A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 2, 1654. Originally published by Fletcher Gyles, London, 1742.
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September (1 of 5)
Mr. Longland, agent at Leghorn, to secretary Thurloe.
About fourteen dayes since I writ you, I had received a letter from one Mr. Bartholmew Harris, at Rom, a gentleman, that had bin imployed as private agent at the diet at Ratisbon by secretary Scot, for the state. This gentleman is now com hether: he seems to be of good abillity for the servis you desired at Rom. You may be fully informed how he behaved himself in the said imployment, and accordingly affourd me your approbation of sending him to Rom, wher he is very knowing, having lived ther about ten monthes. Your ful answer herunto be plesed imediatly to affourd me, because til then I shall keep the gentleman from going for Ingland; yet not to let him be ydle, I am sending him to Tollon (he being a perfect Frenchman) to know ther what that fleet will doe, now the duke of Guis is com thether; that if general Blak com into thes seas, he may hav good advys thereof. I hav directed him lykwys to giv you a continual account therof, and how to send his letters to you. The Spanish gallyes are still in this port. The Genowes affaires ar at a stand; they hope an ajustment with Spayn; but others doubt it. The pope is very sick, and will hardly escape. His death wil mak a great change of affaires in Itally. The warlik preparations in Naples goes stil on. The overthrow of the Spaniard before Arras has reduc't them very low. I am, honoured Sir,
A letter of intelligence.
The plague is very hot in Vienna, of which daily many do perish, as also very hot in many other places of Germany and Hungary. However the diet of Hungary is to begin the first of November, wherein shall be crowned the young archduke Leopold, king of Hungary, and soon after in that of Bohemia the like done, and all the convenient speed that may be for a new election of a king of the Romans.
His said majesty has commanded to give an assignation to prince Rupert Palatine of 30,000 rix-dollars, of a certain sum due to him since the treaty at Munster. The said prince Rupert besides folicits moneys for R. C. of which some part is paid, and more promised; the sume you had before.
The commissioners of Overyssel to the states general.
H. and M. Lords,
We have received your H. and M. L. letter of the 5/15th of this month, and thank you for your own interposition offered unto us for the accommodating of the differences and dissentions risen in this province, which are not yet so far proceeded; but that they may be decided amongst ourselves, without troubling our confederates.
A letter to Bordeaux, the French embassador in England.
The news brought us this day is, that Mons. de Turenne hath taken Quesnoy, a place not much considerable. Our army is near that place. If they undertake to lay down before any considerable place, the court will come to St. Quintin.
I found at my arrival here an English vessel laden with merchandizes, brought into the harbour; the goods belong to the Ostenders, according to the declaration or examination of the matter; and if the Ostenders will make use of the name of the English to colour their goods, and that the English will undertake to reclaim them for them, there is no reason, that letters of mark should be granted against those of Calais for doing of justice in confiscating the goods of Ostenders. This being a truth, I thought fit to inform you of the same, that so you may make some further use of it.
A letter of intelligence from the Hague.
Par les gazettes publiques & imprimées, ceux de Dennemare Pempereur, publient comme si le Suéde auroit traitté les ministres de Angleterre, & les estats généraux, fort incivilement; mais si le Suéde Pempereur l'Espagne faisoient une composition ensemble, dont le contenu feroit, que les estats généraux devroient rendre cela à l'Espagne, cela à l'empereur comme l'un & l'autre n'est pas fans prétension; & les ministres de Espagne Suéde Dennemarc venoient propiner cela à les estats généraux que jugés-vous, que les estats généraux disoient? Pensés-vous que la réponse feroit plus modeste? Car quant à ces fables, que les gazettes y ajoûtent, ce ne sont que des pures menteries, inventées par ceux de Dennemarc Je ne voy pas, comment le Suéde auroit pû fans honte & fans perte d'honneur parler autrement; car il n'a pas les fers aux pieds, que le conteil d'êtat en Angleterre ne le veulent pas assister: cela est une chose passable, chacun doit sçavoir son interêt. Mais quand on ménace de fraper, comme porte le concert du quatriem d'Août, comment pourroit le Suéde répondre sur cela plus modestement qu'elle n'a fait? Le conseil l'êstat sçait bien, quel cœur les Espagnols Danois l'empereur Brand. pr. d'Orange Poland leur portent, ce font les mêmes ennemis de le Suéde: quand il plaira neantmoins aider le Dennemarc l'empereur & contre le Suéde le Suéde doit faire comme il peut; mais je vous puis bien assûrer, que les estats généraux & les estats d'Hollande en seront surpris, & ne le pourront croire; & cela aura de facheuses suites. Il est bien certain, que tant la France, que d'autres princes & electeurs ont bien vû, que l'Allemagne retournoit en trouble, & le Suéde a bien preuvé, qu'on voudroit mettre toute cette charge sur les épaules de le Suéde Mais il a été plus sage, & pour ant il s'est logé, où il se peut maintenir. Mais si on veut, qu'il aille au-devant de l'empereur Espagne &c. il faut qu'il soit assuré par derriere; & autrement qu'avec du papier, qui sont toujours sujets à des élucidations. Je suis, Monsieur,
Vande Perre, to John de Bruyne, raedt-pensioner of Middleburgh.
