A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 1, 1638-1653. Originally published by Fletcher Gyles, London, 1742.
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October (3 of 3)
Vrybergen to Vande Perre.
I Have received yours of the 24th of this month, whereby I am glad to understand the good inclinations of the English government to the treaty, which I hope will be ended upon practicable and honourable conditions, that so you may return here with good success, whereof there is likelihood, as you say in your letter to the raedt pensionary. Pray God, your words may prove to be true. I hear your son, that came lately out of England, is very sick at the Hague. I am now in haste.
An intercepted letter of king Charles II. to the earl of Atholl.
My lord Atholl,
I Have received yours of the 28th of July, and as I have never bene in the least degree doubtfull of your affection, so I have receaved great satisfaction in what the bearer hath sayed to me from you: he will tell you againe from me what confidence I have in you, which is very greate, as in a person, who I know is abler then most men, and as willing as any can be to do me service. The persons I have most trusted, and upon whome I most rely, are such as I know you have a particular esteeme of, and therfore I doubt not, you correspond with them, and will appeare publiquely as soone as is necessary, both for the countenance and carrying on the service. I long to heare that such a progresse is made, that it may be fitt for me to come to you, which assure your selfe I resolve to doe, except I have an opportunity to do somwhat, that you will thinke better for my selfe and you. You cannot wish me kinder to you then you shall always finde
For the earle of Atholl.
Extract of a letter of mons. de Bordeaux, the French resident in England, to mons. de Brienne, secretary of state in France.
Ce regime d'Angleterre a fait un traité avec l'ambassadeur d'Espagne touchant le restitution de l'argent. L'on ne peut facilement scavoir, s'il s'etend à d'autres matieres, s'etant fait entre mons. le general, le dit ambassadeur, & le secretaire du conseil seuls, & generalement toutes les affaires, qui exigent le secret, ne viennent au conseil & au parlement, que quand elles doivent eclatter.
An intercepted letter from Paris.
Because I made promise in my last not to molest you within these two or three weeks with any of my letters, I was afraid you would have taken no care, that these coming unexpected, might be received in your absence from London; therefore I thought it fit to committ them to the trust of a friend of mine, which will be careful to convey them to your hands wherever you may be at present. The argument of this my writing, though it be not of great consequence, yet may it assure you of my thankfull affection towards you, which causeth me to live in a continuall remembrance of your person. I wish I had as much matter to write unto you some good newes, as I have cause to complaine over the unhappinesse of the time, but for want of a better subject, you must accept of such as our cuntrey at present does afforde. We are much prejudiced heere with the licentious practices of your seamen, who have taken and doe still take severall of our vessells at sea, to the great discourragement of all those that drive any trade at sea. We know, that for such actions of yours you can have no other pretense, then that some freebooters, that have commission from the king of England, doe harbour in some of our havens, and doe sell there the prises taken from the English; but yf that be all you can say for yourselves, we are in hopes that even those scrupels will be shortly remooved; for besides that his majestie of France hath allreadie set forth a proclamation, that none of the said freebooters shal stay above twenty four houres in any of his majestie's havens, the marchants of Normandy and Britannie have appointed some deputies to meete heere at Paris, and humbly to solicite his majestie of France, that all freebooters, under what commission soever they be, may be prohibeted to come with their prises into any of our havens, and that moreover his majestie would be pleased to cause all theire commissions to be called in. That being done, I hope you will have no just cause to make a pray of any French vessall; or else, if you still continue so to doe, it will appeare that your pretences and your intentions have not aimed all this while at one and the same mark, and thereby we shall know whether you will be friends or foes. The Lord direct you for the best. I pray, sir, remember me to all our friends. I long to heare, whether your neighbour Mr. Smith hath still a minde to buy Mr. Rob. tenement, that layeth towards you from his other house: if he intends to build such a house upon as he talketh, he had need of 6 or 7000 pound to begin withall, and then he may have a habitation to spend 2000 pound a yeare in it; but I am sure he will not perfect the building in so short a time as he was speaking to us, for he will have but a few materialls neere hand, and there is not so much as a hedge about the garden, but he will be forced to make new hedges round about. I would have him to take good advise before he medle with the bargaine. Because I did write but lately to you aboute our affaires, I forbeare to enlarge these lines, intending to writte to you againe within these two or three weeks: till then I rest,
Sir, your moste humble servant, Israell Bernhard.
Mr. John Benson to secretary Thurloe.
