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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April (2 of 6)
Chanut, the French embassador in Holland, to Bordeaux, the French embassador in England.
I Cannot depart from the opinion, which I have, but that the protector will yet close with France, and not suffer you to go away unsatisfied, it being his interest to have peace with France. I did very much doubt, that the seizure, whereof I had advice, but not from the court, would put some stop to your treaties. It was ill advised to make any stop of their ships; but I believe it is taken off again, and that will pacify the protector. That which he told the merchants of London is very considerable against Spain, but all that he faith so publickly is very suspicious. I cannot forbear to fear, but the English have framed some grand design upon the Havanna, or some other place of importance, under colour of some old pretences; but it may be this is but a chimera of my own.
The examination of Samuel Hadnam, of London, taylor, living at the Lamb in Aldersgate-street, taken this 6th of April, 1655, upon oath, before William Goffe and Charles Worsley, esqrs; justices of the peace within the city of Westminster.
Who faith, that upon friday before shrove-tuesday last (he not being at home) there came a footman to his house, as his wife told him, belonging to sir Thomas Peyton of Kent, to bespeak a lodging for a gentleman, which accordingly was that night provided for him ; and that night there came to the examinate's house a gentleman with a servant, a Frenchman of a low stature, which Frenchman being now produced before the examinate, he faith, that is the same man, who waited upon the said gentleman, who went by the name of mr. Symonds.
And being asked, what resort was to the said mr. Symonds, faith, that divers came to his house, to ask for the said mr. Symonds, and did also speak with him, but faith, they were all strangers to him, save sir Thomas Peyton, who came to him at this examinate's house and spake with him but once, as this examinate saw ; only he came another morning to speak with him as he said, and asked for mr. Symonds, but knew not whether he spake with him or not, the said Symonds being then in bed. He further faith, that this examinate was called for by the said Symonds to eat with him sometimes, and that he was a proper fat man, with a very round visage ; he was shaved close in his face, and the hair upon his head was yellowish; and it might be a perriwig for ought the examinate knoweth. And that he abode in the said house from the friday aforesaid, to the tuesday following, and went away late in that evening with the said Frenchman, saying, he was taking a journey into the country.
The examination of Sybill Hadnam, wife of Samuel Hadnam, taylor, of Aldersgatestreet, taken this 6th day of April, 1655, before William Goffe and Charles Worsley, esqrs; justices of the peace in the city of Westminster.
Who faith, that upon the friday before shrove-tuesday last, in the evening, came to her house, in Aldersgate-street, a boy, and asked her this examinate, whether she had ever a lodging to let? whereto she said, that she had a low room to let; and the examinate asking, who it was for, said, that it was for a gentleman that was newly come to town, and so went away ; and about half an hour after the boy came again, and bid the maid make a fire in the room; and about half an hour after that, the gentleman himself came, and with him a servant, who was a Frenchman; which Frenchman being produced before the examinate, she faith, that this is the same Frenchman, who waited upon the said gentleman. And further faith, that the gentleman went by the name of mr. Symonds. And being asked, who did frequent the said mr. Symonds during his stay at her house, faith, that sir Thomas Peyton came unto him, but did not stay with him above half an hour. And faith, that she doth not know, whether sir Thomas Peyton came to him more than once; but her husband told her, that two or three others were with him ; but who they were, she knows not, nor did hear. She faith, that her husband and she sometimes fat with him, and he was a tall fat man, full-faced man, his hair yellowish ; and that he staid in her house from friday aforesaid until tuesday night; and then about seven or eight a clock at night he went away, and told the examinate, if any body asked for him, she should say, he was gone out of town, and would be back again in two or three days. She further faith, that sir Thomas Peyton, as her maid told her, came in with him the said mr. Symonds the first night he came; and that her maid's name is Frances Fowkes.
The examination of William Webb, servant to sir Thomas Peyton, taken upon oath, before William Goffe and Charles Worsley, esqrs. justices of the peace in the city of Westminster, April 6, 1655.
Who saith, that his master, sir Thomas Peyton, and a gentleman, called (as he hath been informed) mr. Symonds, being at the Horn-tavern in Fleet-street together, about five or six weeks since, as he remembreth, his master sent him to a barber's in Bellyard by Temple-bar, where his master's lodging then was, and required him, about eight or nine of the clock at night, to go to mr. Hadnam's, his taylor, in Aldersgate-street, and bespeak a lodging for a gentleman, which the examinate did; and faith, he spake with the woman of the house, mrs. Hadnam, for it; and she telling him, that she had a lodging, he went back and told his master of it, who thereupon bid him go away to his lodging in Bell-yard aforesaid, which he did, and left his master and the said mr. Symonds together; his master then called for a reckoning.
And being asked, what time his master came in that night, he said, it was about ten a clock at night. And being asked, what other company was with his master at the tavern aforesaid, besides the said mr. Symonds, he faith, he saw no other ; but that he the said mr. Symonds had a Frenchman waiting upon him, as a servant.