I shall continue to give your lordship a particular account of all what passeth here weekly, and because I would not make this packet too big, lest it might be broken open, I shall add something else for you in another.
Lieutenant-colonel Lilbourn was sent to the Tower out of Newgate on sunday morning last between three and four in the morning, having a troop of horse to guard him. From thence he was carried the next day to the isle of Wight, or some other island belonging to this commonwealth. He is charged to have some conspiracy with some cavalier colonels, for the service of king Charles. Some of those colonels are also taken and sent to the Tower. Saturday last here were brought through this town three or four prisoners, which were carried through the town in triumph, and the monday following the captain; which are all of them lodged in a place called the Meuse, formerly the king's stables for his horses.
This post we received an order of their H. and M. L. concerning the assistance and the relief to be given to the poor prisoners, and to provide for their transport for the time to come; which we shall observe to the best advantage and service of the state.
An intercepted letter.
Most loving and faithfull brother in the Lord,
Meeting with our frends, the messengers of the gospel, &c. at Paules, where they sit, the evening after I parted from you, I founde them makeing some preparation and enteranc upon the worke they had to doe; and they there agreed, that the first bussiness they would proceed upon the nexte day, was to debate this question; viz. whether any, except messengers or elders, might lay on hands with prayer, in order to the receiveing the spiritt uppon baptized beleivers; which accordingly they proceeded in order to debate it, and, being there the nexte morninge, they ordered me to come in the eveninge for the result of that debate, when I coming about three of the clock, I found them upon another; for brother Lamb, brother Allen, and brother Morley being there, had offered them this question to be resolved; viz. whether the congregations under layinge on of handes might have communion together in breakinge of bread, &c. with those baptized congregations, that were not under it; which debate continued longe, and was greate untill within candle-lighting; but in the conclusion they resolved unanimously, that they might not in that; only they granted, that in prayer, &c. as occasionally any might fall in amongst'em, they might in that, butt not otherwise; and they that pressed the question, acknowledged themselves sweetly satisfyed. After which, they spake something in order to our going out as chaplains in the fleete, and these three things were offered; viz. whether that by reasone their questione, in order to layeing on of handes, was not resolved upon, it should not be the first thing debated on the second day in the morning, which was assented unto. Secondly, whether in case there were brethren in any shipp or shipps considerable for number, that there ought not to be elders chosen to take the care and oversight of them, as well as at the land, and so to walke together in doctrine, discipline, fellowship, breaking of bread, &c. And, thirdly, to consider of the pay allowed to the chaplaines, touchinge the lawfullnes: all which thinges were appointed to be spoken unto on the second day in the morninge, and to begin again and end at eleaven; and then to proceed upon the examination of the divideing the congregation of brother Lovday, and the rest of the supper-people. They, in refference to the former, desiered me to stay to take their results downe with me; but by reason of your pressing me so to com downe, I gave them to understand it, with brother Fisher, and brother Jefferies, and others, in consideration of the thinges however did engage me, presuming of your wel likeing of it, when you understand it, which is the reason you must stay. So to-morrow night-tyde, God permitting, I will be with you. I spake to brother Elspritz to exercise for me this day, and he promised me he would this morning. Mr. Bolton tooke up the ordnance, &c. Thuss, according to my duty, I thought good to certify you thus much in breife, with my deare love in the Lord to you, and rest
A letter of intelligence.
By this post I received nothing from you or any other. Our affairs here still alike. His holines, though weak, is found, but not altogether sure, by reason of his old age; yet, he says, he will for S. Martin, whereof d'Olimpia is princess; but many doubt of that voyage. Our vindemia begins with hopes of a prosperous earnest thereof.
Of Genoa, I have nothing to add since my last, Spain having prohibited all sort of commerce, and taken into the royal bank all the moneys and goods sequestred, which cannot be without an open breach, of which many are very glad, thinking thereby, I mean by the pillaging of the Genoese, to become rich. Many Italian venturers or voluntiers will from all parts of Italy thither, only the Spaniard will allow sacking or pillaging. From Naples, the companies of that battalion do appear daily at Naples, and as they come, are sent to the place of arms, as Sessa, &c. Be sure great preparations are at Naples, and do terrify those, that are guilty of the Spanish hindrance. All the carts and waggons are commanded to appear at Naples for the leading of the artillery, and other warlike necessaries. The third last, vessels departed from Naples, did disembark seven hundred foot at Barcelona. From Venice, Marco de Molino having suffered a great storm betwixt Corsu and Zante, returned from Candia, where he was general, to Venice, having lost sight of the vessel, wherein the general Foscoli was, by that tempest, of whom since no news were had. From Dalmatia news came, that the Turk did pass these mountains, and the Venetians fortified a new garison made above a great rock near Sebeinco, to secure that garison. The duke of Mantua is still at Venice.
