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 (3 of 3)
The information of Nathaniel Bostock soldier, in captain Nicholas Cordy's company, under the command of colonel John Barkstead lieutenant of the Tower, taken upon oath before the said colonel, February 22, 1654.
This informant faith, that after the mounting of the guards this day, William Foster, one of their fellow soldiers, brought to this informant one John Hilton, and told the informant, that the said Hilton desired to speak with him; to whom this informant came, and the said Hilton desired to know when he came out of Ireland. This informant told him about two weeks past: and farther asked, if this informant knew Tredagh or Drogheda. This informant told him he did. Then the said John Hilton desired to drink with this informant; and this informant saith he went with him; and being in discourse (their drink not being brought presently) he asked this informant, why they would live in such slavery; and desired that this informant would go to some other place to be more readily attended. And accordingly this informant faith they removed to another place, where being in discourse together, the said John Hilton again required of this informant, why they would live in so much slavery; and asked, if it were not better for them to go to sea, and afterwards spoke of major general Overton prisoner in the Tower; and asked if he might not speak with him alone: and further faith not.
The information of William Foster soldier in captain Nicholas Cordy's company, under the command of colonel Barkstead lieutenant of the Tower, taken upon oath before the said colonel, February 22, 1654.
This informant saith, that this day one John Hilton came and enquired for one William Foster; and this informant went unto him, and he with the said John Hilton being drinking together, he desired of this informant to know, if he might speak with major general Overton, now prisoner in the Tower; or that he might come to his window for that purpose, and where his lodging was. But this informant told him, he could not speak with the said major general Overton without the lieutenant of the Tower's order; and thereupon entering into farther discourse, the said John Hilton told this informant, he could give entertainment to 40 men at least aboard a ship, if they required it. And this informant desired to know of the said John Hilton the captain of the ship, whereto he answered, after he had spoke with the said captain, he would give this informant farther answer. Whereupon this informant apprehended him, and farther saith not.
The examination of Edward Williams, of Convey, in the county of Caernarvon, yeoman, taken before me the justice of the peace, subscribed the 23 day of Feb. in the year of our Lord 1654. being apprehended for suspicion of high treason.
The said Edward Williams being examined and demanded, whether or no any one desired him to raise arms against his highness the lord protector and the present government, his answer was, that to his remembrance none had desired him; and being farther demanded, whether he had confessed he had been so desired by any, made answer, that he had not to his remembrance.
The examination of John Evans, of Tremorva, in the said county of Caernarvon, taken before me the said justice of the peace, subscribed the said 23 d day of Feb. in the said year of our Lord 1654, against the said Edward Williams, for and on his highness's behalf.
The said examinate being demanded upon his oath, what he had to say or prove against the said Edward Williams, on his said highness's behalf, deposeth, that one mr. Thomas Davies, of Tremorva, in the said county of Caernarvon, gent. had related unto this examinate, that the said Edward Williams had asked the said Thomas Davies, whether he would be at the cavalier party; and that if he would, he should be well mounted. And this examinate farther saith, that the said Thomas Davies told this examinate, that he conceived, that one mr. Nicholas Bayley, of Corswen, in the said county of Caernarvon, had procured the said Edward Williams to speak to him the said Thomas Davies, as concerning the said business. And this examinate farther saith, that being in discourse with one Evan ap Jeffery, of the comott of Issaph, in the said county of Caernarvon, he the said Evan told the said examinate, that he heard that William Williams, Edmund Williams, Richard ap Williams Davids, and one of William ap Hugh ap Owen's sons, and one of Griffith ap William Davied's sons, and John ap Richard, concerned to be one; all being of the comott of St. Issaph aforesaid, within the said county of Caernarvon, had promised to be, and to take arms under the said Nicholas Bayley, upon one hour's warning by him given them. And this examinate farther saith, that the said Evan Jeffery farther told him the said examinate, that the said Nicholas Bayley had twice desired a servant of that Williams of Flanvaglan, in the said county of Caernarvon, esq; that he would bear arms under him the said Nicholas Bayley.
The examination of Thomas Davies, of Caerhime, in the county of Caernarvon aforesaid, gent. taken before me the said justice of the peace, subscribed the said 23d day of Feb. in the said year of our Lord 1654, against the said Edward Williams, for and on his said highness's behalf.
This examinate upon his oath faith, that he meeting with the said Edward Williams at Conwey accidentally in December last, and being a while there together, this examinate being bound homewards from Conwey aforesaid, the said Edward Williams brought the examinate a mile or thereabouts on the way, having a fowling piece on his back, who demanded of this examinate, whether he would take arms on the cavaliers side; he should be welcome, and have an officer's place. Of whom this examinate demanded, who had imployed him to speak to this examinate of such a business; and he the said Edward Williams answered this examinate, that if he would engage therein, he would tell him; otherwise not. To whom this examinate made answer, that he was a lame man; and if he were otherwise, that he would not be for such an imployment. And this examinate farther saith, that hearing of the apprehension of the said Nicholas Bayley, he told the former examinate, John Evans, that he conceived the said Edward Williams had been imployed by the said Nicholas Bayley, to procure this examinate and others for the said service.
The examination of Anne Parry.
Anne Parry, of Rosemary Lane in mr. Clarke's rents in Whitechapel, saith, that in or about the month of August 1654, there came an agent from Rome to London, whose name is — Darcy, an Irishman, and brought over with him a bull, pardons, and indulgencies, with other relicks, some whereof his mother shewed me at the Spanish house; whereupon I demanded, from whence they came. Her answer was, that her son brought them over from Rome, who had been there 16 years, and was then come over the pope's agent; but being doubtful of being suspected, I said no more to her at that time, but enquired of one of the priests at the Spanish house, where this mr. Darcy lay: he told me his lodging was at a barber's house at Temple Bar, where I desired of him, that a friend of mine might have a pardon. He told me, that those with . . . . were gone, but there were two who went with him to Rome, and came back into France. They went to the Scotch king for commissions, and had, as he affirmed, more pardons; some whereof were his, and some their own. He told me, that he expected their landing every day, and at their coming I should have what pardons I pleased. I farther desired of him, where my friend should enquire for him. His answer was, that he would come with me, when I pleased, to her; so for want of assistance was constrained to let the matter rest till this time, that I had a fitter opportunity to declare the same; whereof there is but one witness, but I can have more, if occasion serve. The other two men are come out of France, and are now in Lincolnshire at sir John Thimbleby's, one being sir John's brother, and the other his son, and mr. Darcy there with them.
Mr. Chanut, the French embassador in Holland, to Mr. Bordeaux, the French embassador in England.
The letter, which you have been pleased to write to me of the 6th of the last month, doth cast me far from the shore, when I thought to have been landed in the harbour. Good God! what patience you must have? I cannot conceive what all those quarrels and far fetcht novelties do signify, being nothing essential to your treaty. I cannot believe that the protector will make so slight of us, and that he will scorn the amity of the king of France; so I do not despair of your negotiation. I give you many thanks for the communication of your news. I do not wonder, that there is a great noise at London of a general insurrection, since it is much spoken of here; yet most wise men do not believe the design will succeed. It is certain, that the king of Scots is gone from Cologne, and that he has already landed in England. There are several places where they report him to be landed; but as for my own part, I do not believe any thing; and if I might be permitted to say any thing of those affairs concerning him, I do presume to say, that he is ill advised, if he be gone; one of the reasons, which might make me to judge, that the Spaniard have much confidence in the assistance, which they expect from the lord protector is, that they do not go about here to prepare for the next campaign. They never took less thought and care about it. Now it is not credible, that they would not give a better order about it, if they were not assured of some remarkable assistance from other parts; yet this reasoning is not altogether convincing, for they may have so much want of money, that they cannot make any greater preparations; and if the lord protector doth assist them, it is very probable he will sell them assistance so dear, that it were better for them to demand peace of France.
The king of Sweden is fallen dangerously ill 20 miles from Stockholm. The physicians do fear the success of the disease. In these parts is done no manner of thing, neither good nor evil. Eight days hence the assembly of Holland is to meet, and then we shall have here the lord Beverning, who is still taken up with his amours at Amsterdam. I do assure you, my lord, I do wish him good success, and that I do speak of him as the good testimonies, which you have given me of him, do oblige me.
Thomas Kynaston to the protector.