Yours I receved by yesterday's post, whereby you doe actually discharge me from this imployment, by reason youe finde my letters to speake nothing unto the bussinesse, about which I was first sent hither. I grant the truth of what you say hearein, there being a greate chainge of affaires since that time, the Scotch kinge being then in Scotland, with a armey, one Mr. Crofts being then his ambassador with the king of Poland, where he obtained an act of the parliament for the raysinge the fifteenth part of all English and Scotchmens estate, which coming to this plase to put in effect was the cause of my coming heare, whereby in my publike opposition of Crosts the honest English weere protected, and some of the refractory had there estates actually sequestred, whereby all the rest weere brought into an actuall compliance. The king himselfe being att the same time in this citty, I caused the marchants allso att the same time to observe the 30th of January in memoriall of our deliverance from slavery; and thereuppon the same day I made a feast for the whole company, all which I accomplished much to the honor and advaintage of the English nation in these parts, allthough I sett my life in dayly hasard thereby, being many times sett uppon in the street; yett I came off alwayes with advantage, all which was taken notise of by the counsell, and I was promised rewards (which as yet I have never receved) as by the enclosed extracts youe will finde. Now there being so great a warre fallen out betwixt us and the Hollander, my instructions weere to observe and finde out as neere as could, what interest they managed in these parts, what confederacies they made either with Denmarke or Sweeden, and uppon what accompt; which I have effected so fully, that I give notise of the severall treaties betwixt the Dane and Hollander, and of there finall determination thereuppon three weeks or a month before there could be any other notise thereof: nay further, when the English shipps were detained, I gave notise that they would be detained, and made prise of, with the reason wherefore, which was not then belived by reason all others wrott to the contrary. Yett when the convoy came, my papers, although long before, were found true and the others false. This accompt of affayres, which I have from thence, is from noe meane or slight person, but one who is in the condition of an alderman in Copenhagen, where the court is most constant, who being att this plase, and speaking verry good English, I was brought acquainted with him, he making complaint, that he was to long held up by some of the lords in a bussinesse, wherein he was much concearned. I being very well acquainted with them, so farr prevailed, that in a few days his bussinesse was finished beyond his expectation, whereby I so far oblidged him, that ever since wee have had a strickt correspondancy together, he being no lover of the Hollander, having been bred in England, writes the more freely aboute them affaires. I have allso the more to ensure him, sent to him such things, as this plase doth afford, and have received the like from him. Since I received yours for my continuance, I sent him a peece of amber, whith a smale frog therein: he hath since assured me, that allthough there are eight shipps named, and the captains thereto, and provisions taken in for them to lay in the Elve, yett that there will not one shippe stirre out of the Sound this yeare, and that those who are not in the docke will bee suddenly taken in. If to know the truth of such things as these bee not my bussinesse, I desire to have instructions wherein I fayle, that so I might mend. That all my letters afford not matter of concernment, itt is no wonder, actions of such nature being not daily prodused, and I love not to fill my letters with leyes. Besides the plague having been much heare, was some hindrance, which now, God be praised, is decreased to less then 300. Sir, that which I shall propound upon all this is, that I may be continued the halfe yeare to an end, itt wanting but a litle more than two months; and if I performe not to the full of what I have expressed as to the Hollands interest, I shall willingly returne and beare my owne charges therein, or otherwise to be continued, as itt shall be thought meet. Allso at present I am so weake through my ague, that this hath taken nine houres time to writte itt besides the certificate, which you promised me is dayly expected, which I desire might be sent, it being of great concernment to the burgery. The contents of your letter, with the names of the captaines taken and the shipps suncke under the councell's seale, will be sufficient. I shall send coppies thereof into Denmarke and Swedan, &c. wherby the Holland's leys shall be publickely detected. Thus I remaine
Your assured servant, John Benson.
Your last and this late one of the 5th of July I have well receved, and having communicated them to the councell, they are well receved there alsoe. Your care, confidence, and endeavours thereby represented in behalfe of this commonwealth being approved of so farr, as that they have refered the contents of your negotiation both against Crofts and the malignant party there, with the other matters of your observation and travaile in this affaire to a committe to be debated and reported unto them: some sensible testimony heareof you should have had this post, but that the meeting this morning in the commite thereto appointed being taken off by the resentments of the last great received in Scotland, so that nothing could be considered or resolved of at this time in relation to yourselfe, &c.
Your observations of the temper of those amongst whome you are is verry seasonable and usefull, and though you have had a publick acknowledgment from the counsell, those late great transactions and the consequences of them takeing up there whole time, youe muste excuse them, yett I am confident youe will not want, when itt may be most for your honor and advantage. In the meane time I hope the Lord, whose errand you are uppon, will protect youe from those daingers threatned by Crofts and your malevolent opposers, &c.
I Thought it necessary to assure youe of the receipt of those papers concerninge Mr. Hackett, and to lett you know, that your procedings, care, and dexterity therein are verry acceptable to the councell, as allso your entertaineing of the company in testimony whereof they have appointed me to refund you your disbursements, which therfore you may charge upon me accordingly. I am also to lett you know, that the counsell have ordered this discharge of those goods of the queene of Poland from the seasure made thereon.
Sir, I should goe farther in such extracts, wherein I am promised rewards, and acquaint you that I never receved any, not the same before specified, with severall other soms laid out, besides part of my wadges due; but my ague comes uppon me, and causeth me to breake off, being not able to write one line more.
Extract out of the secret register of the resolutions of their high and mighty lordships the States General of the United Provinces.
