A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 3, December 1654 - August 1655. Originally published by Fletcher Gyles, London, 1742.
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February (2 of 3)
Queries for his highness to answer to his own conscience.
There is some intelligence abroad, which I desire to communicate in a private way, left I become a prey to the malice or envy of the ramping lion. The matter is this: it seems your highness being discoursing with a Scotish lord, who is called the lord Tweedale, you were pleased to say, that there was something amiss in the church and state, which you would reform as soon as may be: of those that were amiss in state, some were done, and the rest were a doing: and as for those things that were amiss in the church, you hoped to rectify by degrees, as opportunity presented itself; but before you could do this work, the anabaptists must be taken out of the army, and this you could not do with sharp corrosive medicines, but it must be done by degrees. From which there are two things observable: 1. The work. 2. The way you intend to do this work.
The work is churchwork. You intend to follow the steps of them that are gone before; which could not be content to meddle with state-affairs, and to make laws for the body or persons of men, but for the conscience too; and to make laws and statutes, and impose them on the people as rules of divine worship. And this is the work you intend to be at, under pretence of correcting error, and so to destroy truth. But who could have thought this, when you made your last speech to the parliament? when your tongue was so sweetly tip'd for the liberty of conscience, reproving the parliament for having a singer in their brother's conscience ? Who could have imagined, that then heard you, you would have been at the same trade, unless he had supposed, a fountain could send forth sweet water and bitter?
The way you intend to take to bring about this design is twofold: 1. To purge the army of the anabaptists. 2. To do it by degrees. But, O Oliver, is this thy design? And is this the way to be rid of the anabaptists? And is this the reason, because they hinder the reforming the things amiss in the church? I confess, they have been enemies to the presbyterian church; and so were you, when you were at Dunbar in Scotland, or at least you seemed to be so by your words and actions; for you spake as pure independency as any of us all then, and made this an argument why we should fight stoutly, because we had the prayers of the independent and baptised churches.
So highly did you seem to love the anabaptists then, that you did not only invite them into the army, but entertain them in your family; but it seems, the case is altered. But do not deceive yourself, nor let the priests deceive you; for the anabaptists are men that will not be shuffled out of their birthrights, as freeborn people of England. And have they not filled your towns, your cities, your provinces, your castles, your navies, your tents, your armies, except that which went to the West-Indies, which prospers so well? Your court, your very council is not free; only we have left your temples for yourself to worship in. So that I believe it will be a hard thing to root them out, although you tell the Scotish lord, you will do it by degrees, as he reports.
3. Whether the anabaptists are not to be commended for their integrity, which had rather keep faith and a good conscience, although it may lose them their employment, than to keep their employment with the loss of both?
5. Whether, if the anabaptists had the power in their hands, and were as able to cast you out, as you were them, and they did intend it to you, as you do to them, whether your highness would not say they were all knaves ?
8. Whether the monies laid out in the making of new rivers and ponds at Hampton Court might not have been better bestowed in paying the publick faith, or the anabaptists arrears before their dismission ?
13. Whether our liberty doth not wholly depend upon your will and the will of a future protector, seeing the instrument of government is so little useful ? If so, whether our condition be not as bad as ever ?
14. Whether it will not be more abominable to the anabaptists or independents, or mr. Biddle, or any other prosessing faith in God by Jesus Christ, and are not disturbers of the civil peace, nor turn their liberty into licentiousness, to suffer for their conscience under your government, that promised liberty to such, than it was to have suffered under the king that promised them none ?
15. Whether you will not appear a dreadful apostate and fearful dissembler, if you suffer persecution to fall upon the anabaptists or independents, or them of mr. Biddle's judgment, seeing you promised equal liberty to all ?
20. Whether you did not tell a shameful untruth to the last parliament, saying, that you did not know of their dissolving, that is to say, the little parliament, till they came to deliver up their power to you ?
21. Whether you did not put a slur upon the lord Lambert, when he should have gone lord lieutenant of Ireland, in telling the parliament, it savoured too much of monarchy; and so sent Fleetwood with a lower title ?
22. Whether you do not intend to put another slur upon the lord Lambert, in sending for the lord deputy to come into England, to make him generalissimo of the armies in England, Scotland, and Ireland ?
My humble request is, that you will seriously consider of these few lines; and take heed of casting away old friends for new acquaintance, as Rehoboam did, 1 Reg. xii. 8. who forsook the counsel of his good old friends, and consulted with his young courtiers; which caused the ten tribes to revolt from him.
And as it is a deadly sign of a speedy ruin, when a prince or a state casts off the interest of the people of God, as you may see in 2 Chron. xxiv. 17. how Joash forsook the people and house of God, and then his host fell before a few Assyrians, as you may see x. 24. and at last his own servants conspired against him, and slew him.
And therefore, O Cromwell, leave off this wicked design, to cast off the interest of the people of God, and let my counsel be acceptable to thee. Break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquity by shewing mercy to the poor, and it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity; for it is not strength united with policy, but righteousness accompanied with strength, that must keep alive your interest with God and the people: and when both these die, that is to say, righteousness and sincerity, then adieu to thy greatness here, and thy eternal happiness hereafter.
An intercepted letter.
It is affliction to the misery to bee deprived of youre company; for which I may justly blame my rashnes; but men in my condision are too often to hasty, for which I crave both youers and all my friends pardon; but out of that evell, I prayse my God, good hath accrued; for that now haith given mee an opportunity to dooe that, which before I could not. This bearer, my singular good frind, can tell you what hapioned yesternight to mee, which I forbere to right, desiring you to give him credense, for I asure you, you may doe it without anie danger.
I have agreed with him for your relese; and if the monie can be procured, that formerly was named, I shall bee set free without ports. Good sur, consider my sad condision, for I have noe friend to speke to but youreselfe, and none that I can rely upone in the world for this but youreselfe. I am confident, you will doe your utermost; but be plesed to informe mee by your hand and none other. Youre answere, if hee cannot have answer now, set the time and plase. By what he shall tell you, you will perceive they intend to macke short work with mee, and try mee at a court marshall for inteligense. Wee must not expect justis, for I am informed by verie good frinds, they are resolut against mee.