May it please your highnes,
Since the receipt of the right honourable the lord Lambert his letters by the last post, desireinge my double dilligence in secureinge of the garrison here committed to my charge; ensigne Spencer, formerly ensigne to coll. Carter, and now postmaster of this towne, by the discourseing with a neighbouringe inhabitant, discovered something relateinge to the listinge of some men designed for the puttinge of the bloody plott against the present government (now under examination) in execution; which discoverie, that itt might more regularly be proceeded in, mr. William Stodart, a justice of the peace of this county, and neare adjacent to this place, was desired to take the depositions and examinations of such persons as weare therein concerned. The examinations and depositions already taken by the said mr. Stodart are here inclosed sent to your highness; and those that shall be taken hereafter shall by God's help (with as much care and dilligence as can be imagined) follow. Edward Williams, one of the persons examined, is bye mr. Stodart's mittimus sent prisoner to the common Goal of the county, as conceaved guilty of high treason. The other two have entred into recognizance of 500 l. a peece for theire appearance, when they shall be thereupon required. Mr. Bayley, the man mentioned in the examination, is returned home amongst his neighbours, though he had soe far engaged in this inhumane action; but upon what account soe soone cleered is best knowne to your highnes. I beleeve tyme will make a further discoverie of more persons hereabouts engaged in this plott, which soe soone as brought to light, shall be forthwith transmitted unto your highnes, from
Feb. 24, 1654.
Mr. James Powell to secretary Thurloe.
I Humbly crave your pardon, in offeringe you this trouble, presumeinge on your ingenuitie and that litle acquaintance I have with you. And what I shall here transcribe, is only to give you a prospecte of the condition and temper of Bristoll, specially at this tyme it lyeth under so many accusations touchinge a malignant plot, togather with many tumults, broyles, and abuses offered to godly people, through the privitie or negligence of the magistrates, with other misdemeanours, &c. which hath justly caused his highnes to sende downe to see, whether it be accordinge to the cry thereof, which this citty takes as a speciall favour from him, as also for sendinge soe worthy a gentleman, soe sounde in his principles to religion, and of singular integritie and impartialitie, by whome the truth of all may be made knowne.
Truly sir, I doe not delight in ever scriblinge, as alsoe knowing my distance, but in a modest way to informe you of the state of thinges, beinge grieved to see what divisions are amongst us, and alsoe to thinke how ever and anon his highnes and the councell are awakened with untrue suggestions from discontented spirits to provoke them to reflect with a jealous eye upon this place.
I shall premise this to your honour, that the people here are of the same nature and complexion with the other parts of the nation, where are good and bad; and such as are under all formes of religion.
As for magistrates, I say, for them, as for a greate many more in Englande, it weair happe, if all places had such, and soe qualified as the scriptures require; but we must waite for the greate day of Jezreell to see that and other thinges reformed. However this is reall truth, that all good people under any forme of religion whatsoever (quakers excepted) have as much freedome and quiet without disturbance in this place, as in any place in England besides. And as to the magistrates, they are soe carefull in the government of the place, that wee live in as much quiet, good order, and civillitie, as any other people, and are generally in as much conformitie to the lawes and ordinances, as any cittie or corporation whatever, and have as little publique distempers amongst us.
As touchinge any plott from the old malignant principle, or fermentinge any ugly humour tendinge to the publique mischefe by any persons in this place, though I cannot be sure of men's hartes, yet I am confident by all observations, that there is as litle proclivitie in the malignants of this place to any new broyles as in any place of the nation; neither can I discerne any symtome or indication of any plottinge or designe. For the truth is, our malignants, and newters, and all sorts are now soe setled againe in their trade since the act of Oblivion, and by reason of peace and quiet the cittie increaseth in trade, that soe they may get money (which is most soveraigne to them) and be in quiet, they will be far from any new plots.
And truly, sir, his highnes may be confident, here are many godly people, that doe soe love, honour, and pray for him, together with many well-affected people (though not listed amongst the quakers proselites) who are soe radicated in the good old principle against malignants, and doe soe minde the peace of the nation, and their own securitie, as to life and estate, whose eyes and ears are soe intent upon the evill people, that if they saw the least tendencie by words, gesture, or actions towards any villanie, his highnes should quickly heare of us.
And whereas it was informed, the plot was such, as the garrison-officer durst not enter upon the discovery of it without more strength, I must needs avouch this for truth, if he had acquainted either the magistrates or any honest man of it, he might have had 4 or 500 men quickly to asist him.
The cittie hath been very quiet a greate while, and that business at Worcester made a good experiment of the temper of our malignants, who weare soe far from plottinge, that they shewed a good forwardnes to opose the enemys; and though I had litle cause, as any heere, to speake favourably of malignants, yet for truth's sake I say what I doe.
I shall acquaint your honour of two causes of our distempers, and howe they began. Upon the late ellection of Burgesses here, there weare two persons whome you know that stood for it; but having receaved a canvas, and disapoynted at Whitehall alsoe, it bred an extreame feud betwixt them and the magistrates themselves; which coare remayninge in their hartes, they waite occasions to blast the cittie by all possible meanes.
The other cause is the comeinge of the quakers, who with their franticke doctrines have made such an impression on the mindes of people of this cittie and places adjacent, that it is wonderfull to imagin, and hath alsoe made such a rent in all societies and relations, which, with the publique afront offered to ministers and magistrates, hath caused such a devision, I may say a mere antipathy amongst the people, and consequently many broyles and affronts; these quakers being countenanced by the officers of the garrisons and some other discontented persons, who are latelie led aside by these lunaticke doctrines, have taken the advantadge to represent all these thinges and plotts, and the ill government of the magestrates, which is untrue.
I saw your letter to frends here, which encouraged me to trouble you with these.
I shall be spareinge hereafter; only if I know any thing of publique prejudice, shal be
bould to give you notice, if I may not be accompted bussy. Sir, this is only to your
owne breast, with many thankes for furtheringe my warrants. I remayne
Bristol, Feb. 24, 1654.
Mr. Rob. Aldworth to secretary Thurloe.
Since my coming home, as well by my owne observation as by the relation of many others, I have fully satisfied myselfe, that major Butler hath most impartially proceeded here in the examination of what his highness referred to him. Indeed his deportment in the management of this business hath been every way suitable to the carecter, that both yourselfe and others gave of him, and much to the honour of his highness. I shall not trouble your honour with the relation of the transactions since the forces came hither, but leave the narrative thereof to be made by the major himselfe, which doe presume wil be by this post; only shall in generall thus much humbly acquaynt your honour, that wee hope the major is so fully informed upon his strict inquiry of the peceablenes and conformity of the citty under his highnes government, of the protection and encouradgment of godly and sober Christiens of all formes and judgments, of the falsity and frivolousness of the informations and compleynts both against magistrates and people of this place (not any one of them being proved) that the representation, which shal be made by him, may (by God's providence) prove a mercy to this citty, be a cleere vindication of the innocency and faithfulness of the magistrates and inhabitants, and in due time may render us a people to be more intrusted by his highness, and to be better capable for receiving some further markes of his favor in reference to the restoration of our lands in the castle and other rights of the citty. Truly, sir, I looke on it as somewhat providentiall to myselfe, that what I have often asserted on the behalfe of this place, doth on due examination apeare to be altogether true. If his highness shal be pleased to settle the militia here, such persons may be intrusted as will be most faythfull; or if to continue the Wyall fort, yet shall humbly offer for the publick interest, that the government and chardge thereof be in future committed to the care of such person or persons, which may hold a better correspondency with the magistrates, and not be a matter of such divisions amongst us here, or should by their actions alienat affection from present power or countenancers of them. This with my humble thankes for all favours, I take leave, and subscribe
Feb. 24, 1654
Major Wm. Boteler to the protector.