Here by a true or feigned letter from Peronne, of the secretary of state of France, the Spaniards are troubled much; which letters do affirm the siege of Arras to have been disvanished, with the loss of all the foot, &c. Many wagers laid on both sides, and the letter was given to the printer. The truth we expect in few days. A Jesuit had a brave poem in the Roman college, praising the French king, that day being the day of his birth. Genoa expected horses from Piedmont for to mount some foot there, and commanded their named embassador for France and England to depart within six days upon pain or forfeiture of 3000 crowns. Some bad news came from Catalonia against the Spaniards, but suspected coming by Genoa. Just now I got the instructions left by Mons. de Valente to his successor here, of which you shall have an account per next. The Spanish army of Milanis near Trino, and the governor vigilant both here and there. This army is numerous, and of old valiant soldiers.
The work of the new church St. Agnes, in Piazza Navona, is going on both by night and day, and is brought to a pretty end, I mean of fine and curious work, made like a Rotunda. Here his holiness will have his sepulchre made. My love and service to all wellwisners of the lord protector, whose noble and vigilant care of his subjects may be example to all monarchs and states in their government.
Mr. John Leverett to the protector.
May it please your Highness,
Since my last, bearing date the fourth of July, I received a copy of your highness's additional instruction to major Robert Sedgwick, and myself, bearing date the first of May, which I received the thirtieth of July, under cover of a letter from the honourable commissioners of admiralty of the fourth of May; before which time the expedition against the Dutch, upon Hudson's river, was brought to an issue by the colonies declining the prosecution thereof, upon intelligence brought in by Mr. James Garrett, of the conclusion of peace, as by the abovesaid Mr. Gray I gave account more at large to your highness, and of the fleet putting forth forth for the harbour towards the French coast (commonly called the coast of Accada) upon the fourth of July; since which time, as a letter formerly, so by another this day received from major Robert Sedgwick, by a small ketch he sent to me, the Lord hath been very graciously manifesting himself in owning of him in his endeavours and undertakings, by the small numbers of (generally very vicious) soldiers, in owning of the English interest, and inlarging your highness's dominions in these western American parts, or rather the interest of the Lord Jesus, in removing so many of the locusts, as were crept in among the blind Indians, to deceive them, as elsewhere they have the nations; and thereby vindicated his own glorious name against the blasphemers of this deluding crew, who had given it out among the Indians, that the English were so and so valiant and victorious against the Dutch at sea; but that one Frenchman could beat ten Englishmen ashore; wherein the Lord hath most obviously befooled them; for that he hath not given them a heart to abide any one stroke, though their numbers, and other advantage, rationally advantageous enough. Major Sedgwick with the fleet first setting forth, they directed their course to the river and fort of St. John's, (as called by them) where God gave them to arrive about the fourteenth of July, and had it delivered to him the seventeenth; a strong fort, wherein were seventy fighting men, eighteen pieces of ordnance, one several busses, under the command of Mons. Latore. From thence, about the thirty-first of July, they set forth to Port-royal, about ten leagues distant from the fort of St. John's, where they had about a hundred and fifty men, within twenty as many as major Sedgwick could land, to bring against them, who had laid an ambush for other men between the place of their landing and the fort; who upon the fowler's approach, being about forty men, they in ambush fired upon them. Upon the alarm, our men fired and run in upon them, that they presently came to handy-blows, in which encounter God gave such spirit into the soldiers, and withdrew from them, that frequently they gave back, and took their heels to the fort, though double the number of our men, as my intelligence informs; and the resolution in our soldiers had its proportionable effect upon the rest, the Lord leaving them, that their hearts failed, and upon composition surrendered that fort also, wherein were eighteen pieces of ordnance, besides small stock-fowlers, and busses; also ammunition a good quantity for their full supply.
From thence having settled a garison of English, as before at St. John's, major Sedgwick failed with the fleet to Penobscote, a third hole, a place by them taken from the Plymouth men about eighteen years since, then a weak place; but now made very formal, and a strong fort, the which was delivered upon the second day of this instant; the which being settled, the major part with the fleet intends for Piscataqua, whose arrival I expect daily, for the taking in of masts and other lading provided; so that they may be dispatched home, and by them your highness may have more ample and particular account. In the last fort there was eight pieces of ordnance, and three smaller pieces well supplied with ammunitions.