The leter they found, and the character thay say I wrote, for that buusnes, the armes found, and to or 3 casleles, which was bought. The minors you ned not to feare, and things in that you say or right non to mee; so that I can by your menes; but all thinges must bee in redines. I pray you send mee five pound by hime, for I want. It must bee considered, whether that I shall gooe, when out here, for the present, untill the hubub bee over. They swere they will have all out mee for the litell I informed them, that I knoe it all, for thay swere to hange mee. Life is sweete: noe one will die, if possibell to prevent it. Yet I hope that God will inabell mee to quit myselfe licke an honest man. Good sur, anser these rude lines to
Mr. Bradshaw, resident at Hamburg, to the protector.
May it please your highnesse,
Were I not enforced to it by the unreasonablenesse of a disaffected party in the English company here, I should judge myselfe utterly inexcusable for thus frequently interruptinge your highnes weighty affaires. Since I humbly accompted to your highnes by my addresse of the 9th of the last moneth, inclosed to mr. secretary Thurloe, in what manner your gratious letter to this company was entertained by that party, I am informed they have presented a petition or paper to your highnes, desireinge to come to their justification, pretendinge their persons and actions have been misrepresented by me and the well affected here; and to that end their leadinge man, and indeed the great disturber of the companie's peace, and the cheefe affronter of your highnes servant, one Francis Townley (beinge as it should seeme thereto advised by his abettinge freinds to prevent his being sent for by your highnes to answer his contempts) is gone hence for England, to endeavour with those of his faction their vindication. I am sorrie they constraine me to be thus trouble some; but I hope your highnes goodness will pardon it, and please to looke upon the inclosed narratives of said Townley's deportment with those his cheefe associates and sticklers for him, and that partie, every particular whereof shall be fully proved, with many other passages of like nature, which are here omitted.
I most humbly beg that your highnes will please to order me a copy of their petition or paper exhibited, which some of that party here say containes a charge against me and the well affected, together with a special commission to examine witnesses, that I may make it appeare, that I have not wronged them in any my informations or complaints, nor that I presumed soe often to trouble your highness but by their insolent enforcement.
Prayinge the Almightie still to blast the designes of your highnes's enemies, which by what
I this day remit mr. secretary Thurloe, are advanceinge and ripeninge to some notable action, I humbly crave leave to subscribe myselfe
Hamburg, Feb. 13, 1654. Your highness most humble and faithfull servant, Richard Bradshaw.
Mr. Bradshaw, resident at Hamburg, to secretary Thurloe.
The inclosed will accompt to you the service the gentleman doth you where he is I shall expect your orders concerneinge the person he hath gained. In the meane tyme to beget a relish, I shall, as is desired, take care by the very next opportunity to remit him 10 or 12 l. and by my letter encourage him to the service. By this night's post I hint soe much to monsieur Von Berg, and signify your order now received concerneinge him. If you shall thinke fitt to order said Von Berg to the service, in which he conceives he may be most usefull (and truly I doubt hee cannot longe be hid there) and engage the other to continue there, till things be more fully discovered, imparting to me what can be gained, I conceive it may in that way advantage most. This weeke there hath past many strangers here. At one tyme there sate up in the wagons with the Denmarke post 14 all mussled in capps, that not one of them could be knowne. Though 194 may probably have influenc't the designe lately discovered, and by giveinge it fourth to have a considerable party there for him hee may thincke to engage strangers to him; yet methincks the way they seeme to take for effectinge their designe carryes noe great probabillity in it. I shall doe the best I can to discover more of it, and as I finde, give notice from post to post. From other hands I am allsoe informed, that for certaine 194 is very active, and hath great hopes, notwithstandinge his highness knowes of the plot, to carry it on, but forewarned is forearmed, as I trust you are to receive them. I shall pray God to detect and frustrate your enemies, and use the utmost of my endeavours towards it, ever remayneinge, sir,
Hamburg, Feb. 13, 1654.
Your most humble servant,
From hence to Cullen is 4 dayes postage, and goes theither twice a weeke. I am sorie mr. Benson should deale soe with his freinds, but I hope you will take it into consideration, how in honnour I stand engaged to mr. Acton by my recommendation of him, as he was recommended to me by mr. Scot of the councell.
Capt. George Bishop to Secretary Thurloe.
I am very apprehensive of the immediate danger the interest of the commonwealth and of the honest people in this citty are in at this present, through some designe of the enemy very nere breakeing forth, and which to withstand wee are in noe capacity; nor is the garrison in a condition to repulse a round salve from a valiant enemy. Through some men's false representations, and the jealousies which usually accompany such times as these, those whoe formerly were heer, throughout all our warrs, the happy instruments of this citty's safety and the parts farr aboute, are utterly disenabled either to search out, withstand, or destroy any attempts against either; and the ill-affected heightned beyond expression, and ready to act any mischeife, the Lord shall permitt them, without any controule or opposition. And hereupon I am much trobled to consider, what a sad advantage may suddenly bee made of such a place as this, even to furnish an army with armes, ammunition, men, mony, and other provisions of warr, besides the reputation of a city of this consequence, full of trade, shipps, people, and riches. I am very wary in the least to hiperbolize in things of this nature; and I am as cautious, how I conceale any thing, that may concerne the publique safety, however it may be understood. The countenances of men have the same aspect as formerly wee have experienced in such minutes as these; and wee see many strangers, seemingly of quallity, comeing into the towne, and walking our streets. The last night upon the occasion of the funerall of the lady Newton came in about 300 horse, amongst whom were many cavileers, whoe endeavoured to put out the lights, that were holden out by people, as they came in; and this day severall straingers of all forts wee have seen wearing green ribbons in their hatts; alsoe some men with scarves about their necks, and shoes on their armes came into the city; and my selfe observed severall this evening, whom I judged to be horsemen. The truth is, they may doe here what they please, unlesse some supplies come timely to us; but wee expect the storme every minute. I have endeavored to find out, if any working bee heere, though I must tell you, the discountenance wee have received makes every thing difficult, if not impossible. The interest and power of your old friend is quite lost and overthrowne. In time you will find, whether they are friendes or no that have given occasion. If I can find out any thing, you shall understand it. Heretofore, when wee had the countenance and reputation of the state, wee were blessed both with discovery and prevention; but now what the Lord will enable us to doe, wee know not; or whether in a few howers wee shall continue our beings. I suppose you have already intimations of Massy's being lately in these parts, and his goeing towards Gloucester, and of one conceived to bee the duke of York on thursday at Marsfield. Therefore I shall mention nothing therin further, nor of any other occurrences at this time; desireing your excuse for these intimations, which in much hast out of love I have trobled you withall. I remayne
Mr. Longland, agent at Leghorn, to Secretary Thurloe.