May it please your highness,
I Shall now present your highness with a faithfull narrative of the distempers of this place, having very fully informed myselfe both of the cause and continuance of them from the best hands that may be. As soone as I came in hither on tuesday last, I was presently visited by the deputyes of the castle and fort, with mr. Hollister and captaine Bishopp, who presently begann to declare their sadd greivances, and many other godly and well-affected people, who had (they said) suffered much from the magistrates and many other disaffected people of this place; they were pleased to spend 2 houres time at least, heaping one complaynt upon another against them. The next morning they were with me againe, going over and over the same things. I would onely give them a patient hearing, which indeed they had; and mr. mayor and his brethren being desired to speake with me, I went to them; from whome I received a profession of their innocency as to all that had beene complayned of against them, as also multiplied complaynts against the first complaynants. And by this tyme I perceived how impossible it would be for me to give your highness an impartiall account of matters betwixt them, unless I could get both partyes together, which I did endeavour and effect betweene the magistrates of their towne, captain Watson and captain Beale; (but mr. Hollister and C. Bishopp I founde indisposed to the motion, who tould me, they sent not to your highness about the execution of theise matters; but that you would be pleased to send some strength hither to secure the interest of the commonwealth, and thought it not expedient to go with the two captains) who when they came together, begann to object many things against one another. After a while, to prevent confusion, I entreated the captains to beginn againe, and enumerate theire greivances one by one; and desired the other party to answer them in like manner, which was consented to; and so I obteyned a distinct hearing of every particuler; and truly, my lord, I must say, that of those many things, which were alleadged against the mayor and aldermen (which I beleive were more then had been complained of to your highnes) not one of them could be proved against or fastened upon them, but they did evidently acquitt themselves of the whole. It would be absurdly tedious for me to perticulerize things to your highness; nor could this paper conteyne them; but captaine Robinson will e're long be in London, who (with some other officers) was present at all the debates, and can, if your highness command it, give you a particular and exact account of all. In the meane tyme. I may assure your highness, that with some greife and shame on the behalfe of my fellow officers especially, I am forced to let you know, they have carryed things very imprudently, and to the dishonour of relligion, your highness, and army; and I must needs say, that it hath beene onely the goodness of God, that such carriages have not begotten more then animosityes from this people. As for C. Bishopp, I should think your highness knowes him well enough without any character of myne; though thus much I could have informed concerninge him, before I came hither, that whatever he may complayne of as to other men's disaffections, as to the present government, there's no man hath exprest more against it then himselfe (as in other places) so especially not long since at Marlburgh in mr. Hughs his house, where his lavishe tongue was by an honest inhabitant of the same towne well reproved. And truly, my lord, I did in my chamber here tell him pretty roundly of it, and the continuall flutters and stirrs he makes up and downe, now he is turned halfe a quaker, onely to have a party to make a litle opposition with to the towne. Poore mr. Hollister I think is utterly carryed away with them, and so are many others, among which some honest people. But your highness would wonder, if you did but perfectly know their carriages heere, that any sober Christian should be befooled with them, most of them being filled with rage and rayling against all dissenters good or badd. It is most certeine, the disturbances they have made in the publique places here have caused severall woomen to miscarry, and brought other inconveniencyes upon others. And they cease not to affront the magistrates and ministers both, calling them names not to be named in the open streets sometymes, rayling against them in their teachings, (which indeed are scarce any thing els) and by letters; and one of the ministers here was not onely much miscalled, but pulled and pinched by one of them as he went up and downe the streets. And how greatly must it needs reflect (more then upon themselves) that C. Watson and C. Beale (not to name the other two) should so much and so farr countenance and abett this fort of principle. I meane not (my lord) to protect them onely, for that the magistrates (be as badd as they will) did do, whilest they were peacible. It's no small greife to the people of God up and downe the nation, to see such lightness of spirit still here and there among us. One would thinke all the wynds of God's displeasure, that have beene raysed against us one tyme after another, should have blowne away our chaffe ere now; but it is not so. But I should not forgett to add, to confirme your highness in the truth and impartiallity of the representation I have made to your highness both of persons and things beforementioned, that I have had to the same effect an account from the most sober men both of the towne and out of it, as mr. Knowles, mr. Evans, mr. Powell, mr. Blackwell, major Harper, mr. Bramley, and severall others; and by the testimoney of theise it doth appeare (and could not be denyed by capt. W. C. B. &c.) that till the quakers made such publique disturbances, here hath beene all liberty and protection given to men's exercisings privately and publiquely under whatever formes, and will be still, and as great testimony hath been given of the submission and obedience of this citty to the present government, though it may be, 'twill be said self-love is the ground of it. But graunte it be so, yet obedience is not to be rejected or discouraged; and if the principle of every man's obedience were knowne, 'twould take of from the splendor of many a man's. Thus, my lord, I have troubled your highness both with a breife and tedious relation of what hath beene 4 or 5 dayes labour to me, and is like to be many dayes sensure. But I have putt on this peice of armour against it, that I have written the very truth. It may be your highness will expect I should say somthing concerninge the castle and fort. Truly the first thing that I shall say is, it is matter of wonder to me, to see how both of them and all that are in them have beene exposed to most apparent hazard through the paucity of souldiers to desend them. Any of them in such a juncture as this hath beene would have required more then the number that both had. Now, my lord, as touching the setling a garrison here for the future, I finde my poore reason very inclinable to it, the place being in (many respects) the most considerable of any I know as to advantage or disadvantage. The castle is exceeding ruinous, and in my judgment (if it were worth any thing) not so fitt to be kept as the fort; and truly to keepe and repaire both would be very chargeable. But I am thinking againe, that perhapps a regiment of foote to be quartered here may be as much to the purpose, and less to your expence; but indeed, my lord, I know myselfe unworthy to advise in this perticuler more then that whiles you do keepe the castle and fort, it's necessary they should be reinforced. And by this tyme I thinke you will scarce have patience to reade that I am,
Bristoll, Feb. 24, 1654.
I must likewise acquaint your highness, that the party I sent to Chepstowe castle, are returned without John Wyldman's servant, having escaped thence the very next morninge after he came in. Capt. Nicholas his deputy would seeme to excuse the matter, by alledging, that he was not named prisoner in the letter my lord writt to him; the reason whereof was, because he (citing your highness order) would onely mention John Wyldman, as it did. But, my lord, there is a sufficient proofe, that the corporall, as he was bid, tould the deputy of the castle, that he was equally guilty with his master; and that he was to secure him, and keep him from any speech with his master; and the officer I now sent for him saies, the ensigne did acknowledge as much to him. I sent away a party with the same officer that apprehended him before, to see if he might light on him at the same place againe; but least he miss, if your highness send to his father's house, an apothecary, livinge next doore to the King's Head in Black-Fryers, he may be had there very probably.
Major William Boteler to secretary Thurloe.
I have given his highness so tedious an account of such things he commanded me here, that I had not roome nor considence to say more to him at this tyme. But I would humbly begg the favour of you to know and signify his pleasure concerning the recruiting our troopes to an hundred; that if he continue of that mynde, we may be endeavouring something in it. I confess I have done nothing yet, for that I was a stranger in theise parts, and could not get such men as I might elsewhere; and yet I would be loath to call any poore men from their callings and familyes, unless there were most absolute necessity, and I might assure them pay. And rather then fill up our troopes with such as we know not to be honest considing men, some of us had rather adventure our lives with those we have already. I shall be at Marlbrough thursday night with theise two troopes againe. You may please to direct your commands thither. I hope I shall leave this towne in a peacible state. Indeed, sir, let them be as badd as some would make them, yet sure I am, they have had farr most cause to complayne; and I thinke it very equall his highness should let them know he beleives not of them as they have beene represented. I beseech you, sir, present my humble service to sir G. Pickering. I would have done it by letter, but have made the post stay too long. I am,
Bristoll, Feb. 24, 1654.
Mr. W. Prideaux to secretary Thurloe.
These will give your honour advertisement, that from the seaventh of November, that I came to Vologda, unto the sixth of January the vayvode of that citty had not the least notice of the safe delivery of any of the several letters he had signified me to have sent the emperor, by expresses and other conveyances, in them giving his majesty to understand the tyme of my arrival to that cittye. Nor was I certaine, when I should have his order to come forward. I therefore resolved to send a gentleman expressly to his majesty with my letter; but the governor of Vologda would not condescend thereunto, nor lett me have poste for him. Soe being putt from that my intention, I sent an expresse to an English merchant, John Hebden, that dwells in this citty's new suburbs (the place where all strangers live) with my letter to him, as also myne for the emperor, to be delivered to the high chancellor of the possesco office (the place where ambassadors, foreign ministers and strangers make their addresses;) but Hebden being so much engaged in his majestie's service, durst not doe it for jealousie these ministers might have of him of intelligence with me; so returned me my letter by my expresse. Upon his retorne to Vologda, I sent a gentleman from the prestave (the man that had me in conduction from Archangell to that governor) to tell him, that I thought much of my longe staye there, and to desire him to take it into consideration; whereupon he sent for the chancellor of that imperial office, and taking councill of him resolved to lett my prestave follow the order he had from the governor of Archangell, which was to bringe me to the village Mutishia, fiveteen verze from hence; and then came to the possesco office, there to deliver his letter to the high chancellor, and to receive his orders how further to proceed with me; so that saturday 6th of January I departed Vologda, and arrived at Mutishia mundaye morning 5th courrant: from whence my prestave came hether, and returned back the morning following, with order from the chancellor to bring me heather, that an house should be provided for me, but desired to be excused, that I could not be received in the same manner as ministers of kings and great princes, in the quality I ame sent from his hignesse, lord protector, to the emperor (the custome is to be received about a myle out of the citty) who was expected there that daye (which was true) and that all officers and people of the citty were ordered to goe forth of it for his majestie's reception; but by reason of several stations that he made at places of devotion, he came not into the citty till the 10th. The emperor, the young prince, daughters, and the emperor's sister, came in the day before. His majestie's entry was noe great matter for pompe. There went forth to this incounter about 8000 cittizens, (there is yet a very small number of people of that great multitude there was before the contagion) some 500 strangers, officers, and others of the army. The Hollanders and Hambourgers merchants went alsoe forth in this incounter, and presented his majestie with a silver gilt cupp, with 500 dockats in it; and they all kissed his hand at the entry of the gate, where the emperor came in. There mett him the Patriarch and all the clergy; from whence his majesty came bareheaded, and all the clergy, except the patriarch (who wore his crowne or miter) untill they came to their chief church (having made some little stay at several places of devotion by the waye) and from thence was conducted to his pallace.