Sir, the intelligence brought into these parts of the Lord's gracious working for your preservation, and disappointing the conspiracies of bloody-minded men against your highness, hath been thankfully acknowledged in the churches unto the Lord. The general court hath appointed the twentieth of this instant for a publick solemn thanksgiving to the Lord, for his gracious working for and with you; and this is certain, there is a general satisfaction in the hearts of good people, of the Lord's putting the government into your hands; and it is matter of trouble to them to hear, that there is so much dissatisfaction in many of God's people in England therewith, who have cause for God's owning and working with your highness, that he yet hath more service for you, to his own praise and his people's good; the which he in mercy effect in and by you, and for that end raise up your heart, that while you have both hands full of so weighty and difficult employment in government, you may have an eye of faith upon him, who hath the government upon his shoulders, which is the daily prayer of him, who is, Sir,
A letter of intelligence.
Monday last, general Koningsmark having made shew as if he intended to go over to Vegesack, and drawn a great part of the Bremers thither at night, the sun being set, took a quite contrary march; for having in an instant caused a bridge to be made over the water (the Hamme) he marched over it in the night, and so (though with great difficulty, by reason of the extreme deep and muddy ground, wherein several of his horses were smothered) to the no small admiration of the Bremers, notwithstanding their continual playing with their cannon out of the city, he passed without the loss of a man over the Maas. As soon as he had got over with about an hundred men, (the rest to follow one by one) the Bremers with a considerable number fell our, and placed themselves not far from the Swedes, but beyond a deep morass, where they could not come together, but only charged upon one another, until the Bremers (the Swedes growing stronger and stronger) were forced with the loss of a good many of their men to retreat towards the city. Soon after some troops of Bremish horse appearing, they were also convoyed by the Swedes to the very gates of their city, and about twenty of them killed. The Swedes are said to have lost but two men, a young officer called Breda, a man of special valour and courage, and one musquetier. Towards night the general placed himself in the next village to the city, commanding a brigade of horse for Vegesach, which place being of inconsiderable strength, will not be able to hold out long.
This unexpected and wonderful march hath put the city in a great fright and perplexity; which is much augmented by a letter from the emperor, wherein his majesty doth admonish them to make their composition as soon and good as they can; for that since the unhappy defeat of the Spanish army before Arras, he was not able to succour or protect them; which otherwise he did intend to have done with a considerable army, by the duke of Lorrain. This news being sent hither from Staade in print, was exposed to be sold by a fellow before the senate-house; but the senate, having notice thereof, sent two officers to take the copies from him, who refusing to deliver them, they gave him found blows, and took the news from him by force. This day the news was printed here; but the senate had no sooner notice thereof, but sent and suppressed all the copies, suffering none to be sold: which proceedings being come to the Swedish resident's ears, are very ill resented by him, as also by all the Swedish party there, judging it a special token of partiality in this city. Dantzick, 9. Sept. 1654. [N. S.]
A letter of intelligence.
I made no question but I should have received letters from you before this tyme, had it bin only a word to certifie me, that myne, which I have wroate weeckly, came safe to you. Sir, be pleased to take care to supplye mee with money, or I cannot prosecute your imployment; for I dare make no more use of my friend for creditt, and I hope my being here will be a good service to the commonwealth. I need saye no more to that. The lord Newborough hath gott letters from some of his friends, whoe write him, that whatever you saye, Middleton hath beaten Morgan; with a relation of a great victory: that general Monck was forc't to retreat into garrison, and Middleton with his partye raysing forces in Fyse and other parts. This is so confidently believed, though yet no express come from Holland to Ch. Stuart, that he is resolved to go for Scotland, so soone as he can conveniently gett awaye; wherefore there are pryvately messengers sending to severall places, to trye where he may best take shipping: he intends to steale awaye from his trayne. I dare saye, there are not four more knowe this besides myselfe. I have it from one, that is to be an actor in the busines, whereof Wilmot is chief. He intrusted him to bring him last out of Ingland, and now is to carry him for Scotland. There is one coll. Marmaduke Darcye, a North-country gentleman, intrusted also in this. I understand he shall goe by way of Rotterdam for Newcastle, to speake with some of their partye in that countrey, whether C. St. may not gett into Scotland that waye. You must give order in the North, to have all passengers strictly examined, that come from Holland, and a dilligent search into the letters the masters of the ships bring; for I knowe some of them to be knaves. I am not certaine, whether Darcy staye in those parts, or whether he goe for . . . . It would be a good service, to take him and his letters; he is a . . . . .