This week is com for Genoa, this place, and Civita Vechia (the pope's port) at left 30 sail of Duch ships, with whom Ruyter's com for convoy, and tis certainly reported by that nation, that theyr states hav sent abroad to cal hom al theyr ships of war, as if they had som great bisnes in hand. Thes Itallians talk much, as if the Duch wer to join with the Spanyard. I hav had advys from Genoa, that the duke of Infantado a Spanyard has latly bin ther in his way to Millan, and much courted that state to a close frendship with Spayn, which althoh they hav bin most terribly abus'd, yet much of them hav such greate estates in that king's dominions, that they must per force assist him, and a couple of great Genowes ships, the one cald the Maribot, the other the St. George, ar now (under pretence of lading merchants goods for Lisbon) taking in armes and munition for Spayn, wherof, if any occasion presents, I shal giv general Blak notis, who may hapilly meet them going for Cales. 'Tis lykwys reported for certain, that the state of Genoa does now lend vast sums of mony to the Spanyard, without which he wer not able this spring to make any appearance. I hav seen a letter writ from Rom by a good hand, that the pope should say, the church would shortly be necessitated to sel her chalices, to maintayn her purple, except Cristian princes would join their forces together against the Lutherans. The Spanish Naples fleet coms not back againe for Naples, as was reported, but is gon to Cales, wher they continue to arm and unyt al their sea forces together. I am lykwys credibly informed, that the Duch marchants ships in thes seas ar resolved to entertain the Spanish servis in a sieming forct way, who putting in 200 or 300 soldiors upon them may mak them good men of war. In such a case a dozen good Inglish marchant ships may be taken up in thes parts lykwys to strengthen general Blak's fleet; for here will be many good ships, which wil be glad of the imploy. The pope is raising 6000 foot to strengthen his borders against the Modanes, whos duk is now upon his return, being made the king of France's generall for Itally. I latly drew upon you 6901. being what I had disburst by your order for his hyhnes horses bouht at Naples, which I humbly desyre you to order its payment to mr. Geo. Smith, as I hope you hav don the former 501. paid mr. Bayly, which comply'd with wil mak me capable of serving you, and perpetually obliege
The Spanish embassadors to the protector.
Most serene sir,
It is now allmost four weeks since wee made the propositions to your hyghnes contained in the paper wee left with you in the pryvate audience your highnes was pleased to grant us; and they beeing of condition, that to bee put in execution it depends uppon the brevity of tyme, wee have solicited your answear to them dyvers tymes, and desyring still to have it, wee have thought fitt to have recourse to your hyghnes yourself, and request you to be pleased, that it may be given us without farther delay; since, besydes what wee alledge, I the marques of Lede, cannot delay my returne to Flanders any longer tyme, then what is necessary to know your highnes intention; the command and charges I beare there, and the necessity of my presence to discharge myne obligation, and accomplish the king my master's orders, obligeing mee to hasten my departure hence. God Almighty keep the most serene person of your hyghnes.
The Secretary of the Spanish embassadors to secretary Thurloe.
Having acquainted my lord ambassador with your honour's paper, he hath commanded me to give you thankes for your favour in offering to come at ten of the clock upon saturday morning at his house, where his excellency will be ready to receive your honour. I remaine, sir,
Estevan Gamarra to Alon. de Cardenas, the Spanish embassador in England.
I have received your letter of the 19th. This state hath appointed commissioners to treat with me upon the points, which I propounded in my last audience. We have not yet begun through the absence of the pensionary of Holland, who is one of my commissioners. The states of Holland are called together against the 8th of the next month. In the mean time I wish you happiness; and shall continue to give you an account of my proceedings from time to time.
The information of John Bendish in the said county, gent. taken upon oath, Feb. 16, Norf. 1654, before John Pell and Edmund Cremer, esqrs; justices of the peace for the said county.
Who faith, that about a fortnight before Christmas last past, he this informant being in company with one William Cobbe of Castle-rising, gent. at the house, of one John Osborne of King's Linn poulterer, upon conference with one Ediny Barlyclorne, by whom (as he hath informed this informant) the said William Cobbe hath had 2 bastards, he this informant (after the said Ediny her complaint, how he had wronged her in that kind, and some other ways) did hear the said William Cobbe say, is that such a great matter to have a bastard, for my lord protector's eldest son hath had a bastard, and he must hold up his hand at the bar for it ? And this informant farther faith, that upon the 20th day of January last past he this informant going to speak with the said mr. Cobbe in Castlerising aforesaid, where he was at the house of 3 popish maids, living in the farm of the said William Cobbe in Castle-rising aforesaid, he the said William Cobbe did then and there say, that this is the 20th day of January, and before the 20th day of March next he the said William Cobbe did look to see my lord protector hanged. And at another time a little before Christmas last past, he the said informant coming with the said William Cobbe from the town of Lynn aforesaid, did hear the said William Cobbe (he having then a but toned cap on his head) say, that he hoped to wear the said buttoned cap longer then my lord protector should live; for he was a brewer, and made choice of no gentlemen, but brewers, and such as were journeymen justices like himself; and did use other reproachful speeches about the turning out of the last parliament.
The information of Bevis Makeham of Castle-rising, cordwainer, and now one of the constables of the said town, taken upon oath Feb. 16, 1654, before John Pell and Edm. Cremer, esqrs; justices of the peace for the said county.
Who faith, that about the third day of January last past, when as the said justices had a meeting concerning the tythes substracted by one William Cobbe of Castlerising, gent. from the now incumbent William Calvert, and rector of the said town of Castle-rising; he this informant being in company with the said William Cobbe, did then and there hear the said William Cobbe (after some abuses of this informant concerning his office) declare, that it was he the said William Cobbe, that did say, that there were journeymen justices in the other room, and wished him to go in, and tell the said justices (then and there sitting) so much; and that he would maintain it and prove it.