From the 6th currant, that I arrived here, I stayed till the 15th, untill I was sent for by the emperor; and then was to go to his majesty in all hast, not having given me an hower's warning, to make me ready; but then came a contradiction and order to stay till the next morning. The said 15th in the afternoone, the above-named Hebden came to me, and told me, that he was appointed by the emperor to be interpreter betwixt his majesty and me. Whereupon I communicated to him the speech I intended to make to the emperor, that Hebden might be the readier to interpret it, who then departed from me, went and certified what he had seene to the chancellor, who that evening sent Hebden to me with a long list of titles the emperor hath assumed to himselfe; and to desire me, that I would give them to his majestie in my speech, to which I answered, that the tyme was soe short before my audience, that it was impossible for me to retayne them in my memory. Moreover that I could not alter those, that were on his highness's letter to his majestie; but when his highnesse should be informed of them, without all question, when another occasion should present to write to his majesty, they would be given him; and on these termes we remayned till the next morning, when the gentleman of the emperor's horse, that waits on me (who in this office is called a prestave) came with an high sledd of the emperor's for my selfe, and two of his horses for two of my gentlemen to ryde on, other two stood in the fore parte of my sled, (he that stood on the right hand carried his highnesse lord protector's letter alost open, holding it in a peice of crimson taffata) myself and the prestave (he on my right hand) in the body of the sled, and two of my servants in livery behind. Before I departed the house where I am lodged, the prestave told me, he had order from the chancellor to tell me, that it was not the custome for ambassadors or other publique ministers of foreign princes to go to his majesty with swords; that I should leave it; but that I might weare my belt; but rather than goe with my belt alone, I thought best to leave it with my sword. My gentleman and servants wore theirs untill we came to the possesco office, where they lest them, until we returned from the emperor.
In my going to the emperor, there went first two of his majestie's soldiers a horsbacke, then my two gentlemen in like manner; and then our sled. When we came to the gate of the castle (which is about a mile in circuit) there stood from thence to the palacegate, on both sydes, 36 companys of musqueteers with their collours, some of them in red, others in green, blew, and white coates. When we came to the possesco office, we quitted our sled and horses (the office is some 40 paces short of the pallace gate) and went in there; and whilst I was there, Hebden came to me from the chancellor, and told me, that his majesty was contented I should omitt the giving of all his titles, and only say, as presently shall follow; desiring that brevity of speech, because that his majesty was to give audience to the Swedes commissary (soe he tearmed that minister that crowne hath here;) and having stayed in that office above haulf an hower came in order to goe to the emperor. We departed from thence afoote, and being brought by my prestave into the hall, where the emperor was, I tooke his highnesse's letter, that before one of my gentlemen carried before me. His majesty satt upon a throne made firme against the wall, in form of a niche, three steps elevated from the floore, and plact more than haulf way off the middle of the roome from the doore. The throne is sayed to be of silver gilt with gold, handsomely wrought and adorned with pretious stones. His majesty was in a vest of cloth of gold with long hanging sleeves, and lyned with sables. His capp of purple velvet lyned with sables, and imbroidered with pearle; and in his left hand a staffe about a yard and half long, and a finger's bigness, besett with pretious stones; and on the topp of it a crosse. On his right hand stood his brother-in-law, Burris Juaneuich Mourosene, and on the left Elia Danetowich his father-in-law, both of them bare headed, and in red vests. At the lower end of the room sat twelve or fourteen noblemen, counsellors of state, in vests of cloth of gold and capps of blacke foxes skins all alike. The chancellor on the right hand of the emperor went to and from his majesty to me, and some twenty or more gentlemen were behynd me with theire capps on.
When I came just before the emperor, and had done my last reverence, I was bid by the chancelor and Hebden to speake, when I sayd the insuing words presisly: great monarch! His highnesse Oliver lord protector of the high and most potent commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions therunto belonging hath sent hither by me William Prideaux his messenger to your imperial majesty, great lord, emperor, and great duke Alexsea Michaylowich of the greater and lesser Russia (soe he will have and not of all Russia) selfe-upholder, and of many other dominions lord and monarch, to whom his highnesse sendeth greeting. That being spoken in Russe by Hebden, I subjoyned, that I would not tediate his majesty with further discourse, but for what then I had else to say, I remitted it to his majesty in that paper (which was what was in the paper here inclosed) that being referred to the emperor I was bid deliver it to the chancellor, as I did. Then the emperor spoke to the chancellor, and he to me by Hebden, to deliver his highnesse's letter to his majesty, which I did into his owne hands, and he remitted it unto the chancellor. Having delivered the letter, I returned backe to the place, where I spoke. Then the emperor spoke to the chancellor,, and he to me by Hebden, that for such matters as his highnesse's letter contayns, and for such business as I have to treat of, his majesty would appoint commissioners to heare me, and to all make answer. Then the emperor ask'd (as I was told by Hebden) of the good health of the protector, using this word in Russ, howe is the good health of Oliver Utaditela (that is sole commander or sole director.) I having answered, that his highnesse was in perfect health at my departure from England, and had not heard to the contrary since, then the emperor by the chancellor asked of my good health; and having answered to that, his majesty spoke to him againe, and hee to Hebden, to tell me, that the emperor did grace me to kiffe his hand; which when I had done, I retorned to my station. He spoke again to the chancellor, and he to Hebden, that his majesty did also grace my fower gentlemen to kisse his hand; which when they had done, his majesty spoke agayne to the chancellor, and he to me by Hebden, that his majesty would grace me with his diner, with which I was dismissed, and returned to my lodging, as I went to the emperor.
In the house where I ame, that the emperor hath assigned me, and makes a handsome showe to the streete, and would with a little expence bee made commodious, there is not a locke to a door, nor stoole, nor forme to fitt on, nor any thinge more than the bare walls, but what I have bought and borrowed. The emperor's allowance of meat and drinke (wyne I have none, as formerly hath been the custome to give) that I have is sufficient for me and people. They are scarce in allowance of wood, which I supply myselfe what wants.
The emperor three days past went to a monastry 60 verze off, and 'tis sayd will returne heather this daye. 'Til his majesty come backe, or rather till towards the end of the next week, I shall not doe any thinge in affayres, by reason that this is a weeke of debauchednesse, that all qualities and conditions of people will be drunke; and till haulf the next they will scarce come to their sences again, and then they will be all in fasting and praying.
There hath bine of late a faction betwixt the emperor's people and the Poles. These by night sett on a quarter of their enemys, and putting them in confusion, they took their own people for Russes, which caused much mortality amongst themselves. The day appearing the Poles continued the fight, which lasted two days, and had the better of the Russes, taking from them some small peices of cannon, which they had, and killed about 4000 of their men; of which two Scotch colonels, and other officers, strangers. 'Tis credibly believed, the emperor will have a hard taske of it this yeare; for that we understand the king of Poland and Reginel will be very strong. It is thought that the Crim Tartar will assist the Pole with 60000 Tartars. His master intends to goe into the field very speedily. The cheese officers strangers that are there, have orders to depart within ten dayes.
The speech of Wm. Prideaux, esq; to the Czar of Russia, given in writing, Feb 15, 1654/5.