Wilmot is to goe to Hamborgh, and see what conveniency he can meett with there for his master; if he sayles there, to Denmark, or Bergen in Norway. This is all I have yet informed myselfe thereof; but hope by the next to give you more intelligence thereof. Wilmot was to have gone this week, but his journey is defer'd untill the next; the reason I knowe not, except his master intend to goe with him, or whether Darcye maye not endeavour to hyer a Scoch ship at Rotterdam to carry them hence. I have not one friend there I dare truste to looke after Darcye's action there. I will be carefull here to observe Ch. S. motions, and give you, or bringe you notice thereof with all possible speed. The lord Belcarres and the cavalier-partye doe not yet well agree. Creighton preach't the last Lord's day, and tould them, they intended the kinge no good, whoe made condition with them: Belcarres would not heare him. All their sermons are rayling against the protector, and advisinge their master to leave his sports, and goe to his loyall subjects now in armes for him. They certaynely belive the nexte summer to be in full possesion of Ingland. One of the grandees told me, how much his offices would bring him in yearly, which he questioned not but to receave the nexte yeare; for the present goverment could not stand. Thus they please themselves with phansies. There is yet no certayntye of their remove from hence. Some report, manie of the princes of Germany are cominge hether to salute C. S. Their money would be more welcome then their company; but that comes in slowly. I have no more worth your notice. I am
Yours of the 28th I received, but yet no bills, to my great grief, but I hope for them per next. As you write, you need not put me in mind to follow diligently my just motions; I assure I shall not fail in the least of them, to the peril of my life, and that itself, rather than fail you, since once I undertook this business.
Last week came hither landgrave van Hassia from Antwerp, after visiting the queen of Sweden, with whom they say he is in great favour. Thursday last he invited R. C. to hunt and hawk with greyhounds, hawks, &c. They went out about seven in the morning, and returned at four in the afternoon. They killed only four partridges, and one hare. That night the landgrave supped with R. C. and his sister at one table, with many others; the table full round. They were extream merry; R. C. drank the queen of Sweden's health to the landgrave: the health went round with many laughs and ceremonies; the most part of that night spent in mirth, singing, dancing, and drinking. I had the honour at all this to be present. Saturday last the landgrave went away, and 'tis here commonly said, the queen of Sweden is in love with R. C. which I do not believe.
Our lords and cavaliers here fall out one with another. The lord Wilmot and lord Newbourg fell out last day eagerly: they were to fight, but R. C. having notice of it, hinder'd their duel. The lord Wentworth and one major Boswel quarrell'd and knock'd one another last night, in the next room to R. C's bed-chamber: the one cannot endure the other; the wine makes them mad. There are such factions among them, as if the three kingdoms were all their own, and to be divided by them.
I hear Culpeper and one other were together by the ears last night also. It is thought they will not remove from hence till this month be ended; for till then their letters cannot be answered, nor their emissaries return; which is well for me: for if they go, I cannot go with them, till you furnish me. Which is all since my former could be gathered by,
Mr. Bradshaw, resident at Hamburgh, to secretary Thurloe.
This day I received your letter of the 25th August, in answer to myne of the fifteenth. The post haveinge failed, this ordinary course gives but little time for answering the particulers of your letter; nether truly doe I desire to insist upon any thinge, than to thanke you for the assurance you have given me, that whilst we remaine in the condition and relation we doe, you will take care, that nothinge on dishonour or inconvenience befall me. I know my adversaries will turne every stone to render me blacke, that they may estrange persons and relations, and gayne a good opinion of their proceedings against me: but I presume of the justice and lawfull favour of my master, and shall not doubt but you will consider what I have formerly writ, who they are that so actively seeke to obstruct my due vindication, which I professe to you, and before the almighty God, I have no other reason impulsinge me to desire, than only to wipe off the dishonour, which I find would otherwise fasten on me, and in me on my master, among straungers, should such a malignant faction, as appears plainly to have been set on foote by that traitor Waites in revenge, (of which I will give you the particulers hereafter, as I have lately discoverered them) carry it on without check.
I yet heare not of any letter come by this post from the court of the company at London, to those in present power here; nether can I guesse, how they may resolve among themselves to answer his highnes's commands concerning me: but I doe beleeve they will shuffle off the businesse to the end of the mart or quarter, that so it may be said Mr. Townley layd downe the place in course, to eclipse the vindication, if they cannot avoid it. When I shall be invested with the place of deputy, from which I was so unhand somely removed, I shall let the whole fellowship see, it was not the benefite of their place, which made me seeke for a sutable vindication for the indignitie offered me. I came not hether purposely to serve in that capacitie; if the company had not sought to me, I should never have undervalued my publique character in seekinge to them. I have their sufficient testimony of the service done them in the worst of tymes; which at the least deserved a fairer respect then of late a disaffected partie among them have afforded me, whom indeed nothing would serve as suitable to their revengfull spirits, but to put a scorne upon me: which is the reall truth, let Mr. Townly, or any that act for him and his partie, pretend what they will to the contrary. Were it not to trouble you, I could tell you, that the true reson of his becominge my enemy, which hereafter I shall doe, beinge well assured you will not approve of it. In the interim I hope and desire, you will not give creadit to the insinuations of any to my prejudice; but be pleased to accompt of me as one, that for my faithfullnesse to the state I serve, have derived the malice of its enemies upon me; neither will I deny but my unskilfullnesse in politicks, and love to plainenesse, may in some part have exposed me to envie. I have this day a letter from the gentleman you know, but not tyme, ere this poste departe, to unlock the character; onely in general, I find he is true to his truste, and that ere long I shall know the results of these councells, their junto beinge att their witts end. I beleeve ere long, if you can but bringe in a few more of those mountaineers, their grand master and his councell will shift their severall wayes from the place where they are. There's a strong report, that hee shall be spoken kinge of Hungaria, because he is of their religion; but the house of A. will have enough now to doe to looke to its other affaires. You will see by the inclosed paper, how the Sweades carry their businesse against Breme, and what else hath offered here since my last.