The information of William Lacy of North-Wotton in the said county of Norfolk, taken the day and year abovementioned, before the said justices.
Who faith, that about the 23d day of December last past, one William Cobbe of Castle-rising, gent. coming into the house of this informant, and amongst his railing discourses against the said Edm. Cremer, one of the justices abovementioned, he the said William Cobbe did then and there say, that one mr. Calvert (now rector and incumbent in the parish of Castle-rising aforesaid) must get some more journeymen justices, than the said mr. Pell and the said mr. Cremer, for they would soon be tired.
The examination of William Cobbe of Castle-rising in the said county, gent. taken February 18, 1654, before John Pell and Edm. Cremer, justices of the peace for the said county.
Who faith, as concerning the information given by John Bendish of Rogdon, gent. against the said William Cobbe, he the said William Cobbe doth utterly deny all and every the particulars charged against him to be true.
And he also further faith, that the informations of Bevis Makeham of Castle-rising; as also the information of William Lacy of North-Wotton abovementioned, as to his the said William Cobbe his intentions, to be utterly false.
A letter of information to secretary Thurloe.
Yesterday 1000 declarations were directed to be brought for my friend to the house of one Stevens a Taylor in Black-friers, a man of whome I have made much use, in order to discover what I thought might be for the service of his highnes and the commonwealth; and he hath bin and may be still very usefull to that end. He is now gone into Leicestershire and Warwickshire, to observe what is doing by the . . . of . . . and the rest thereabouts, whereof I shall have a true account, and your selfe from me. I pray be pleased to give such order, that Stevens may not be apprehended att his returne, nor the goods kept from him, if any where in his house, because it would much hinder my endeavours and hopes of doing you service. I would undertake, that if you would speake with him att any time, that he shall waite uppon you.
Extract of an intercepted letter.
It is reported the king of Spayne is at Cadiz fitting his Armado in hast, and getting souldiers downe, as if he would follow gen. Pen; but doe beleeve cannot gett any considerable strength; and besydes G. Blake is come downe agayne, I beleeve to wayte on their motions.
Copy of a letter from Argier to mr. Richard Casson.
My last was of the 15th of January 1655. by mr. William Cooke, and the divan sent also to my lord protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland. I sent to you concerning all particulars. Five days since I was before the divan and the king about Englishmen, that were taken by the Turks in strangers vessels, and after examination known to be Englishmen, and born in London, they gave them free to us, and desired of me news from England. So I told them, England was a great way off, and it was a thing impossible for to get an answer not yet this month, of which they were satisfied, and desired me to write home to England to the states for to have an answer. So having no friend in London, I desire you, that you would do me that favour, as to direct this my letter to the right owner, and presently after the receipt of this you would go to mr. Thomas Bromfield; for I directed my letter to him to have it closed up, and set the superscription on it after it was sealed, for I am unacquainted with any of the commissioners of the navy, and I shall remain an obliged servant to you in any service you shall command me. For your unkle's goods it is all as it was, not one farthing lost, but remains in my hands, and in the house. Three days since I was before the king, and he used me very courteously, and told me, he did hope to see a consul settled in Argier, as hath been formerly; and for the preservation of the peace they are all agreed upon it, and will not be the occasion of breaking it; but faith they have a firm league with the English, and do hope to enjoy it to the world's end. So said all the divan. I desire your answer as soon as possibly you can concerning your uncle's goods. So having nothing else at present, rest
Mr. J. Berkenhead to secretary Thurloe.
May it please your honor,
I Shall forbeare to trouble you with the time of our shippinge, or what happened in our voyage, onely this great truth, which we cannot omitt, that neer men had a better passage hitherto (blessed bee his holy name, who hath thereby given us as it were an earnest of what he intends us in our future successes) and not only soe, but hath-hitherto soe preserved us in our health, that our voyage lost us not 20 men, that we can heare of; nor are we subject to diseases as we yet find; but every day as we stay, we find ourselves fitter for the country; and for my owne part, I must ingeniously acknowledge, that for the climat wee are in, would as willingly live in it as that of my nativity, excepting that natural love, that every one hath to that, which brought him forth. We tooke shipping that day we hold to be our Saviour's birth-day, and on the 28th of January our rear admirall's squadron came into the Barbados harbour, which went a weeke at least away before us from Portsmouth; and on the 29th we being the generall's squadron came in likewise; but being somewhat late before we came in, we staid till the morrow before we landed; which we no sooner did but our generall with the rest of the commanders sell hot to worke, spareing nor paines nor service, but forthwith tooke care for the quartering of our souldiers, and raysing our men in the island, where they are very well entertained, though some of the planters being of malignant spiritts (as indeed most of them are) signifie their follyes in venting their calumnious words against not onely the designe, but the powers by which we come, and the parties employed in it; for which like words one Evans a islander and leveller was called to a court martial, from whence he made his appeale to the civill magistrate; and after the busines being debated by our commanders, they appointed certain persons of the island to sitt upon him by a commission of oyer and terminer, and have onely adjudged him (since the treason could not handsomly be made out) to stand on the pillory the next market day for an houre, and six months imprisonment after. We had at our landing two disorderly persons, who beinge drunk quarrelled one with the other, and almost destroyed themselves; for which offences and several others our court martiall have provided soe regularly and carefully, that thos of most suspected principles for such kind of actions are now become very orthodox and subject to discipline, so that I hope a short time will render us fitter for our employments then was by some supposed. On Tuesday February 6, our generall and commissioners went abord generall Pen, where they continued till night, and theire made instructions for captain Butler, one of our five commissioners, lieutenant colonell Holdup and captain Blagge of the Marston Moore frigat commissioners, who were to goe to the Leeward islands at St. Christopher's and to raise men there; and that night being sitted with instructions set sayle, but what they have done as yet we heare not. On friday February 9, we kept a solemn day of humiliation, and next day fell to our busines, every one in his own sphere. We found the islanders to come in something chearefully, they being free men, but not of meane estates; but the rich planters, except some few, endeavour all they can to dishearten the men from goeinge. Yet for lacke of our shipps, which hath some of our men in (as the great Charity, &c.) armes, ammunition, and other necessaries, we are something disheartened, the islanders either concealing what they have, or being not able to afford a quarter armes for our men: and we came so badly armed from England, that we often (and I am sure I speak within compasse) are not armed with such as Englishmen use to fight with; and in the meane time we lye still, eatinge up the island, and our shipps eatinge up their provisions; soe that had we not had some good fortune by taking some Dutch prizes, who contrary to the articles of peace betwixt the two nations made here, we might have been at a losse. Nevertheless our officers and souldiers are highly bent upon action, and wish to be gonne with such armes they have, our generall's care being soe much, that he hath provided great numbers of half pikes, though at a larger length then ordinary, for they are ten foote long; many of them (which may cause your wonder) are made of cabadge-stalks; I mean of the trees in Barbados, which bear cabages, and this for lack of better wood. They are not all handsome, nor will they long be serviceable, but such