For the many and grave abuses perpetrated in England in the last king's reign, without hope of redress, so that for remedy and prevention of farther damage for the publick weal, the great council of the land hath changed the government of state, elected and established the most excellent and most prudent prince, his highness Oliver as lord protector of the high and most potent commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, who with intire affection sendeth greeting to your imperial majesty Alexsea Michaylowich, most high and right noble prince, by the mercy of God great lord and emperor, and great duke of all Russia, sole commander of Volodimer, Mosco, and Novogrod, emperor of Cazan, emperor of Astracan, and emperor of Siberia, lord of Volskly, great duke of Tuersky, Ughorsky, Perinsky, Vatsky, Bolgarsky, and others, also lord and great duke of Novogrod, in the lower countries of Rezansky, Polatsky, and Kestonesky, Peorostavesky, Beolesasky, Udersky, Obdersky, Condinsky, and of all the northern principalities lord and commander, also lord of the countries of Caberdinsky, and of the dukedoms of Cherasky, Ighorsky, and of many other kingdoms, great lord and conqueror, whose perfect health his highness (at my departure from him) hoped I should find, at my arrival to your imperial person, auguring a long continuance thereof, with a happy and glorious reign, in prosperity, splendor, and completion of all greatness.
His said highness having established, in our commonwealth, a perfect and solid government, with tranquillity, to his own satisfaction, and to the unanimous content of all degrees and conditions of persons in it, composed those differences, that were betwixt it and the lords states general of the united provinces of the Netherlands, renewed alliance with the crown of Sweden, and the kings of France and Spain, with many other princes, potentates, and republicks of Christendom, that by their embassadors, agents and ministers have sent to congratulate his highness for his assumption in his pre-eminent dignity to procure his amity and friendship, and some of them his protection, hath in the midst of those affairs been mindful of your imperial majesty, for the great good will born to your imperial person, and for the ancient good intelligence and correspondency past betwixt your majesty's renowned predecessors, of famous memory, your imperial self, and our nation, insomuch, that by virtue of theirs and your majesty's gracious privileges to a particular company of our merchants, a continued commerce hath been by them exercised in your imperial dominions, till of late years those privileges have been taken from them.
For these causes and considerations his highness lord protector hath sent his letter expresly to your imperial majesty, by one William Prideaux his messenger, with order to deliver it into your royal hands, to whom I beseech be pleased to give a complete answer to each particular of its contents in that convenient time, as may well stand with your imperial majesty's affairs.
The information of Jasper Gill, of Bristol, merchant, given to major Boteler, on the behalf of the commonwealth, upon the 24th day of Feb. 1654.
Who saith, that he being in the company of John Stradling, of Chedsey in the
county of Somerset, on tuesday last, at Bridgwater, and afterwards upon thursday,
at an alehouse in the parish of Chedsey aforesaid; the said Stradling told him, that there
had been very lately a plot on foot against the present government; that there should
have been a general rising over England, Scotland, and Wales; and that the lord protector's person and the city of London should have been seized upon on tuesday last was
sevennight, being the 13th of this instant February; and he and col. Slingsby, not
long since prisoner in Exeter, Hugh Smith, of Long Ashton, esq; one col. Middleton,
and some of the Thistlethwaits, and divers others, were, in order to the execution of
the said plot, met together at Salisbury, upon monday the 12th instant. But a post came
into Salisbury that afternoon, giving them notice, that the plot was discovered; and the
word was given, every man shift for himself; whereupon they presently dispersed to their
several houses, and he returned to col. Piggot's house, at Long Ashton aforesaid, near
Bristol, where he was furnished with a good horse, as he went to Salisbury, and left his
own; and at his return he left the borrowed horse there again, and kist the lady's hands
(meaning mrs. Piggot) and took his own horse, and returned presently to his own house
at Chedsey, whither he came about 2 or 3 a clock the next morning. And he farther said
to the informant, that if things had gone well, Jack (meaning himself) had been a man,
and his old spot or stain cast upon him by the cavalier party, for serving as lieutenant
under general Blake, would have been wiped off. And farther the said Stradling said, that
he had a letter, which he received in relation to the said design (which he pretended to
his wife was from his mother in Wales, for him to go to her) but he was to burn it,
as soon as he had read it; which he said he did, but would not discover any farther,
being, as he said, bound to the contrary by an oath of secresy. Attested by
Major Boteler to the protector.
May it please your highnes,
Within 2 howres after the writing of my last to your highnesse, one mr. Gyll a merchant in this towne coming from Bridgwater, immediately came to my lodgings, offering me this information, which I tooke from him, and he afterwards subscribed, and will be ready upon oath to make good, when he shall be thereunto required. The originall I have by me, and have presented your highness with a true coppy. I have sent a party to apprehend Stradling, who will be brought to me to Marlbrough, whether I am going to morrow. I sent to Long Ashton to have apprehended collonel Piggott and Hugh Smyth, his sonn-in-lawe. Piggott I have taken and comitted him to C. Watson's custody, where he will be safe till he shall be demanded by your highness's order. Smyth is in London, his lodging is at the signe of the Gunn in the Strand neere the Savoy. If you miss him there, col. Cooke can give information of him, he being suiter to a lady of his acquaintance. I hope collonel Slingsby is apprehended by this tyme also. But I heare even now he is gott up to London, which is and hath been the very nursery of such wilde creatures. The Thislethwaytes I understand live in Wilts. I shall know where, when I come to Marlbrough, and endeavour their apprehension speedily. I shall send Stradling up to Whitehall: he is a poore, but most desperate gentleman. Mr. Gyll the informant thinks for a small reward and promise of pardon he will make a notable discovery, (and certainly he can do it to purpose.) I am persuaded the Lord will bring more of theise youths to our knowledge. I shall not be wanting in any thing I may contribute towards it; nor I trust your highness will not be over pitifull towards such as shall bee proved guilty. I shall add nothing to the account I presented by the last post of the affayres of this place, nor diminish from it, it being what I shall owne and make evident. And though the loade lyes most upon my brethren and fellow officers, yet I have not layde it upon them without cause; nor so much in something as I might have done by farr; but I hope they are a litle ashamed of their unhandsome carriages. The mayor and aldermen have promised all tenderness towards good people under whatever forme, and (though they are most of them carnall themselves) yet I beleive they have exercised that lenity towards all formes here, as I must profess to your highness, I thinke nere a citty nor corporation in England would have done the like. And truly, my lord, both in that regard, as also (if I be not altogether misinformed) in respect of their readines to owne your government (as in many thinges hath been instanc't to me from most impartiall hands) they deserve your highness encowragement, though it should be, as is often alleadged, for their owne safetie, that they manifest this complyance. But I should tell your highness, that I do observe here very great fewdes twixt the towne, C. Watson, and C. Beale, and they have had too much rooting on both sides. I wishe I had skill enough to pluck them up; but in truth I have not, nor noe man els. Mr. Hollister and G. B. staid at the same distance with the citty also; and how old their unkindnesses be, I know not, but at the last election they received no small confirmation, and still more by their siding with this generation of giddie heades, which I wished G. B. hath not done meerly to make a party against the citty; for I do not thinke he is much pleased with their notions. Two things (in case your highness resolve to keepe a garrison here) seeme very necessary; one that you reinforce your garrison, the other that you give theise captains some other ymployment, it being impossible to gett a good understanding 'twixt them and the towne. I am sorry to speake it, but you will finde it so.
Col. Wm. Boteler to secretary Thurloe.
I Have beene forced to trouble your highness with a long scribble againe, but I trust in order to the discovery of some more of the late plotters. I most humbly thanke you for the intelligence you were pleased to hint to me by the post that came to day. The continuance of the cavaliers designes must needs continue my care and dilligence to discover, prevent, or breake them, in one of which at least I trust God will use me in theise parts. I beleive you will receave some complaynts from G. B. and mr. Hollister, as soone as they understand what representation I have made of the affayres here. 'Twere impossible I should escape without sensures on one side, though my conscience tells me, I deserve them on neither. But I am resolved to take no notice of them. I shall humbly begg two words in answer to my last about our recruiting or not, that all due care may be taken therein by, sir,
Bristol, Feb. 26, 1654.
Capt. Geo. Bishop to secretary Thurloe.