Sir, the mast-shipp was forst in agayne to this place in extreame foule weather, escapeinge very narrowly: I beleeve he is still at the river's mouth, wayting for a wynde. It is here sayd, that Mrs. Towneley is an active solicitress at court for her husband and his party. If she stretch not beyond the truth, I shall never blame her zeale for such friends. I am much beholden to you for refusinge the question, till I be in statu quo; and then if they have a mynd to be further troublesome, I know none will wave their answeringe, knowinge full well, that nothinge hath been writ but will be proved, if that be required; I meane, that hath come to my knowledge; and somewhat more they may inforce to be discovered, if they have a mind to pull an old house on their heads: but I presume they will be wiser, and take up whilst there is tyme. I have yet said nothinge but what hath been openly acted, and what I could not avoyd, except I would injure myselfe; nether shall I be willingly drawne to be further troublesome to my freindes in such a pettit businesse.
Bordeaux, the French embassador in England, to the count de Brienne.
The postscript in my last letter will without doubt have given you to understand some advancement in my negotiation. Two of my commissioners have told me on the behalf of the lord protector, that the sitting of the parliament drawing nigh, he was resolved to put an end to our treaty, for fear lest the domestic affairs would not afford time to apply to foreign affairs; and that his highness perceiving, that the arbitration of the province of Holland made the chiefest difficulty, to remove that, and to follow the offer, which I had made of referring it to the states general, his said highness did propose unto me their 3 embassadors. I did approve very much of that choice, as persons able, and very honest, and well-minded, and affected to our accommodation: but I did give to understand, since that they could not accept of that without the consent of their superiors, and likewise, that one of them made an accompt to be going home very suddenly, therefore to go to work with more solidity, it would be most requisite to refer the business to the states general, who without doubt would authorize them, if we gave in no exception against them.
Several other arguments I used to persuade them from this proposition. I told them, that it would help to increase more the jealousy of the said provinces; and at last I did declare unto them, that it was but loss of time to insist any longer upon the arbitrage of the province of Holland alone, unless the other six might be joined with them; and that if the lord protector had a mind to agree, there were other arbitrators enough to be found, designing Venice, the Switzers, or the Hamburghers. We parted without concluding any thing; and the next day the same commissioners came to me again, and we debated the whole business over and over. Amongst the rest we insisted a good while about that of the rebels. They do pretend the same ought to pass conformable to their last writing, without exception of any of the contents in the memorandum, which was given me. Many contestations passed between us.
My lord, you promised me to let me know his majesty's intentions, how far I may safely venture to engage before-hand: the commissioners are to bring me an answer tomorrow; I could wish I had his majesty's resolutions. This day the parliament sat, and yesterday the members met in Westminster-hall; from thence went to hear a sermon, which was prepared for them. His highness went very modestly cloathed and attended to the parliament: general Lambert carried the sword before him in the painted chamber, where they all met, and there his highness made a speech to them of three hours, which was to this effect, That they ought to acknowledge the mercies and graces, which God hath shewn to this nation, giving them peace and tranquillity at home and abroad, after so many changes. He spoke against the Levellers, Independents, and Anabaptists, making it to appear, that the one and the other, under pretence of establishing one intire equality, and to persuade the people, that the time of the fifth monarchy was come, did only labour and intend thereby the establishment of their own greatness. And after that he had admonished them of having a care of such men, and that they should not believe, that Christ would come and reign bodily here on earth, but in the hearts, he afterwards spake of the purity of religion, and of these, that are persecuted for their religion, pointing at those of Germany and Austria, who were driven out of their countries, and forced to beg their living amongst other nations. This point was prosecuted with an exaggeration of foreign wars and treaties of peace, which have been lately made with Holland, Denmark, Portugal, where liberty of conscience is established, and Sweden, although the king of France had a minister there; giving to understand, that he had, as it were, loosened this last crown from our interest, yet however they did offer presently to conclude a treaty with his embassadors; and that there was great cause of giving God thanks, that France, which seemed to be the most powerful, should seek the amity of England. He did not speak of Spain, but did point at it, how that he had demanded liberty of conscience, and suppression of the inquisition, without having any other answer given him, than that it was to ask the right eye of them; and ending this matter in demonstrating, that England had nothing to fear but from France, Sweden, and Denmark; and that these three states not being able to undertake any thing without the states general, this commonwealth had great cause to maintain and to hinder, that the faction of the prince of Orange do not suppress the liberty. At last he fell upon the confidence, which the enemies of this nation had discovered would take place in their body. He did declare unto them, that they were assembled for the weightiest affairs, which England ever had, or will have the like again hereafter. He did assure them, he would not meddle with their liberties; and that he would not act as a superior, or lord, but as a servant, in the account of so great a work. He ended in exhorting them, not to imitate the children of Israel, when they rather desired to eat the onions of Egypt, than to pursue their journey. He prayed God to bless them, and then presently he withdrew, and came back by water to White-hall.