as our necessities will admit to furnish ourselves with. Indeed our general hath scarce time for his natural rest, being all day with the commissioners; and when risen, much of the night after he spends with the army-officers, soe that we can at present but looke upon him with pitty, though blessed be God his strength continues firme, his resolution high, and his spiritts active and chearful, giving great satisfaction both to officers and souldiers. Nor is there any faction at all amongst us, every one hitherto shewing himselfe a faithful souldier and a true Englishman; but we have lately found the devill's endeavours to have his chapel amongst us, which we shall teare up by the roots; for I have made a discovery of certain papists in our armie, to the number of one hundred and fifty, which came out of England, and most of the regiments which came out of the Tower, which were raised in hast, and put into colonell Butler's. Besides there are certain Irish papists, which were listed in this island since our coming, which we are now purging ourselves of. We have likewise in our fleet many (as I am credibly informed) anabaptists that doe in their speeches justisie admiral Lawson's late actings, that he was questioned for, and especially one captain Newbury of the Portland frigat, who denyes the Trinity, and are so violent in prosecuting their way of worship and their owne opinions, that they come on shore, and make proselites, and get soe many of theire owne sort into into the army, as they can; as particularly one captain Martiall, whos company is most of the late proselites raised in this island, and himself likewise. There are certaine companies also, who have many of them in; and whether this be designe or no, you may by this enclosed judge theire practice of theire church in England, this being a letter found amongst captain Newbury's papers, and directed to him. The fleet can spare us a handsom proportion of armes (such as they are) but not near sufficient, since our regiments neare, if not fully compleated, which you will see more at large by the musters, and I doe thinke never musters were more truly made then now. We have likewise a very gallant Regiment of sea men, consisting of 1080 men, all gallantly armed, and for the time indifferently well exercised. The colonell is vice-admiral Goodson, the lieutenant colonell captain Benjamin Blake of the Gloucester frigatt, the major captain Blagg of the Marston-Moore, and thes with the rest of the officers and souldiers are very unanimous for our land service, captain Kirby of the Beare petitioning he might be one to goe on shore; all which I hope will prove very effectual, since theire officers useth so much care and pains with them. As for our regiments, they are exercised regimentally two days in the week, onely colonell Morris his regiment, which cannot have the like conveniency of meeting, for that it consists of planters, and therefore as yet live at theire owne dwellings. Colonell Morris himself is not very chearful in the designe, and the reason I know not, unlesse he be over entreated by his wife, who hath (as their . . . .) been very importunate with him to leave the voyage; but since I heare for certaine, that he demands a great sume of monies to pay his debts with, which our generall in justice cannot grant. He is some hundreds sterling indebted to the state, which would be forgiven him; but that he hoalds not satisfactory; for whereas the island is indebted to his highnes, he would have so much out of that, as may amount to his demanded sum, alledging that the island will demand nothing for quartering our soldiers; which carries so much (in my judgment) of injustice in it, that I dare say our commissioners will never grant it, for it's conceived when accounts are cast up of what this island owes his highnes, and what we have indamaged them, at a certain rate by quarter, there will be little or no difference. Indeed the gentleman is very well approved of, and questionless very fit for this designe, and very faithful to our interest; but how farr his wife may prevaile with him, by ingaging him to ask such things as cannot be granted, I shall not say, though she be observed to be very powerful and younge. I must confess our general is very ready to answer his request in what justice will admit of, but to pay twelve hundred pounds sterling is much. In colonell Butler's regiment there hath been divers quarrels amongst the officers, though taken up by the collonel. Their affections are various, and a disaffection generally, which makes me to think of the number of papists in his regiment, that that may worke this disaffection. Indeed the gentleman himself is stout, loves applause and flattery; and if there be any persons, that would seeme to disrelish our general proceedings, something he hath to say on their behalfs, and all the reason I could ever find, he judgeth himself the elder collonel. Now would envy or malice imploy their chiefest agents, I am confident they must destroy themselves in speaking against our generall, he is so justly and temperatly discreet and active, so conscionably just and careful to relieve the oppressed, that truly we are thereby (if possible it could be) in a greater tye of duty to his highnes for making such a rich provision for us in him; for he lays his shoulders so much to the work in hand, that we are sometimes afraid, left he overturn himself; for his rest is hardly 4 hours most nights. And for our major generall, he hath, God knows, payd already very deare for his voyage, having both on ship board and on shoar most pitiful fits of the stone; but we hope it is over, though his pain was great, yet would he in spite thereof be acting. And for collonel Fortescue, his careful temper is such, that none knows him in our armie, fleet, or island, but honour him. His regiment at present is upwards of a thousand. And truely collonel Carter, I can say no lesse of him, and cannot but eye providence in giving us such godly examples as our greatest officers are. Our ministers are likewise very able, nor doe they spare any paines in their callinge. We have had lately a tryal, which hath given us a further tast of our general's religion and justice; to wit, a man brought from other parts a certain number of Indian Christian protestants, and haveing found them faithful in his life, at his death he left them all freemen. But the intollerable basenes of this island is such in that point, that they rather strive to keepe their slaves in ignorance, thereby thinking to make them hopelesse of freedom; nor make they any conscience at all of killinge their slaves, doggs and they being in one ranke with them. But let me not digresse; for on the behalfe of these Indians there was an honest man, that appeared and prosecuted on their behalfes, finding after our coming a free course of justice (the lack of which was complained of before, and I doubt too truely) and upon a full heareing of the busines, the Indian Christians were set free, after they had all been destroyed by oppression except five. It would greeve your heart to talke with the nigor slaves in the island, and especially with thos that are most ingenious, with whom I have had some discourse; and asking them, whether they know God, they sayd noe. I asked them, whither they went when they died; they said to the ground, and noe whither else. So that observe they are absolute atheists, worshipping nothing, being taken off their owne naturall superstitious worshipps. I asked them, why they would not be Christians ? They sayd, they could get no body to teach them. I asked them, whether they were willing to learne ? They said, with all their hearts, which I must confess strucke me to the heart. Here's in the island one collonel Moodiford and mr. Nowell, secretary to the island's affairs, who are hugely distasted by this island; for that they two, as the islanders say, did invite our forces over hither, which our islanders are generally against. I have here inclosed a list of the prises taken before and since our coming. I must now returne my real acknowledgment of thos high and unmerited favours I have received from your honour as well formerly as at present; for according to your honour's desire and assurance of me of the scoutmaister's place, it is now performed, and I have my commission; for which in yours to him, which I suppose wil be by the next, I humbly beg your thanks to him. I further beg your favour in commanding some of your servants to send what foraigne but especially Spanish intelligence you thinke fit; and what instructions further than what you have already given me, they shall be fully observed by him, who desires no longer to live than he is,
May it please your honour,
your honour's in all humility and faithfulnes devoted,
The examination of Ellen Aske.