On fryday last I went with a party of horse to Henton, wher haveing secured Edward Lockston and John Dimmock the inn-keeper, the officer that commanded the party and myselfe examined them both. Lockston consessed, that about 3 weekes since a strainger came into the inn at evening, wher hee and others were sitting by the fire; that when they would have risen, hee would not permit them, but sate and drank with them: that in discourse hee asked, wher was Waller, and what was become of Massey: that thereupon hee the said Lockston and John Dimmock whispered together, that hee was the man. Dimmocke sayd he was too young. Lockston replied, hee had been newly shaved; and sayd to the strainger openly, you are the man. That hee payd the reckoning, went upp into his chamber, sent Dimmock to call Lockston to him. Lockston coming upp hee desired him to convey him towards Gloucester; and that hee and another did convey him the next morninge to Nimpsfield to one Pearce, an inn-keeper, whoe was sometime clerk to collonel Rayman, and ther left him, but denyed, that he owned himselfe to him to be Massey in the chamber, or that hee said hee heard treason was layd to his charge, or that haveing a letter from the lord protector hee would goe to London, which the honest man before major Boteler, myselfe, and half a dozen more related from his mouth; but confessed, that hee sayd hee had been 10 dayes in Bristoll, and came thither from Ireland. Dimmock sayd at first, hee would say nothing till hee came to Whitehall; but afterwards consest to us, that in the entry hee acknowledged himselfe to him, that his name was Massey. Hereupon wee brought them both to towne prysoners that night, and I desired the mayor, that the honest man, that had it from Lockston's mouth, as I wrote you in my last, might bee sent for, and they confronted; but what account they gave to the mayor on saturday, I leave to the mayor's owne relation; for I was not present; but what is sayd afore quartermaster Ashton that commanded the party and myselfe, are ready to justifie. What this may amount to, I know not; but this relation of Massey coming to us from honest and discreet persons soe positively, as I have formerly signified at the very time, that both by my lord Lambert's letter by his highness's order the intimation of the designe was given to the garrison, and our other knowledge thereof, and observation of danger at the doore here, which we never had one more reall in our apprehensions, or greater, or that would have fallen upon us with greater fury, or to higher prejudice of the common safety, I could not but give you an account thereof impartially, as I found it; (and in such a juncture blame not your friendes, if they should at any time be over jealous out of tenderness to the commonwealth) and I went myself purposely to drive it as farr as I could; and you have the account. For the other I have not my returnes as yett, I am with you very sensible of the designes driven on still by the old enemy, of whom I have had formerly experience enough; and how they still rallyed more stronger and with more policy after some discovery and interruption, instead of being discouraged; and they every day by wicked experience learne the mistery of such tradeing, till the neck of all was broke, and the bottome turned upp. And you may still expect their restless endeavours against the peace of this poor countrey. I am much afflicted to hear, that any, whoe have much pretended to publicque principles, and have been sometimes serviceable against the common ennemy, should turne in now to them, or give them advantage. For my part, I expect destruction (as it hath hitherto proved to be the portion of that interest and all that joyne to it) as cursed of the Lord, and as I have been, soe I trust the Lord, whoe in mercy hath held mee by the hand all my dayes, and kept me faithfull whatever hath been my discouragements and temptations, which have not been a few or triviall, will (I am assured thereof) preserve mee to the end; and the encrease of a good conscience is noe small rejoyceing to me in the houre of my retirement, which till now, since the warrs began, I never obtained. I am looking after a kingdom, that cannot bee shaken, and studying peace with trueth. You intimate some feares of distractions in this cittie. I feare they are encreased since these troopes came hither; and that the breach is wider rather then less: but I have troubled you too farr already, knowing your imployments at this tyme; by which I have found myselfe in the like formerly to bee exceeding pressing. Therefore I shall add noc further, but that I am ready to appeare, sir,
Bristoll, Feb. 26, 1654.
Mr. Jonas Cudworth to col. Charles Worseley.
Nott omittinge my due respects to your selfe and bedfellow, haveinge heard some reports concerninge the late plott, I thought it my duety to give notice to your honour the rumour is amongst both the cavalier and catholick party, that a right course is not taken for prevention, there being many employed for the secureinge of others, whoe are themselves envolved in the designe, whoe stick not to say, within twenty dayes, notwithstandinge what is yet done, the worke goes on, and 20000 horse are listed, and in readinesse in Yeorkshire, Lancashire, and North. and Bishoprick, and that a person of honour in Yeorkshire is impowered by Charles Stewart, to give commissions to whome he thinkes fitt, as allsoe some perticuler officers have received from London 50 l. a peece. I should bee sorry to breede any jelousies without cause, but divers catholicks have towlde me, they were invited to rise, whoe refused, and say col. Howard hath a good opinion of some in Northumberland, whoe are engaged in the business. I should bee glad to have a line from you. I have heard nothinge from the sherrife, nor mr. Witte as yet: I have noe more at present, but to subscribe myselfe
From Stella neer Newe,
Feb. 26, 1654.
General Monck to secretary Thurloe.
I Received yours of the 20th instant, and thanke you for your large narrative concerning major generall Harrison and the rest, which gave a great deale of satisfaction to many officers heere. I am sorry, those gentlemen should bee soe strangely dissatisfied with the present government, as nott to resolve to live peaceably under the protection of it, butt my opinion is, that unlesse his highnesse bee very severe with those, that are disturbers of the peace, wee shall never have any certaine settlement. All thinges are quiett in these parts. I have nott further to trouble you with at present, but remayne
Dalkeith, Feb. 27, 1654.
Mr. John Brooke to the protector.
May it please your most excellent highnes,
The two persons I formerly made mention of, then in Carlile, are lately returned into these parts, where the elder brother, a captain in the last ingagement under the then earle of Derby with one Edwards, his associate and fellow renegade from Carlile, doe with that secrecy sculck from place to place, as it is somewhat difficult to surprize them; but for the most part they sojourne in Flintshire, where they were last weeke seen and met by a gentleman of my acquaintance, whose sonn had for some few days deserted his parents, and betaken himselfe to there association. If your highnes thinke it requisite, and order there apprehension, I doubt not, God willing, to effect it.
I alsoe heare, that there is a person of note under the borrowed name of Harrinson conceales that of his owne of sir John Digby. I know not the person; but if report may take place, hee hath been, if not at present, an eminent adversary to the publique peace. Hee doth frequent the taverne opposite to Turnestile in Holborne, from whence the taverne had his name, if the signe bee not altered. The master of the house knowes his lodging by the name of mr. Harrinson, soe that if hee should prove any person of danger, hee may bee that way detected.
Feare of being tedious to your highnes patience prohibits mee to speake of any thing that
concerns my native country, Cheshire, where my relations as to the publique service,
interest in and alliance to most of the principall gentry therein, enables mee to manifest upon your highnes commaund, who are most zealously affected to the present government, and for piety and prudence in the magisteriall function are of singular note
amongst us. I have presumed too far, and shall ad noe more; but blessed bee the Lord,
who for the love hee had to these nations, hath set you over them; and graunt you more
and more all inlargment of heart, with spirituall graces and wisdome to goe in and out
before soe great a people committed to your charge and government. I am
Norton neere Warrington, Feb. 27, 1654/5.
Capt. Thomas Wilson to secretary Thurloe.
Your's I this evening received, dated the 26 instant, and according to your order, I have by a file of souldiers and a sergeant sent up the gentlemen you mention, mr. Samuel Sainthill, Ferdinand Carew, Henry Pike, Christopher Hatton, Franciscus Albertus, Anne Roberts; and having this opportunity (although you doe not specifie him) one Ganley, an Irishman (whome formerly I gave you account of) who we suppose might be a priest, because of his shaved crowne, which he denies, and pretends great poverty. You may please, sir, to satisfie your selfe in him: he is a schollar, and spake Latine against his will to us, and Latine papers we found about him. Sir, pray be pleased to release the souldiers of theire chardge of the gentlemen, as soone as may be, because we shall have want of them. I shall referre it to your direction, how the souldiers chardges shall be defrayed; being best acquainted with the proceedings of that nature. At present (going up) the gentlemen were free to beare their chardges betweene them, upon the souldiers carrying theire portmantles for them.