Then the commoners withdrew likewise into the house of commons, where they proposed to choose a speaker. Some propounded the old speaker; others him, who was president of the council for the high court of justice for the king, who is altogether an enemy to this government. Some would have them to cast lots; others again to change every month; at last the old speaker was chosen, upon the instance of the commissioners, with whom I treat ordinarily, and another of the council. By this beginning one may judge, what the authority of the lord protector will be in this parliament. However, it was observed, that as often as he spoke in his speech of liberty and religion, that the members did seem to rejoice with acclamations of joy. This lasted from ten o'clock in the morning, till five in the afternoon; and at their parting one of my gentlemen met with one of my commissioners, who did declare unto him, that I should hardly be dispatched from to-morrow: and likewise the discourse of the lord protector doth demonstrate, that he did not speak of any treaty as concluded. I am not assured, that he hath not given any answer to the proposition, whereof my last letters gave advice; and if there be any sincerity in his speech, we must not believe, that this commonwealth will have any league with the house of Austria. 14. Sept. 1654. [N. S.]
Sir Benjamin Wright to secretary Thurloe.
My laste unto your honour was of the nineteenth of August, accuseinge a former of the fifth; both which I hope wil be come to your handes before this. The notice therof I shall be glad to receive, in regard of ther contentes, and to be honour'd with your commandes.
The French, with ther army in Catalunia, hath acted notheinge of importance since my laste. They lye within three leagues of Girona, pilligeinge and destroying the countrey, as a letter I have from thence of the sixth of August reporteth. It seeme they expect ther sea-fleete from Toulon, the which came upon the coaste of Catalunia; but our fleete in Barcelona, haveinge notice thereof, went to fight them: but the French instantly fled without fighteing, and our fleete pursued them to Toulon, and stayed two daye before the porte; but seeinge they would not come out, our fleete retorned to Barcelona. It is much admired, that the French army (beinge, as it is reported, much more numerous then ours) doth attempt notheinge all this while. Heere is a murmureing, as yf they might have some secrett intelligence with those of Barcelona. This yeere I beleeve they will doe little more then what they have done; the which is not much. Niewes came hether four daies since, that cardinal de Retz in France, haveinge escaped out of prison, was come to San Sevastian in Biscay incognito, and wil be suddenly heere. In this court hapned some dayes since an accident, of which I thought good to give your honor notice, for what it may procure in time, and is; The marquis de Canete, a nobleman of great quallitie, had some wordes with the gentleman of his horse and his lacayes in his owne house, that provoked him to drawe his sword to chastise them; and so did they against him; and the gentleman of his horse, as it is said, killed him; but others say, that it was one of the lacayes, who fled to the church, and the other was taken prisoner, and condemned to be strangled, and his hand cutt of. This man pretended to have orders of the church: whereupon the vicar of Madrid demanded him; but the judges refused to give him; soe the vicario excommunicated them. The pleyto was carried to the consexo real, who declared, that the vicario did force; upon which the judges proceeded and carried the man to the place of execution; the which obliges the cardinall Moscoso archbishop of Toledo to goe to the kinge, to desire, that the sentence might be suspended for four dayes, untill better profes might be made. His majestie graunted his request; and his eminencie douteinge the man might be executed, before he could make his majestie's pleasure knowne to the judges, he gave his cardinal's cap to a bishope, that was with him, to make haste to hinder the execution of the sentence. The man beinge upon the scafold, the people and some priestes seeinge the bishop comeinge in greate haste, cryed out, Pardone! Pardone! Whereupon some priestes gott up to the scafold, and violently tooke away the man, and put him into the bishop's coach, and carried him to the cardinal's house. The consexo instantly assembled at the presidente's, and determined to sett guardas about the cardinall's house, that the man might not be conveyed away, as they did; and the next morninge entred and tooke away the condemned man, and caused the sentence to be executed in the markett-place, as he was; and since the consexo proceeded against the cardinall, and have notified his eminencie severall times, to goe out of Madrid; but he hath answered, that the consexo hath no authoritye over him, and therefore as yett he hath not obeyed: but the consexo still insisteth; and yf they doe oblige him to leave Madrid, as it is beleeved they will, it may cause some great alteration in this kingdom; for the clergie is altogether for the cardinall, and have proffered him great summes of money to prosecute the buisines at Rome, whether he hath dispatched too postes, and the kinge other too; and in case they will force him from hence, he telleth them, that