There being heard the report of the lords raedt pensionaries de Witt and others, their high and mighty lordships commissioners for the affairs of Denmark, in pursuance of their resolutions of the 29th and 31st of October last, having visited and examined the points of deliberation proceding out of the verbal report of the said lord Keyser, late commissioner of this state with the king of Denmark, and also narrowly considered the treaty of rescission agreed on by the said lord Keyser the 16th of September last, with the commissioners of his royal majesty; and also considered of the obligation to be made and signed by his majesty and his council in the said treaty mentioned more at large; whereupon being debated, and likewise special notice being taken of that paper or memorandum given in by the lord resident Charisius the 25th of the last month, it is thought fit and understood, first, that there shall be a letter writ to their high and mighty lordships commissioners in England, that their lordships will take special care to do all that they can to advance the interest of the king of Denmark in their treaty there; and that they do punctually govern themselves according to the contents of the alliance made with the said king the 8th of February last, and especially according to the text of the last article thereof but one; and that they do take care, that his said majesty and all his territories and subjects be expresly comprehended and included in that treaty to be made with the government there; and that they, according to the success of the said treaty, as occasion shall serve, do expresly declare to the government there, that their high and mighty lordships, in pursuance of the said treaty with him, cannot conclude with the government of England without express inclusion as aforesaid, unless they shall break their faith and promises made with the said king. Moreover that they do prepare the minds of the governors there to receive such public ministers, as the king of Denmark shall send over unto them.
Their high and mighty lordships do also declare once more for satisfaction of his majesty, that they having heard the assurance made by or on the behalf of his majesty to the lord Keyser, how that he is willing to restore to the English the hemp-ships stayed the last year in the Sound, with the goods laden therein, forasmuch as any is left of them, or else the proceeds thereof, and upon this presupposed assurance they do hold themselves obliged to protect him with all their might and power against all that, which the said government shall undertake against his majesty, by reason of the detention of the said ships and the goods laden therein, or by reason of his felling the same or part thereof, through the perishableness thereof; also to bear him harmless of all costs, charges, damages, and interests, which may be by those of the said government for that cause laid to his charge. And furthermore the said commissioners in England are ordered hereby to use their utmost endeavours, and to order and direct the treaty so there, that in the concluding of the treaty, and with the express including of his said majesty as aforesaid, may be annihilated all the pretences, which may be made by those of the government there for the reasons aforesaid; with further assurance, that their high and mighty lordships will always help to protect and defend with all their might and power from all that shall happen to be undertaken against the said king or his subjects, by reason of his detention and sale of the said ships and goods. Secondly it is understood, that not only speedy order shall be given and taken for the payment of the subsidy money promised to his majesty, but the first term of the said subsidy for the next year, in case of continuation of the war with the government in England, in lieu of the first of April mentioned in the treaty, shall be paid by the first of March, to the end the king's fleet may be the sooner ready.
It is also hereby ordered, that the council of state be desired to make speedy payment of the arrears of the annuity due to the princess Frederica Amelia, allowed by their high and mighty lordships for her support and maintenance.
Likewise, that the East-India company be writ unto to put them in mind of the civilities and courtesies shewn them in behalf of their ships by his said majesty; that so they may acknowledge the same accordingly and with reality.
Seventhly, that it be further recommended to his said majesty to give special order, that lights may be kept about Aronter Riffe, and upon some certain old steeples called Rafel Sterbo; and that a good sea-buoy be kept upon the Trimdel.
Lastly, that a copy of these resolutions be delivered to the lord resident Charisius, that so he may communicate the same to his majesty, with the sincere affection and inclination of their high and mighty lordships; and that he make known to him also their willingness and readiness to serve him in any thing, that lyeth in their power, and to give him all the assurance they can in any thing he shall desire of them.
A letter of intelligence from the Hague.
Upon Saturday the first of November news came to the Hague by a galliot sent to Scheveling, that de Witt with the East-India ships, which were in the Sound, and near 400 other merchants ships, were left the day before within fifteen leagues of the Texell. Those of Norway, three East-India ships, and above 100 merchantmen were not then with them, but are since arrived. The next day after church and Monday were spent in consultation, what to do with the fleet, and upon Monday night the general sense of the states was, that the lord admiral mynheer Opdam, Witt Wittesen, John Evertson, de Ruyter, and the whole fleet (as well these that come from the Sound, as the others, which were ready here, in all 112 men of war) should immediately set sail for Margate Road, with design to take prizes (of which it was supposed this season, with such a surprize, would afford many and rich ones,) to block up the river, and to sink vessels at the two entrances into the Thames, that of the channel, and the other over the flats. Some objected, that such an attempt would disturb the treaty, but more believed, that it was the best way to advance it; and that those in England, who really wished peace, would be glad of it; and that such a strength from hence (to which it was propounded to send in a short time thirty five ships more, as fast as they could be made ready) would countenance all their agreements for peace. Thus it was left upon Monday night, but the next day monsieur Opdam informed the states, that the fleet was not victualled for such a design, most of the ships not having twenty days victuals left, some not eight days; and that they could not rely upon seasonable weather at this time of the year, to give them liberty to victual at sea, as was proposed by some, the several admirals here being at present well stored with biscuit and flesh. Whereupon (with the foulness of many of the ships) he informed, that there was a necessity the fleet should go into harbour to victual and clean.