Sir, you also order mee in your letter to keepe in safe custodie one mr. Richard Broughton, whome I secured with the other gentlemen at my sergeants house in towne, having very few lodgings heare, (which I heartyly wish were otherwise, that I might have an eie to them) for gentlemen, and set a good guard upon them, and was heere untill this day in the morning, and upon the receipt of your letter I sent to my sergeant, and acquainted him, that I had received your order to send up the gentlemen, and mentioning this mr. Broughton amongst the rest, and what your pleasure was as to him, he then told me, that mr. mayor of Dover about 10 a clocke this morning had given him a passe, and let him goe, and about 11 a clocke rode towards London. Having wholly broke the rules of his highnes order, which was sent to him, as to other ports, not to release any without order from above. At which, when I heard it, I was exceedingly troubled, that he should presume to take any man from our guards, and release him, and never so much as send to me to advise in it, or to let me know what he resolved to doe, knowing that I secured him. Whereupon, sir, immediately (upon the receipt of your's, and hearing of it) I went downe to mr. major, and asked him, if such a thing was done by him, as I had heard; and he confest, that upon a merchant and a vintner's engagement with one mr. Skynner the elder, and one mr. Carlisles, he had released him about 10 or 11 a clocke. I asked what moved him to such an unreasonable and inconsiderate act, to release a person, that I had sent up his name and condition to yourselfe, and received no returne or answeare, untill now; it being a standing rule to me, to release no person, after I had once sent up his name, notwithstanding any importunities to the contrary, untill I have an order for it, and that he indeede now had noe authority at all to intermeddle in it, as being a commissioner on the old commission for the passe (which in this act he went upon) the busynes being resolved and committed to myselfe, as to the executive part of it, and that he would not send unto me to advise with me in it, when any such addresse or application was made to him; when as I (not he) had secured him. His answeare was (being as slender as his act) that he was sorry for it, and wisht he had not done it; and that he had sent to me about it. I told him, I would certifie his carriage in it, for they were not matters to be dallyed in. Sir, I have done the best I could thinke of to endeavour his apprehension againe, and charged, that Carlisles, the vintner (who knowes him) to post after him, and to labour to apprehend and secure him, wherever he finds him; and to that end gave him a warrant, and dispatcht him away this evening. He hopes to meet with him.
Sir, I am very much affected at these cross providencies, but, the Lord willing, I shall
labour to prevent any such sinister practices to my utmost for the future, and will chardge our
guards and the persons, where they shall be committed, to let none goe out of theire
handes and custodie, without an order under my hand, or personall order in it. Sir, as
for your direction towards the close of your letter, concerning the acting upon his highnes
last warrant, directed to me and others, his highnes direction as to the provision in the
execution thereof shall be very strictly and precisely observed for the future; and will
goe to the commissioners, and let them understand soe much, and the rules which must be
attended. Sir, if mr. major had a sharpe letter sent to him from you, I hope it would doe
him good; for he is both weake and heady; for Wright's busines was much on such a scambling account. Sir, mr. Price and mr. major, it seemes, gave you an account of a coll. who
pretends busines to his highness, and some others. Pray be pleased to let me receive your
order in it, sir, not having else at present to give you further trouble, I remayne,
Dover Castle, Feb. 27, 1654.
This Broughton is a fat and short young man, about 26 years old, longe, darke, browne haire; goes like a souldier; he pretended to goe visit a sister at Huish in Somersetshire, when he was examined and secured.
Mr. James Powell to secretary Thurloe.
I Doe with all thankfullnes humbly acknowledge your respect in favouringe me with a letter by the messenger, which indeede doth import a very significant testimonie of his highnes good opinion of and favour to this place, which I hope, and am persuaded, will be a corde of soul to tye them in affection to his highnes, and allsoe to their duty and care to answer the true ende of goverument, that people may live peaceably in all godlynes and honesty under them. And I may say truly, if not proverbially, of Bristoll, that if any sort of people, under any forme of religion whatever (beinge peaceable) doe want a place quietly to use their consciences in religion, let them come hither, and they may. Wee have soe much libertie and peace, that wee doe even surfit upon it. The quakers are very provokeinge, yet truly wee pittie all our freinds, that are led captive in that error, and hope they may returne; and doe use all gentlenes possible, unles it be those that are very exorbitant in their behaviour ; and I am confident, noe magistrates are more afronted by them then ours are.
I had some few thinges to offer to your honour, that are of some concernment (though of
another nature then the premises) but the messenger is dispatcht soner then I thought;
therefore doe take leave, craveinge leave to signe my selfe
Bristoll, Feb. 28, 1654.
The information of John Stradling of Chedsey in the county of Somerset, gent. taken before major Boteler, Feb. 28, 1654.
Who saith, that upon thursday was fortnight, being the 8th day of this instant, John Dowthwaite, in the county aforesaid, sent his letter to this informant, by one Robert Webber, of Chedsey aforesaid, husbandman, from the market at Bridgwater, charging the said Robert to deliver it with his own hand, which he did. The substance of which letter was, that this informant should meet the said Dowthwaite at Enmore, on the day following in the afternoon, without fail, as he tended his future happiness ; and accordingly this informant went to Enmore, and met him at the inn there, according to the time appointed; and the said Dowthwaite took him out of the house into the backside, and there told him, saying, cousin John, there is a private design intended, which I am not to disclose unto you as yet; but as you tender your good, provide yourself horse and arms to meet me at John Morse's house in Ashcott, where others are to meet me according to their appointment about 7 or 8 a clock; where and when this informant met him, but found him alone waiting for the rest of his comrades coming as he said; and we tarried there for them till about 10 of the clock ; and seeing they came not, he persuaded me to go along with him, leaving a note behind him at the said John Morse's, that captain Stephen Dyer (who sojourns at the said John Morse's) should come after him; and so this informant and the said Dowthwaite rode along together all that night, and in the morning early they came to the house of one mr. John Bayley, a sequestered minister, living within two miles of Frome in Wilts, and the said Dowthwaite knocked at the door, and called to the said Bayley, who came very hastily down stairs, with his stockings in his hands, and bade them very welcome; and presently the said Dowthaite and Bayley went aside in the kitchin, and had private communication together; then came into the hall again, and desired this informant to walk into the kitchen, and sit down by the fire with them; and presently John Dowthwaite desired mr. Bayley, that he would use a means, that he might speak with one major Leveridge presently; and the said Bayley answered, that the major had appointed to meet him that morning, to see a cock-sparring, and the said Bayley went out from them, and about two hours after the major came in to them, and told them, the business was all undone; they were betrayed and discovered. And the said major farther said, that he had provided 19 men to be at his back; and that there would have been a strong party, and they should have rendezvoused near Salisbury, and the design was to have fallen upon Marlbrough horse; but the design being discovered, he advised the said Dowthwaite to speed home, to avoid suspicion of being from home at that time. And a little before the said Dowthwaite and this informant went away, mr. Bayley came in again, who told them, he did call the said major privately from the company, where they were met at the said cock-sparring, and sent him presently to us. And this informant farther saith, that he asked the said Dowthwaite about the plot, as they two were coming to mr. Bayley's house, the reason why he would go so far from home, if the design was such a general rising, as he had told this informant; he answered him, that he had rather go farther from home, if he should do any mischief, or kill any body, chusing rather to do it amongst strangers, where he was not known. And that at their return to John Morse's, who said he looked for their coming back, for he had heard where he had been, there was a discovery of the business ; and he would not for 100 l. he had been along with us. How we should come off, he knew not; but if he had gone, he knew how to have come off, for he had a mistress at London, and would have gone to see her, and would not have returned. And the said Dyer told this informant, he was confident this was a plot of my lord protector's own devising; and that he had some of his owne agents in it, to discover such as had an hand in the business. And farther this informant saith, that he asking John Dowthwaite, who should fall in upon our parts, meaning Somersetshire, he answered, that col. Francis Wyndham had undertaken it, and he was to fall upon Tawnton horse, and sir Hugh Wyndham to assist him; and that sir John Greenfield was newly come down from London, on purpose to fall upon Plymouth, and to command those parts. And that this design was first put on foot by the levellers, who were to be aiding and assisting to the cavaliers; and the Londoners were to fall upon the lord protector. And this informant asking the said John, what the king would do for garrisons, he answered, that Hull was to be delivered to him for his being there. And that the king was waiting at sea for an opportunity ; and the time appointed for the execution of the whole business was tuesday the 13th of this instant (which the said major also told him) and that on tuesday night at 12 a clock they should have fallen in upon Marlbrough horse. And that this informant asking him, what was become of col. Slingsby, he said, he did believe he would be in the party before they fell on ; and the said Dowthwaite was the only man that drew this informant into the design.
Major Boteler to the protector.