That mr. Rogers told her, that one Rachel or Abigal—that lives about the Tower, is very intimate with a gentleman, that waits constantly on his highness, and usually at his elbow, when he is in his chair at dinner, that publishes all he hears or knows to be done in his highness's family to the said Rachel or Abigal.
That mr. Aske, now in the Elizabeth of London at Gravesend, who is conceived to be sent away to-morrow, hath a list of the names of all those, that subscribed for the raising of horse against his highness and this present government.
The said mr. Aske only named major general Harrison, Rogers, Feake, and one that was a commander in some great place, that should have been the commander in chief, but he could not remember his name, nor the names of many others.
Many other particulars she told me of horses, that were bought for that purpose, and to be lodged in the town, to be put in execution by way of surprize; but I could not find any thing more to fix you any person either by name or place; but insisted much upon the list, which mr. Aske hath.
A Letter of Ellen Askee.
Mr. R. Nelson,
May it please your workshipe to acquaint his highnes, that in consence bond I hould my selfe to be faithfull to the commonwealth of England; and though I once was, as I confes, in my carnall condition, I was for the king's party, and did for many yeres together know of the greate designes of wicked men, and am able to discover many of my lord's deedly and destructive enemyes, and those that latly upon a fast day in London did gather together in a place that I can discover, because then there present, and did there most strangly rayle against his highnes, and said the plage of God confound him, calling him round-heded doge, I would I had his flesh between my teeth, and much more as bade; if my lord be pleased but to employ me in freedome to give in the names of those, that did soe say, and one of them said, now hee is gone to pray, lett us goe charge and bind him.
Furder, I have harde of a secrett plot of many, who resolve to have a runing army against my lord his hignes for blood, and have, as I understand, horses bought redy for that purpose, and my frinde, and I hope faithfull man to my lord, Isaac Welles doath know the man. Tho' I consave he be now not there, yet if my lord will grante me libertie, I shall be faithfull upon my life to discover his name to my lord, if he shall be pleased but to grante me libertie to speake with himselfe; but I am afraid to speak to any in the world but him or your worship; upon which if my lord will employ Isaac Welles to goe to the partie, which I consave can descover very much of this greate plott, which doath I feare drawe nere to be executed by a people called a 5 monirchy peopll, and that there is a gentillwoman, who did tell me, that that worke would not be accomplished, untill she went, for she should be one of them, that should pull him downe, or helpe downe with him, was the word saide. Whereas I am afraide to speake with any but my lord or your worshipp; the reson of it is, because there are in my lord's house or thereunto belonging them, that doe declare to mr. Rodgeres and soe to mr. Pheake and oatheres, what allmost soever is spoken in my lord's one house. I being not longe since a herer of John Rodgeres did understand much, and had allmost bine destroyed or swalowed up with delusions, that my lord was not a man that stoode for truth and peace.
Capt. George Bishope to secretary Thurloe.
Such was the dangerous condition of this place, in reference to the publique, that I could not but give you some account thereof the last post, though in much haste and rudeness. In the same posture wee continue, thoogh att present quiett, yett every houre expecting a very great storme to fall, unless the Lord hath pleased to dash their designes, of which, nor how thinges are, have wee any account; not a letter from any coming this post to the officers of the garrison, or to my selfe, or other friends.
You might perhaps thinke mee too affectionate in what I represented of danger here; but knew you this citty, and the parts aboute it, and how easily in a very few daies an army of 20000 horse and foote might bee raised and furnished with all thinges, and in what a preparedness, without any thing to make any considerable resistance, the hearts of men are to serve such a designe, you would as much hasten to secure it as any citty in England, except London, and bee more forward therunto then any here to desire you.
The towne hath still many strangers in it, whom wee have cause much to suspect. The green ribbons with an eye of white appeare still in manie of their hatts; but the more considerable sort appeare little but at night, since the mayor and aldermen on thursday in the afternoon sent the constables (whoe are many of them malignants) to see what strangers were in publique houses, an intimation sufficient to make them abscond. The last night an honest person overheard two gallants say to each other, what should wee care for a few souldiers, since thou knowest wee have 500 ready ? They now shist quarters, and the meaner sort appeare with swords, they wearing none at first; and when at night any lights come by, some, whoe seem to bee of quallity, they pull their hatts over their eies, and soe have been observed.
Though the port hath had his highness order to stopp suspicious persons, yet within two or three dayes some Irish rebells, whoe have been at Spayn, and returned, were permitted to depart for Ireland. It is now more strickt, and noe doubt manie dangerous persons haveinge recourse hither, upon discovery made of their designes, might (upon this stopp) bee secured, were there here a force sufficient, the garrison being soe weake, that it dares not attempt it, least the multitude flie out, and all be endangered. Whilst contrivances are, and matter for designes you will see it much conduceing to safetie, that soe considerable a place as this as to all thinges bee in a constant condition of security; and those, whoe otherwise represent it, you'l find them at long run (perhaps when it is too late) noe friends to the publique. Pardon my plainess, and this trouble, which I could not omitt out of my affections to the comonwealth. I am,
Mr. Nelson to secretary Thurloe.