These arguments (which were seconded by some of the sea-officers) prevailed with the states to lay the question aside, until the fleet should be visited; to which purpose monsieur Opdam was sent to the Texell on Wednesday, news being brought upon Tuesday night, that all the men of war were, without orders, gone into the Texell; and upon his report or return the question is to be resumed. Amsterdam was most for the going to the Thames; but if that be not thought fit, they moved, that a positive order should be made, that no merchant ships should go to sea until March, and that the like advice be sent unto all foreign parts to continue there until that time: 'tis believed the one or the other will be speedily ordered; but I think it cock-pit-lay it will be the last; and do believe the other was never intended really, but only pretended to countenance the present addresses to England. Some troops of horse, five I think, are marched to Maestricht, to fortify that place against the return of the Lorrainers, whom they here much apprehend; 1000 commanded foot are likewise ordered to go to the Busse, and the garrisons thereabouts, to be a reserve for any service as occasion shall be, under the command of the earl of Horne.
The report made by monsieur Keyser upon what he received from the king of Denmark in favour of the king of Scots, is under the examination of a committee; and so is the consideration of Middelton's propositions; but we expect nothing will be done in either. The commissioners are instructed to disperse a report under-hand, that those people will make a defensive league against England with France and Denmark, in case the English will not treat upon the thirty six articles, waving the three preliminaries ones and that other of the coalition, and that they will include the interest of the king of the Scots; but you are to give credit to nothing of it. The latter they will never do upon any thing that can happen for fear of the Orange party. That with France they neither will nor can do, except they should break with Spain, which they dare not, and the other alone will do them no good, Denmark being so awed with Sweden, that no assistance can be had from hence. Another of the ambassadors instructions is, to declare they cannot treat without including the king of Denmark's interest; but a peace with England is so necessary as to their very being, that they will forsake Denmark and all the world, and purchase it upon any terms. Friesland is entirely joyned with Holland, and more for a peace than that province. Guelderland and Zealand are now (their powder being spent) as quiet as their neighbours. In sum these people will now talk high to you; but if you continue firm to your own demands, they or any thing will be granted you in less than six months; for these people (they of power amongst them never signify any thing) are resolved (what face soever they put upon it) if you will not meet them half way, to come home to you. The French ambassador is expected here on Thursday next. I am sure, that the wiser sort here at the helm had rather he had stayed longer; howsoever do what he can, he will find a Rowland for his Oliver. This state fears not Spain, France, nor the empire all joined against them, so England and they have peace.
They hope to perswade you in the treaty out of the act of trade; but if you do yield to revoke it, these people will undoubtedly engross all the trade of Christendom; and thereby quietly become masters of the sea, and then England may expect the dregs of their malice; for, believe it, when they shall have power to do us mischief, they will not want will: without cautionary towns no peace you can make is worth any thing longer, than until these here shall have recovered breath. They publicly (in every boat) say, that the English cozened them in the beginning of this war by surprize; but if now in their necessities they could have a peace, they believe they shall be beforehand in the next; meaning that as soon as it shall be for their advantage, they will break any peace they shall in their necessities make. They know not what way to turn themselves to get money to continue the war; their credits are sunk; their cautors are all insolvent, allowed so by the placart, their customs small, and their excise far less than formerly. Yet for all this I should be glad of a good peace; but I would not have our country yield to an ill one.
A letter of intelligence from the Hague.
La reyne de Boëme en cette occasion a requis, que par les deputes de cest estat en Angleterre soit recommandé l'arrierage de son payement illec. Sur quoy est resolu avec grande precaution, qu'il se feront si & quand les deputes jugeront que cela se puisse faire aveq fruit; car autrement ils nuiront à leur propre negotiation, & ne profiteront rien à elle. Ces deputes allerent en mer de Ulissingue vendredy le 1 de Novemb. l'apresdisner en un des nouveaux navires de Zelande; le second navire est celuy de Jans Everts (autres n'y en a point,) le quel est venu icy, pour scavoir comment il ira en mer, ou en quelle qualité, car la Zeelande aveq lui pretendent, qu'à luy appartient le second rang apres Opdam; en quoy je voy qu'il n'y aura pas grande difficulté, puisque le S. d'Opdam va en mer en personne.