May it Please your Highness,
I Was marched out of this place 10 miles towards Marlburgh yesterday, met your highness's messenger at one of the clock, and returned back againe to Bristoll that night; and having acquainted the officers of the garrison with your commands, in order towards the demolishing of the castle, I did also let the magistrates of the towne understand, that part of my letter, which referred to them, and especially how well your highnes resented their patient spirit towards all good people, ernestly beseeching them at all times to manifest the same spirit, then the which I did assure them nothing could more indulge your highnes favour towards them. My lord, they desired to present their humble thankfulness and duty to your highnes, as also their sense of the great obligations you have allwaies layde upon them, to answer which they profess you may ever expect their readiness to obey your highness with their lives and fortunes. This morning C. Watson came downe to my lodging, and I finde him unwilling any thing should be done towards the throwing downe the castle as yet. I shewed him what your highness commands were to me ; but he conceaves he himselfe should have an order from your highness or from the governor. I easily see what is in the bottome ; but I am not willing to see. Indeed, my Lord, if your highness so please, I would humbly begg you would appoint some other person to oversee this work, or else C. Watson himselfe. There will be all respect and civility had towards mrs. Scroope in the doinge of it ; nor is there any feare of disturbances or tumults. I shall stay here till it be made untenable ; and unless your highness see other cause, I would not stay longer ; for 'tis a very deare place to our souldiers, and every way a badd horse quarter. The magistrates have consented mrs. Scroope should take her owne tyme in the mansion-house; and shee does very well understand your highness respect to her in this matter from me. The order, which should have been inclosed to the deputy governor of Chepstow, was forgotten. I humbly desire it by the next post. I shall with all care and privacy performe your highness trust in that perticuler; but to send a partye to Chepstow without your highness's order to the deputie, would be in vaine.
Major Boteler to secretary Thurloe.
I Beginn to feare I shall prove troublesome to you in multiplyinge letters; and yet I know not well how to avoyde it. One cause of it is, that I would not be tedious to his highness; and the other is, that I might not omitt any thing of duty incumbent upon me. In my last I gave his highness an account of an information brought to me against one Stradling, (a coppy whereof I sent up.) I have Stradling here under restraynt, and have examined him upon the information. He denyes both all and some of it. The informant mr. Gyll being a merchant of this place, and a well affected person, and of good repute, is ready to make oath of the truth of the said information, and does most solemnly profess 'tis meerly his affection and faithfulness to the commonwealth, that moved him to give it against Stradling. I would gladly know, whether his highness may not thinke fitt, that both complainant and defendant should be convened before him, that, if possible, the truth might come out. And 'tis thought by many, that Stradling (though he be a poore rogue) is able to discover as much in the late plott as any one man. I have collonel Slingsby and colonell Piggott under restraint also, and would willingly understand my lord's pleasure as to them; but that I conceive will depend upon Stradling's account given to his highness. I humbly thank you for the caution you gave me as to the listing of more men. Some of the captains have listed some; and would be much obliged to you, if they might know, whether his highness expects they should be dismist, and upon what termes. Pardon this double trouble from him, that most assuredly is,
Bristoll, ultimo Feb. 1654.
Fleetwood, lord deputy of Ireland, to secretary Thurloe.
I Have received yours concerning the commitment of those foure gentlemen, and I shall endevour to improve satisfaction where I conceave it wil be most usefull. It is very sad, that there should be breaches among such as have gone together in this worke. The cause is the same as it was, and I am very well satisfied, that the way we are in doth as much answer the end thereof, as any other way that I have knowne to be proposed; but surely it is that, which speakes aloud to us, that the lord should suffer such a divided spiritt to be amongst us, as to force such an extermitie, which I am perswarded nothing but what my lord did supposes necessitie, could have satisfied his highnes to have dealt so with these persons, who have bine so eminently faithfull to the publique interest. The les of these extraordinary actions the better. Forbearance to such (unles publique safetie be concerned) will be to the advantage of the worke we are engaged in. I might speake it with comfort ; my experience in this hath bin such, since the change of this government, that I am sure the effects (through mercy) are very manifest even amongst those, who were formerly dissatisfied. This pretious good man, captain Kingdonn is one, who deserves my lord's perticular countenance, he being a very faithfull servant to his highnes, and of a healing spiritt, and hath made it his bussinesse to prevent mistakes and misapprehensions. He deserves your favour. He comes fully instructed to my lord protector, in relation to all our affairs here. I am very glad to hear his highness hath declined the legislative power, which by the instrument of government in my opinion he could not exercise after this last parliament's meetinge ; and therefore those thinges, which wee heare are attempted to be done in England concerninge Ireland, will be prevented through the want of that power. I shall entreate you will be assistinge to this bearer in what concearns us, which will oblige
Ult. Feb. [1654.]
The mayor of Bristol, &c. to the protector.
May it Please Your Highness,
We have for some years together been very apprehensive there have been those amongst us, who in order to their own ends have strenuously endeavoured by their tongues and pens to asperse the civil government and people of this city; which design the better to effect, they have of late, upon more refined pretences (yet altogether untrue suggestions) laboured to bring us under a more severe observation, and to render us uncapable of trust and favours from your highness. Such we acknowledge have been the numbers and qualities of their complaints and informations, that they could not but deserve an examination to pass upon them; and therefore, as soon as we received intelligence, that your highness had so appointed it, and entrusted a person of such honour and integrity in the management of this service, we judged it a special evidence, in that we had so fair an opportunity to clear and vindicate our innocency and faithfulness. We must confess, that major Butler did most impartially proceed, and by the return he yesterday received from your highness, do understand, hath made the like impartial representation. The humble aim of this our address is in all due observance faithfully to acknowledge the many signal expressions of favour and respect unto this city, mentioned in your highness's letter to major Butler, communicated to us; and more particularly in giving order for the present compleat dismounting of the castle, and thereby a restoration to our lands and inheritance. What protection and tenderness we have hitherto exercised towards all sober and peaceable Christians, we shall endeavour to maintain and uphold; and those manifold encouragements we have now received from your highness, will very highly engage us and the whole office to the due observance of publique commands, and a peaceable conformity under your highness's government; who shall ever remain
Bristol, Feb. 28, 1654.
Mr. F. Burghill to col. W. Goffe.
If I had noe other motive then my obligation to accknowledge the favours I receaved from you at my last beinge at Whitehall, I should not venture to trouble your more seriouse occasions with these few lines ; but havinge sadly considered the present state of affayres with you, and knowinge what hath happened in the gentleman's businesse (in whose behalfe I wayted upon you) scince I left you, beinge affectionately bent to serve both the one and the other, I could not forbeare to impart my reflections unto you, whereof you may make use as you think fitt, and pardon my freedome as an effect of my well wishes to that union, which I am assured will prove advantageous to both parties.
Being therefore, sir, altogether certayne of the gentleman's earnest. desire and reall designe to lincke himself wholly to the protector's interest, and knowinge withall his extraordinary parts and abilities of nature, perfected by many experiences, and elevated by the
dignity of his quallity, I am undoubtedly confident, that his publique appearinge on the
protectour's side, and on his behalf, would contribute more than can easily be conceived to
the quellinge of those rebelliouse plotts and tumults, which are now on foote. He is a
man, whose waye and manner of action is bold and effecacious ; his tongue good, his person
gratefull, his skill and industrie in a generouse suitinge himselfe to the several conditions
of men's humour, soe eminent, that I cannot beleive there is a man in England of the
like capacity to serve his highnesse, even in these present troubles. His open and free
declaringe himselfe in that interest would astonishe and shake the nobillity ; his publique
appearinge in all the considerable parts and companies of the citty, and his authenticall relations of the impertinent proceedings and narrow-hearted intentions of the Englishe, who
governe abroade would undoubtedly soone undeceive and turne the hearts of the malecontents of our nation into peace and quietnesse. What swaye such an example soe well
managed would have amongst the better sort, you may well imagine ; and from these
hints you will easily inferr the rest, which my feare of beinge troublesome makes me unwillinge to rehearse as longe. This I insinuate only out of my respects and longinge
desires of both theire good and prosperity, which I am sure will follow from their first and
firme conjunction, whereunto your helpinge hand will not a little contribute, which will
one daye be acknowledged as the greatest good you ever did or can doe to either of them.
Lett me add, that though his highnesse seeme to have all the reason in the world to suspend
his admittance in this nicke of time, and conjuncture of affaires, havinge noe such securitie
of the gentleman's intentions as might satisfie a prudent and cautiouse man, to whome hee
is yett unknowne; yet if once they meete, his highnesse will finde that every daye's delaye was
prejuditiall to his interest. This briesely, sir, from both theirs and
Paris, Mar. 10, 1655. [st. no.]