he will then goe out of the towne, accordinge to his pontificall. Six dayes since came hether niewes, that the French had beaten the Spanyards from before Arras, and killed them many men, and taken all their ordinance and baggage; but it would not be beleived, beinge so bad for us, untill yesterday, that there came a poste with confirmation thereof, whereat wee are heere mightily dejected, as indeed we may wel be, yf your losse of men, &c. be so greate, as it is reported to be, all Flanders is in greate danger to be loste. It is said, that the French had intelligence with the Lorreneses and the Irish that served under them, who gave them entrance in ther quarters, for a greate summe of moneye, that the cardinal Mazarini gave them, otherwayes it had bin impossible to have beaten us out of our trenches. And to make this niewes the more sensible unto us, yesterday came in letters from Cadiz, advizeinge, that the Turkes had taken the frigate, that went from Cadiz for Dunquerque, with the six hundred duckets, that in my last I advised your honour this kinge sente for Flandres, of the monies that was come from the Indias; and besides the kinge's monies, there went for the account of particular persons above eight hundred ducketts, as it is sayd. God graunt that this niewes proveth false! By this your honor will see how all thinges heere are governed. To bring a million from the Indias, they send twenty ships of warr, and adventure it in one friggatt from Spaigne for Flanders, beinge subject to meet with manie enimies; soe that yf his highnesse doth not assiste them, they are in a very desperate case. I hope, that I shall be so happie as to receive suddenly advize from your honor of the receite of my former letters, and your commandes to continue writeinge unto you; the which I should doe with lesse feare, yf I might be secured from the danger I am subject unto, yf my letters should fall into these peoples handes; whereof I beseech your honor to consider, and of the injustice this kinge doth me, by haveinge taken from me, now seven yeeres since, so great an estate, as in my laste I advised your honor; the which keepeth me here out of my native country, pretendinge for satisfaction: but I have little hopes to get any, unlesse his highnesse would be pleased to protect the justice of my cause, as I hope he will, yf your honor will vouchsalfe to mediate for me.
A letter of intelligence.
The king and cardinal go to St. Germain's for some days, to return very speedily, and afterwards will go to la Fere, to be near the army. The duke of Lorrain is reported to have escaped, and gone to Portugal in a Capuchin's habit; of which news was sent from this court to the duke of Orleans. We are like to continue contented with our great victory, and this winter encamp or quarter in Flanders. Here is news, that your lord protector raiseth twenty thousand men de novo; to what design, is variously spoken of.
General Fleetwood to secretary Thurloe.
I Lately received a letter by general Moncke; by which, as also by yours, I understand, the partie sent hence into Scotland should remaine there this winter; which came so late to my hands, that I cannot well releeve them by other companies, though the uncomfortablenes of the place, and the want of conveniencies, might have required it. I am glad you mention, that provisions are making for them in England, because general Moncke writ to me about it, and we can never well provide them with biskett, cheese, nor butter convenient for them. I shall therefore desire you will doe me favour by the nexte poste a particular of what provisions are making them in England, from whence they shall be sent, and when readie; that so I might the better provide for them accordingly with what att present or for the future they shall want. The season of the yeare growes on apace, to send what is intended, or else those seas will be too troublesome to come at them after six weekes, or two moneths. I likewise desire to know, whether they are to have their pay from hence, or from England; but if they are to be paid out of the Irish treasury, I thinke they are better to be paid from hence. Wee are thorough mercy in a quiett condition, though some parts are troubled with Tories; and more we must expect, when harvest is gott in. I presume you will heare a report of some speeches spoken by some against the present government: the wordes are absolutely denied, and you shall have suddainly a full accompt thereof from
Col. Richard Overton to secretary Thurloe.
I suppose I should not much mistake myselfe, if I should more then suppose, that there will be attempts and endeavours by persons of great ability and interest against the government, as now it is: but for my parte, I shall seeke my owne quiett and the publick peace, and be glad I may be an instrument in the prevention of disturbance. I may happely be capable of doing some considerable service therein, as may fall in my way; and I assure you, I shall be very readie to doe it, if it may find but your acceptance. If it doe, I humbly pray the favour of your notice, when and where I may best waite upon you, and have some discourse about the busines, and to receive your directions and commands therein. Sir, craving your pardon for this presumption, and with all due acknowledgment of other favours I formerly received from you, I shall still remaine