Avanthier vindrent lettres du vice admirl. de Witte, qu'il estoit arrivé à la veue de Tesfel, & qu'il pretendoit d'entrer, par ce qu'il asseuroit, que la flotte estoit à la fin de ses vivres, aucuns navires n'ayants que pour 3 jours, autres pour dix &c. & pour se faire revictuailler en mer, qu'en cette saison de l'hiver cela seroit & impracticable & tres dangereux; qu'aussy tous ses navires sans exception estoient sales & impropres à servir en mer, & que 6 en avoient besoin de nouveaux ventres. Sur cela sût assemblée sur l'instant en la nuit meme, & resolu, que ce nonobstant on luy rescriroit de demeurer en mer; & que pour cest effect le Sr. d'Opdam aussy iroit incontinent, comme il est allé vers Tessel, pour se mettre dans le navire Brederode, & retenir la flotte en mer, tant qu'il est possible, & ordre est envoyé pour le revictuaillement, & puis le desseing est de faire aller 30 navires vers le Riff de Schagen pour croisser dela vers Ulecker & les costes de Norweege pour accueillir les navires restants en Berge. Item autres venants de la mer Baltique, & le S. d'Opdam avec le reste croisera entre la Tessel & le Doggers sant. L'on eut peut etre mieux fait, si on avoit laisser entrer la flotte pour passer ainsy le temps pendant qu'on traitte en Angleterre (durant le quel la Hollande neveut pas irriter l'Angleterre par des bravades comme les royalistes desireroient) car on s'auroit excusé sur la necessité & sur l'avis du vice admiral même, la où à present la commune (inciteé par les royalistes) recommencera à dire, que l'on ne veut pas mordre, qu'à present on a une belle occasion (pendant que les Anglois sont hors de la mer) de bloqcuer la Tamise, & aider les montaignards; qu'au lieu de cela on ne fait que consumer l'argent mal à propos & sans fruit, en croisant entre le sant & Tessel. Et ces querulations s'augmenteront fort, en cas que les Anglois rentrent puissants en mer, qu'ils facent quelques prinses, mais sur tout en cas que la paix en Angleterre ne succede bientost.
Car specialement la Zeelande veut, qu'on pose un terme, dans le quel se doive finir cette negotiation de paix, & en icelle province le party du prince par les 4 villes est absolument maistre, & tiennent les villes Middleborgh & Ziericzee bas. Aussy le Conte (maintenant prince) Guillaume de Nassau vient derechef, & sera quelque temps icy; & cela fera revivre le discours & l'envie d'un cap. & lieut. general. Mais si la paix en Angleterre reussit bien, l'Hollande surmontera bien tout cela. L'Hollande a desja ratifié le traité de rescision, & elle se monstre fort studieuse pour obliger le Dennemarck, & l'encourager par bon & prompt fournissement du subside, asin de l'engager avec fa flotte contre les Anglois, en cas que la paix reussit point. Mais qu'aidera cela? Car à mêsme mesure on desobligera & on eloignera la Sweede, au resident de laquelle (demandant le libre traffiq & navigation sans etre visité ou arresté en mer) on donnera une nouvelle response negative.
Quant a la venue de la reine de Swede vers Gottenburg, cela est derechef changé: la reine de Swede n'y vient pas: ains demeure à Gottenburg, aussi le dessein n'a pas esté icy, ny peut estre de transporter aucune armée de devant Bremen vers d'Ecosse. Car il n'y a nulle armée devant Bremen. Vous sçaves bien, que les royalistes sont accoustumes de sabuler: le vray dessein de reine de Swede a esté de tout mieux avancer la navigation, &les convoys de Gottenburg vers Espagne France, item vers Conseil d'estat d'Anglet. item de donner jalousie a Denmark. Il vous plaira croire comme une verité, veritable que reine de Swede tres saschée de union, que Denmark & Estats General ont fait ensemble l'an 1649, & encore cest année, ne reposera pas qu'elle n'aye aussy fait alliance aveq conseil d'estat d'Anglet: pour contreballancer la force unie de Denmark & Estats General: & soyes asseuré que Estats General ont une jalousie tres grande de cela, & la crainte que reine de Swede aye intelligence avec Estats General contre conseil d'estat est ridiculeuse, & ne merite pas d'en parler.
Je ne scay pas aussi quel fabulateur aye dit ou escrit, qu'il y a des armée devant Bremen ou sur Weser: il n'y a pas un armée n'y dans Weser ny devant Bremen. Hamburgh est fort mal aveq Estats General croient que Hamburg soit tout à fait pour conseil d'estat d'Angle. & neantmoins Hamburg souffre de conseil d'estat.
Le S. Keyser a fait un traité de rescission, les points resultants de son verbal aures veu desja. Ce roy pretend, que cest estat le doibt indemniser touchant ces 23 navires Anglois detenus au Sundt. L'on espere, que les Anglois oublieront d'en demander satisfaction.
Les Estats Generaux ont declaré le S. de Witte pour seconde personne apres le S. d'Opdam, & commander la flotte, en cas qu'Opdam mouroit an mer. Cela fasche Jan Everts.
L'on croit, que pour cette tempeste du nort toute la flotte sera entrée. Je suis,
Ce 7 Novemb. 1653. [N. S.]
A letter from the Hague.