I Intended to have waited on you my selfe by 6 in the morninge, but findinge, that my servant Isaac Welles did speake with you soe happilie this lord's day, I have sent by him the inclosed examination of mrs. Aske, with the letter sent to me. Sir, I desire to let you know, that he is faithfull, and if he may be serviceable to his highnesse or yourselfe in this or any thinge else, sir, I beseech you comand him or me to the uttermost power of.
Mr. John Pell and mr. Edmund Cremer to secretary Thurloe.
We having received late informations upon oath, that William Cobb of Castle-rising in the county of Norfolk, gent. hath uttered divers scandalous speeches, tending to the subversion of the government now established in this commonwealth, and this coming to our knowledge in this juncture of time, when eminent dangers have been discovered that threaten generall ruin, if not prevented; we thought it our duties to secure the party delinquent in the castle of Norwich, and render an account by the first post to his highness and his councell of our doings therein. In pursuance whereof we have taken upon us the boldness to present you with a true copy of the said informations, humbly beseeching you, that his highness and councell may have intelligence thereof and of our proceedings therein; and that you would vouchsafe to communicate unto us their censure of our actions, with directions, what further service, they will be pleased to command us therein.
This is all at present, but the tender of our humble duties to his highness and his
honorable council, with our praiers to God for the continuance of the peace and welfare
of this commonwealth, which the utmost of our powers shall be endeavoured to be performed by
Feb. 18, 1654.
Sir Robert Stone to secretary Thurloe.
I heare thay ar in towne, but Moris my owld servant will not see me, nor dede hee the laste time he was in towne, which made me suspect him, heringe Norwoode was claped up, and the Litiltons. Where they lie, hee would not say to the partie that towld mee. I beleeve will indeavour to speake with those in prison. If I ware att libertie, I mak no doubght but to here of them; howeever I shall doe my beste by reson hee is so active. Moris said, being asked, whie his master changed his name, beecause his other was odious; which is all att present from
Mr. G. Forsington to the protector.
May it please your highnes,
This day early in the morneinge I came into Salisbury, where I mett apartie of horse, which come from Winsor by your highnes commaund, and after some discourse which I and a quartermaster which comaunded them had, our meetinge here fell out to be one and the same busines; uppon which we went unto the postmaster's house, and haveing mett with him, we directed our discourse concerninge coll. Sacksbey, in which we tooke him aparte, and told him the sadd consequence, which would follow, if he knew where he were, and would deny him; but could not gett any acknowledgment from him, that he knew where he was, or had hard from him a long tyme; soe that he is gone backe to Winsor with that partie of horse, according to your highnes order. I am informed by some of the inhabitants of this cittie, that it would be convenient for some horse to be quartered hereabouts, for there hath byn some, which have not byn ashamed to shew themselves in young Tarquin's cullours, and alsoe here hath byn several declarations scattered upp and downe theise parts (as I am informed by creditable and honest persons.) The tendencie thereof is to exausperate the spiritts of the people against your highnesse and your preceedings. But I humbly conceave and judge this thing rather to be relicts of major Wildman's familie. I have made it my endeavours since my comeing forth to try the spirits of the people as to theise present tymes, and I must confesse really, I have not mett any that I have found dissatisfied either with your person or with your proceedings; for all the seare that is uppon the spirits of the generallitie of the people, is, that if God deale otherwise then well with you, whether or noe they may ever enjoye the like; for theire great feare was, that your highnes would lay heavy burthens on them as by way of tax; but now that they see there is noe such thing intended, but to levy that 60000 l. a moneth, they goe on very chearfully to the rayseing of that in theise parts, and I find the people very well contented to pay it, and doe pray it may never be raysed higher. I intend my jorney, God willing, from hence to Marleboroughe, where I intend to have some discourse with major Butler, and alsoe to inquire out for one mr. Cox, whoe liveth in that towne; the which I am informed by a very creditable person of good repute in this cittie, that he hard from Cox his owne mouth, that he should speake with coll. Sacksbey in Somersetsheire, and that coll. Sacksbey should tell this Cox, that there was to have byn a riseinge in Somersetsheire; and that he hard there should be a partie of horse sent downe from your highnes, for the suppressing of them, and should have byn in Salisbury saterday last to quarter there. I thinke it may be convenient, that your highnes send downe an order by the next post to me, that in case I should meete with him in my jorney, I might have sufficient power for the apprehendinge of him. This beinge uppon my thoughts at present, I comend you to the protection of the allmightie, and remayne
Confession of Thomas Frere.
A letter to Bordeaux, the French embassador in England.
The hopes of seeing you here are soon changed; and the news, which you send me in yours of the 22d of the last month, doth cause me to believe, that your business will not be done so soon as you expected, since your island doth dispose itself to become suddenly the theatre of the new and dreadful revolutions. As for the commotions of France, they never happen but once in an age; and if you will recall your memory upon our histories, you will find this to be a truth; but England is not so stable and constant; and one might say of it, with more justice than what Tacitus speaketh of the Frenchmen, quietis impatiens, novorum avida; and I do not admire at the presages of those novelties and commotions in that island, and at this conjuncture, the government of that state being put upon them by their force and violence; and it is impossible it can subsist without some notable change and revolution.
Mr. Thomas Wilson to secretary Thurloe.
Your's I received this evening, as also that dated upon saturday last, and am very much troubled (and have beene ever since the receipt of your's upon the Lord's day) at Wright's being released, especially considering that perticular bloudy designe you mention.
