & quant dans le dict conseil d'estat, & prendre congé d'icelui, comme aussi d'estre pourveu des navires, qu'ils auront besoing pour le transport de leurs personnes, train, & bagage, & aussi de tels autres pasports, qu'il leur faudra pour la securité de leur voiage.
The Dutch ambassador to the council of state.
Au Tres Illustre conseil D'estat.
L'Ambassadeur extraordinaire des provinces unies à creu estre a propos de proposer ici, si le dict conseil d'estat ne pourroit approuver; qu'apres avoir faict son rapport aux seign. les Estats Generaux, on renvoia son secretaire ou autre personne assidie pour somenter & entretenir la correspondance, & rendre & recevoir de la part de l'un & l'autre estat ce que pourra servir à l'accommodement des choses passees & au restablissement de l'union & consederation.
Et si à cette sin on n'auroit pas pour agreable de lui saire depescher des pasports pour pouvoir revenir librement & seurement, & s'arrester si long temps pardeça, que le parlement de la republique d'Angleterre ou les dicts Estats Generaux le trouveroient a propos, & s'en retourner avec la mesme seureté etant rappellé.
Ou autrement qu'il plust audit conseil de nommer ou enseigner icy quelcun, qui leur fut agreable & propre à recevoir les lettres qu'on pourroit depescher pour ce subject pardelà, & en faire avoir la response.
The Dutch ambassador to the council of state.
Au tres illustre conseil d'estat.
L'Ambassadeur extraordinaire des Provinces Unies ayantveu la response du dict conseil donnée fur sa proposition d'hier, à voulu declarer dereches d'estre grandement intentionné de contribuer tout son possible estant venu pardela assin que sur les ouvertures, qui ont esté faictes, & qu'on pourroit faire encore, on puisse trouver des moiens & expedients convenables, pour faire cesser premierement toute alienation d'affection & actes d'hostilité, & ainsi parvenir à l'accommodement des choses passées, & ensuitte à une ferme union & confedera tion entres les deux estats, & à un tel reglement entre les deux nations, que par celui leur prosperité & felicité puisse estre avancée, & touts autres inconvenients à l'advenir detournés.
Et comme cette resolution est saincte, honeste, & (ayant bon succes) tres salutaire, voire qu'on la doit executer tres promptement, & devant que les affaires aillent plus avant; le dict ambassadeur requiert, qu'il plaise au dict conseil de considerer tout cecy, & ordonner ce qui pourroit contribuer & servir sur ce subject & à l'advancement d'icelui.
Et le temps estant grandement à menager, il sera tres necessaire, que les audiences soient hastées, & qu'il soit admis à icelles au plustoft, comme aussi qu'il puisse avoir les expeditions requises pour le navire avec lequel il est venu, & qui l'attend à Gravesende pour le transporter au Pays Bas, avec le pasport qu'il a demande, pour passer seurement, & eviter touts inconvenients, qu'il pourroit rencontrer en mer.
Le dict ambassadeur se promet, qu'il plaira au dict conseil de donner ordre, qu'en consideration de sa qualité il soit traicte de mesme en sa demission & congé, comme il a este en son admission & reception, pour laquelle il remercie tres affectueusement le dict conseil.