My dear heart,
Yours of the 20th October I had yesterday. The commissioners from hence there by the last post have given great assurances of your dispositions to peace; and tho' what they say be only to private friends, yet the states receive it for granted, that the most difficult or knotty part of the treaty is either laid by or agreed upon: having gained Cromwell they conclude the matter done, notwithstanding the multitude that is against it. I doubt me they are in the right, for if we mistake him not, he is deminus fac-totum. I should be glad my countrymen had such an advantageous and honourable a peace, as they fought for; but they will get no more than this state will give; for assure yourself, nothing will be granted prejudicial to the honour, trade, or allies; and how such a peace will recompence the money and blood England spent in this war against them, appears not to me, nor, I think, to any man of sense, that is disinterested. Besides, it is a great blow to the reputation of our arms, that a nation so often beaten, and that cannot six months hence find money to keep five ships at sea, should have a peace at their own rate. Sure the general knows not how poor and destitute they are; but these things are too mysterious for my brain; so I take my leave of them. All the consolation left me is the hope you give me of the law suit: if that could be revived, it were better than the frigat I intended to hazard my stock in; and the devil is in our adversary, if he cannot find out, that it is the securest way for him and his to make a friendly end with my mistress; and if he had known her, as I do, he would not certainly have been so wicked to keep her own from her, or so doubtful of her truth or good nature, as not to trust her with his life, as well as her own fortune. If this sickness you tell me your agent hath, should take him out of the world, I shall begin to fear the decree is irrecoverable. I pray for him very heartily, which I did not believe I should ever have done.
Our great news is, that all our great fleets, that were in the Sound and Norway, are safe in their harbours; which brings no small joy to the Hogens. That, which conducted them, which they reckon to be an hundred sail, hath order to keep the sea, with their new lord admiral Opdam, the errantest poltron living at land; but who knows how he'll be at sea, for he hath never been tried? It's said, he hath order to go home to you, and to stop your Thames. The cheerfulness, which he shewed, when he went hence to his fleet yet at the Texell, makes all here conclude, there will be a peace suddenly; but I hope my friend Monck will make him put on his ordinary countenance.
The French ambassador is upon his way hither, as we understand, to break the treaty with you; but I doubt me, he comes a day after the fair. Here it's believed, that France endeavoureth rather to be included than to break it; but this you know better than I. One word or two of it in your next will not be unnecessary. Here it's said, that Lambert is gone discontented to Yorkshire, and that many have quitted the council of state and parliament, no better satisfied with our general. Here the caveliers, especially the Scots, talk big of the rebellion in Scotland.
A letter of intelligence from Rotterdam.
De Witt convoyed home to the Texel upon Sunday last the East India ships, which were in the Sound, with 375 other merchantmen. Those of Norway were not with him, but found the way home alone within two days after the others.
They are of all sorts above ninety sail. Wittesen's fleet plied to and again two or three days, but now is all gone into the Texell, to victual and cleanse, and then have at the Thames with an hundred sail of lusty men of war.
A thousand commanded men under the count of Horne and five troops of horse are marched to Maestrich and the Busse, to secure those frontiers from Lorrain quartering. The Orange party here is quite down, and they only in power, who seek peace, which you may have upon your own conditions, if you insist upon them. Friesland is wholly gained, and Guelderland and Zealand will now take eggs for their money.
The ambassadors will at first talk big, but they will send them over new instructions, if you stand to it. They will rather than break give you the preliminary propositions, coalition and all. They cannot continue the war, but must, and will have peace upon any terms.
Monsieur Chanut the French ambassador set forth from Paris the first of October, and is expected to arrive here on Thursday. Great art is used to make you to apprehend that these people will join with Denmark, France, and the king of Scots in an offensive league, if this treaty break; but there is no ground for either, nor no more to be feared than the vain talking of their going to block up the Thames; but are only designs to frighten you, and both alike true. With France they neither will nor can join; Denmark cannot help them, nor indeed itself neither against Sweden; and for the king of Scots, they have not the least thoughts in any case to help him; though the treaty should break to-morrow, they will not nor dare not appear for him.
To Jongestall the Dutch ambassador in England.
During the time, that the states were assembled, there is nor was not any thing considerable resolved on. The first of this month their lordships received a ridiculous and contradictory letter from the vice-admiral de Witt, written the 24th of October about twelve miles from the Texell, in which he advertised, that he was safely arrived with the whole fleet of merchantmen, consisting of three hundred and eighty sail, representing with many ungrounded reasons, why he must come in with the fleet of war. He also signified, that the commander de Boer with fifteen men of war was come out of the Mediterranean Sea, and put in at Bergen in Norway by the three East India ships and twelve Straitsmen.