Sir, I consesse I wrote not immediately to your selfe or the councell, of haveing this Wright in custodie heere, but I presume the governor did let you understand so much, I giveing an account unto him constantly of every person that came over, and whome I secured, and this Wright among the rest, about a weeke agoe, and that which gave me the jealousye to secure him, which was a desire to returne backe from whence he came, and speedily to returne hither (as he pretended) on his merchandizinge affaires from Rotterdame; whereupon I told him, he gave me a just ground for suspition, and that I would secure him, untill I returned his name and carriage, whereat I perceived a trouble of spirit upon him, therefore was the more carefull of him; but upon the commissioners receipt of that commission from his highnes, that Wright amongst the rest, (I being not then present with the commissioners, nor they knowing any thing against him, that gave them ground of suspition, and the said mr. Day whom in your last you mention) ingageing for him, and signifieinge to the commissioners his knowledge of him (as the commissioners told me, after I had shewed them your's dated saturday last, of which they were very sorry and sensible) was released. I wish with all my heart I had beene there, but there was a crosse providence therein. I trust the Lord will graciously disappoint his horrid intentions. I must consesse, of all the men that ever I secured, both formerly and now, at first I was not more unsatisfied in a man, then in him; but I hope it will be a faire warning for the future to us all, that have to doe therein.
Sir, I shall let the gentlemen understand, what his highnes pleasure is in relation to the revokeing of his last order to them, and I shall improve my utmost care and diligence to observe the contents of the former order, and to let you receive a constant account of all persons, which are to be staid and secured, as that order directs and injoynes. Sir, be pleased to excuse this lardge returne: I conceived it both my duty and necessary: those persons yet in custodie heere (of which I have given you an account by the governor) shall be safelie kept, untill I know your pleasure concerning them. Not haveing else further to give you trouble, I remayne,
This night there came from Callis, in the French packett-boate, three passengers, one Peter Middlethorp, a Dutch merchant in Hamborough, who is going to London about his occasions there, as he pretends. Hee is well knowne to mr. Youngrix, a merchant in Dover, and hath ingaged under his hand for his safe abideing in towne heere, untill I receive an order or answeare from you about him.
There is also one Gabriel Delatta, a French merchant in Callis, gone to London about his merchandizeing, very well knowne to one mr. Nephew in towne, who will ingage for his safe abideing heere untill your answer.
Sir, you were pleased in one of your letters to me to vouchsafe that extension in the
execution of the former warrant from his highnes, if any merchant in towne know them,
for theire passinge; but however this is safer (if you shall so judge it) to take theire engagement for their safe custodie, untill I give you notice. If you shall approve thereof, it shall
be duely observed by,
Sir, your most humble servant,
The description of the said Wright is inclosed in a letter he wrote to sir Robert Stone, to indeavour his enlargement. If you judge it fitt to consult sir Robert Stone and mr. Delavall (merchant heere) what knowledge they have of him (Delavall is often at the exchandge now in London) it may give you a further light of him.
The said Nicholas Wright is a pretty full and somewhat ruddy fac't man, of a middle stature, about 35 or 36 yeares of age, havinge a deepe browne hair, short beard, his haire on his head and face much of a colour. He pretended his busynes to Newcastle to settle his family there; that he came from Rotterdam, being a merchant there; that mr. Delavall, merchant in Dover, well knowes him.
Capt. Unton Croke to the protector.
May it please your highnesse,
By the last post I acquainted your highnesse of the peace and quiett, that was in these parts, and what I had done in relation thereunto, by securing such gentlemen as (if any trouble should have arisen) might have beene instrumental in acting much mischeife; and I humbly desired you highnesse's commaunds, whether I shall continue their restraynt, or enlarge them. I alsoe acquainted your highnesse, that I had not beene carelesse in making the most curious search after Sexby, having had parties out after him both in Devonshire and Dorsetshire. Some of them are not yet retorned, which makes mee hope they have tract him, and that by the next your highnesse may receive a further account from
Exon, Feb. 21, 1654.
Capt. Geo. Bishop to secretary Thurloe.
I Received yours, and had the last post given you a farther intimation of Massey and the other person I mentioned, but the scouts imployed to look after them were not returned till this evening. This is certayne, that about a fortnight since Massey came to one Thomas Dimmock's house, an inn-keeper of Henton 6 miles from this place, and sitting downe amongst some company ther drinking, hee asked what newes; wher Waller was, and wher Massey was. The inn-keeper being formerly under his command, and one Edward Lockston, a butcher of the same place, whispering with each other, knew that it was Massey himselfe, hee haveing lately shaved his beard. Sayd the inn-keeper therupon, you are the man, your name is Massey. Hee endeavoured to put it of; but paying the reckoning called for a chamber, and then sent for Lockston, and confessed himself to bee the man, and told him, he had been privately 10 dayes in Bristoll, and had heard great matters of treason urged against him, but to London hee was bound, to answer all, haveing, as hee said, the lord protector's letter; only hee would goe by the way of Gloucester to see some friends first; and desired him to convey him in the way thither, which hee did. This Lockston himselfe gave account of to an honest man, from whence I received it. For the other, the barber that trim'd him, is still of opinion, that it is the duke of York: his man being somewhat in drink sayd, that his master had lest his mother in France, and did little think wher hee was now; which when his master had heard, hee should say, he called for the meate, being but halse ready, and a reckoning, and departed. Since that wee have intelligence of two places wher hee hath been.
Wee have every day confirmations of what wee signified concerning the designe here to
bee executed. This day 24 new musquets and 10 pikes were informed to bee in one house on
the bridge, the cheife place whence the late tumults and infurrections in the citty have
arisen, which the man of the house being examined, hath confest. Wee hear of some
persons of quallity, that the last night made a remove out of the suburbs of this citty.
Certaynly very many of quallity were here, waiteing for the execution of the designe;
and I am assured, that had the designe took, tuesday night last the riseing had been here,
for besides what I have already intimated to you, and might further add now, but cannot,
because the post is departing, those 400 horse (wherof many were officers of the King's)
came in that night upon pretence of the buriall of the Lady Newton (whose son is a notorious cavileer) and just as they came by the castle gate, a reake of hay in the graft was
set on fire, which made such a smother, that the gate of the castle could not bee seen.
Yesterday major Boteler with his owne and captain Robinson's troop marcht into this
towne, and some other men have visited him, and alsoe discoursed. I shewed him your
letter, and brought the man to him about Massey. I intend to waite upon him to Henton's
to examine the busines further. Wee shall be as vigilant as wee can, and you'l find it seasonable to put this place in a condition of security. As any thing occurs, that is sit for
your notice, you shall have an account. Major Boteler desir'd me to present his service to
you. I must needs desire your excuse for this in much hast, from, sir,
Bristoll, Feb. 21,