Whilst de Witt was upon the coast, their lordships debated how to dispose of the fleet; and at first it was propounded, that Opdam should convoy through the channel all the ships bound for the west and France, to fetch home the wines; and that being done, to return to the mouth of the river Thames, there to remain and act according to such order and advice as they should receive from time to time from their lordships or the respective admiralties; which was contradicted by the commissioners of Holland, who did advise for the calling in of some of the ships, as the English had done, since there was so good a likelihood of peace, and with which attempt they should offend the government of England. At last it was resolved, that the lord of Opdam should choose thirty ships out of the fleet, with the communication of the admiralty of Amsterdam, who should likewise appoint a commander over them, which should lye near Vleckeren between the Riff of Schagen and Norway, and wait for the coming home of the commander de Boer with his fleet; as also other ships, that shall come from any part, and shall likewise stay there for the coming of the four Swedish ships with great guns. There they shall remain till the 24th of this month, and that the lord admiral Opdam shall go to sea with the rest of the fleet. He hath taken his leave, and is gone to the Texell, where he will find the fleet to be come in, to the great disliking of their lordships, who would have had them to have stayed out a while longer. Their lordships have also appointed a day of thanksgiving for the safe arrival of their fleet.
De Bruyne to Vande Perre.
The resolution taken by the lords states of Zealand concerning the English negotiation is sent unto you, as I am told, by your son in law, and is in effect the same, which is concluded on by the generality, except that ours comprehended a limited time of treaty to be agreed on amongst the consederates; but having afterwards seen the reasons for the commission thereof, we have likewise waved the same. God direct the hearts of both sides to a peace.
There are no resolutions taken here since concerning that work, and what shall hereafter be taken, shall be sent unto you. In the mean time we shall rely upon the continuation of your care and diligence, and that you will weekly communicate all that passeth material for this state to know, and we shall act accordingly. It is much desired here, that for the navigation to the Caribbe Islands, you would do your utmost endeavour, which is highly recommended unto you.
To cardinal Mazarin.
It doth very much grieve me to see your merchants ruined from day to day; here are no less than three of your St. Malo ships, richly laden, brought into Plymouth; four or five from Newfoundland laden with fish; and one from the Canaries very richly laden; and yet no effectual course is taken to prevent the like disaster for the future. Do you not see, that the Hollanders have lost more in these twelve months wars against this nation, than ever they spent in all their wars with Spain? Besides, all that this state shall take from France will no ways lessen their pretences upon France, for their losses in the Streights, at Nantz, and other places, where they have been fain to buy justice, they say, if ever any was done them: no, no, they will tell you, that the wrongs done to their merchants by the French, did oblige them to encrease their naval fleet, to the end they might prevent them from doing of them further injuries; honour, equity, and justice, moving them thereunto. You will find me to be a small prophet at last. Have not I still advised you to make an agreement with this state in point of trade, and not suffer your merchants to be ruined, and your state impoverished?
I do advise your lordship once more, as a well wisher to your nation, forthwith to send over mons. Servien, as extraordinary ambassador, to compose your differences with this state. That being done, this state can have no just cause to do you more harm in six months, than the Spaniard and the prince of Condé have done you in twenty years. Fore-warned, forearmed: a word to the wise is enough.
A letter of intelligence from Paris.
You desire exact intelligence of the condition of the general peace of the league betwixt France and Holland; of R. Carolus's interest in either, and other secret counsels of this court or the English here.
It is certain if those things be had, it will cost you dear; and there will be danger in the acquisition. I shall with your other friend the b * * endeavour to comply with your desires, the best we can. It was once and lately resolved by the court of France, that Mr. Chanut should not go into Holland ambassador; but that in the treaty betwixt you and Holland, France should be comprehended; and to avoid jealousy Chanut was to be stopt; but upon some secret notice from Holland, and your closing too near to a peace by the means of the province of Holland, their counsels here again are charged, and Chanut employed to hinder and obstruct the peace betwixt that commonwealth and the Netherlands. I shall further enquire after this, and give you the best account of it. R. C. labours what he can in this matter, and what you have in my other letters of the Irish going into Scotland is really intended; of which I give you notice long since, and not to trust Mazarin, for all the letters and kindness past betwixt him and your lord general Cromwell; for he is not to be confided in, but whither his interest leads. Of the general peace here is nothing. I suppose at present, no man desires it more ore tenus than cardinal Mazarin; but I assure you it shall not be, if he can, because it is not his interest for many respects. Yesterday I have seen a letter come to my master from court, wherein is written, that cardinal Mazarin is resolved to break with you, and to recall thence mons. Bordeaux, and to sieze upon upon all your ships and goods in this kingdom; but I cannot well believe it, because mons. Bordeaux was by former counsels ordered to stay there to attend the negotiations of the Spanish and Holland ministers, till another were sent into his station more fit for the employment. Their counsels and resolutions here often change, which render so great uncertainties of the state of affairs here, and I am not able to follow the court for ten times as much as I receive to do your business.
O Sullevan Beara, (whom I mentioned to you often formerly) is now to have a commission from R. C. to Mortagh O Brian himself, and others, to command their forces in Ireland, and to act as R. C. or Ormond shall from time to time give order. But because Ormond is mentioned, some Irish here flight it, and say Ormond may cause their ruin; and that they will have nothing to do with him. Other Irish say, that God blinds their counsels, and that nothing will ever prosper, that is derived from R. C. or any of his, And were it not for transplantation and persecution, they would never look after him. That act of transplantation and persecution some here endeavour to translate into French, Italian, and Latin, and print them, that the world may see, &c.
The lord Inchiquin here pretends to such a command in this kingdom, as old Preston obtained; but some of the Irish clergy went to the pope's nuncio here, and procured his letters secretly to cardinal Mazarin against Inchiquin, as a murderer of priests, fryers, and such like; by which means it is to be doubted, if Inchiquin shall prevail. What else you have in the letter of occurrents, from at large, &c.
Mynheer Schoppe to the States General.
Illustious high and mighty lords,
Along with these presents are coming over a great part of the which this state, also some private cruizers have gained by the success, which the good God has been pleased to give them over eighteen Portuguese ships, on the 9th of June last past. I pray to the almighty God to convoy them further with safety to their desired port. By this opportunity my duty commands me, with most humble submission, to communicate to your high mightinesses in all possible brevity, the present condition, wherein we find ourselves since my last.
Passing by the state of our magazines and cash (the condition whereof I leave to the report of the court of regency) I go directly over to what I think more especially to be lest to my care, which is our military state, which doth decrease from day to day so considerably, that we hardly dare make a review, in order to get a true and perfect knowledge of the state of our forces, to the end that the enemy, by our daily directions, may not get informations of our weakness and daily diminution. 'Tis true, that of those recruits, which have been so long promised us, we have received once five, and another time twelve men, and half of them but mere boys, who are not fit to bear arms, and are of no use at all to us, tho' a charge to our magazines; so that we should have eased ourselves by sending back some of them by these ships, if the most pressing necessity did not oblige us to keep them. And altho' I have here before so oftentimes recommended, yet I cannot help repeating it again, that those gentlemen, who are commissioned to raise the recruits may be seriously charged, to look out for able men, and for such as are of a competent age, and not for a parcel of boys. I most humbly leave it to your high mightinesses own consideration, what one is able to do with such recruits; and altho' we have still expectation of the rest, yet the first, nay rather more of the old ones melt away, before the others arrive here; so that, if we won't see the utter ruin of our forces, there must be another regulation made in relation to the same.
We understand to our greatest grief the sad condition of our dear country, wherein she finds herself, by the war made and carried on against her by the English, which probably doth retard the supplies from Brasil; however I hope, that the same will not be entirely hindered thereby, and we thus be lest here a prey to our still more treacherous enemies, who are encouraged here, by the hope of a mighty fleet, which they expect. When we on the other hand, notwithstanding the hope which was given us of a good supply, find ourselves, at least as yet, in a very weak condition, which makes many of our soldiers take very dangerous courses. I will hope however, that their high mightinesses great wisdom and prudence will not cease to watch for the common welfare of our state (whereof this royal conquest is no inconsiderable part) and therefore, as well as the state of affairs will permit, assist us with the necessary supply of men, ships, and provisions.
The great and flattering hopes, which we put in the good success of the mines at Siara, we find likewise eclipsed; since the two young men, who by messieurs Trip are sent hither in the ship the Swanenburgh, have made already two assays of the minerals, which are already discovered, bat to no effect, and give their hopes for lost; so that we cannot think otherwise, than that they have not made use of the right minerals, or that they have not the right skill, or else (which however is not to be suspected) that they conceal the true state thereof from us.
The advocatus fisci Lemere, whom, by reason of what we have mentioned to your high mightinesses with due submission in our foregoing letters, we hitherto kept out of the council of war, has made again his demands to be admitted therein, which we have made a difficulty to agree to, having lest the decision to your high mightinesses; but neither he nor we have as yet received any orders on that account from your high mightinesses, how we are to act in this affair, so that we have put it of 'till we receive your high mightinesses resolution.
Here is also arrived the yacht called the Jacon, dispatched to us by the noble lords of the admiralty of Zealand, by whose orders, delivered to him by the said lords of the admiralty, we learn, that the same, together with one captain John Thys, was especially charged to be the convoy of two victualling vessels, designed for this place, which ships we have not yet seen to this very day, neither can the captain Ezigiels give us any account, what is become of them since he left the fleet of the lord admiral Tromp without having seen the said ships, which gives us great uneasiness, and makes us afraid, that the said vessels have met perhaps with some disaster, or that they are fallen into the hands of the enemy. However we hope, that in case your high mightinesses should have got any advice thereof, a speedy remedy will be found in this case.
And whereas, as abovesaid, we find our soldiers thus diminished, and that they daily
more and more decrease, so that the recruits that are expected, will be but of little service;
and whereas we have also among the small number of our soldiers so many, that have served
ten, twelve, nay even fourteen years, so that they grow almost desperate; therefore to enable us to relieve them in their just demands; it is my most humble request, in case your
high mightinesses find it to be of service, that the soldiers, which are designed for those men
of war, that are expected, (having served their time in these parts, and now returning into
their country) might be ordered on shore here, to serve still for some time longer at this
place; and that in their stead some old and worn-out soldiers may be ship'd off, whereby the
soldiery will find some relief, and service will be done to the state. Herewith,
High and mighty lords, &c.