Mr. Thomas Scot to secretary Thurloe.
The gentleman (fn. 1) (to whome the inclosed relate) came recommended to mee (I might say commaunded upon mee) by so considerable persons of the councell, that formerly knew him, or (by occasion of a very important service, then payd downe as it were in way of earnest, putt a just value upon him) to the businesse of intelligence, and which he afterwards, in a long tract of time, fully answeared expectation in; that I have no scruple to present you his papers, to testify my absolute credence to all that he assirmes, and to second his desires (to you) for a faire treatment; beeing confident, because I believe him a person of much sincerity and honor, he has and will deserve it, and the more, if you commaund him hither, which perhaps you would have donne many monethes since, if more weighty occasions had not diverted you from the consideration of what was suggested to you particularly concerning him by,
Lambeth, Fryday, April 6, 1655.
Bordeaux, to his son the French embassador in England.
Since my last letter I have received your packets of the 5th and 8th of this month. I sent away presently that to his eminence, who sent for me next day to come to him at Bois de Vincennes, where he confirmed what he had formerly told me. He seemed to be troubled at the order, which was sent for the seizing of all English ships and goods; and after he had read your letter, he sent away an express presently to have them discharged, and withall he told me, that he had sent an express to you into England with an order of assurance to the lord protector, that the intention of the king was not to trouble him through the said seizure, nor to make use of any advantages at a time of conspiracies and risings in this country; and to justify this action, that in case you had already made the rupture, or that it should happen between the two states, that however they would not deny to restore the said ships and goods seized by virtue of the said ordinance. And his E. charged me thrice in the presence of the marshal of Grammont, and the procureur general Fouquet, that I should write this unto you, and order you to promise so much, and to sign it, and that he would engage his life and his honour, notwithstanding the rupture, that he would restore all the said ships and goods seized upon. He added withall, that he would write to you himself, and gave order in my presence to his secretary to draw up a letter containing the said order, which was sent yesterday by an express. This sudden sending of this express, and the discharging of the said ships, doth argue, as the earl of Brienne doth observe very judiciously, that the cardinal hath no intention to break; and that you had good reason to use your endeavours to prevent it. I shewed him your letter of the 12th, which I had newly received, wherein you give some hope of an accommodation, which he was exceeding glad to hear. You do very well to extend your power and terms to make a good end and conclusion, and not to render your voyage fruitless; and that is the opinion of the earl of Brienne; and I believe a little longer forbearance and patience, where you are, will render all things to your content, and you will be so happy in case of a rupture, that none can blame you for it; for every one will conceive it to be occasioned through the said seizure, which is blamed and condemned by all in general; and if you conclude the treaty of peace, it will be the more to your honour, and every one will acknowledge your great conduct and forbearance to obtain it.
Yesterday arrived here the election of a new pope, cardinal Chigi, and now named Alexander the VIIth. They are very glad of it here at this court; and in regard he was nuncio and embassador at Munster, where he declared great inclination to the peace, it is hoped that he will endeavour to effect the same.
The mayor of Bristoll, &c. to secretary Thurloe.
May it please your honour,
Having received information of a servant within this citty, that had spoken some dangerous words in relation to the late plot and rising, we sent for him and took the examination against him, with his confession, the copies whereof we have here inclosed. At present we thought good to secure him, and shall attend what further order shal be sent us concerning him. We rest
City of Bristol. The information of Thomas Owen, serjeant to the governor's company, taken the 7th day of April, 1655.
Who saith, that yesterday he being in company with one Thomas Smith, servant to mr. John Pester, woollen-draper, and discoursing concerning the defeat given to the enemy lately in the West, did hear the said Thomas Smith say, that he was sorry that they did rise so soon, for otherwise he had been with them, and a great many more gentlemen besides that he knew of.
Joseph Biggs of the city of Bristol.
Informeth on oath, that yesterday last, one Thomas Smith, and serjeant Owen, were in company in his master's house drinking, at which time serjeant Owen was speaking of the defeating of the enemy in the West; whereupon the said Thomas Smith said, that if they had staid a little longer there, he knew there would have been a great many more with them (meaning as this informant conceives, with the enemy) and said, he himself would have been with them also.
Andrew Morris of the city of Bristol
Informeth on oath, that yesterday last, one Thomas Smith, and serjeant Owen were in company in his master's house, drinking; at which time there was a discourse of the defeat given the enemy lately in the West; and this informant did hear the said Thomas Smith say, that in case they had stood out a little longer, he, with many others, would have been with them.
The examination of Thomas Smith.
Thomas Smith, servant to mr. John Pester, woollen-draper, being examined, saith, that yesterday he was in company with serjeant Owen, and they had some discourse concerning the rising; and confesseth, that he said, that he knew some that would have been with them, and that he himself did say, he had not cared if he had been amongst them; but saith, his meaning was, concerning what he heard when about two months since he came over out of Ireland, in company with some, who he did hear discourse of a rising or mutiny in England, and wished themselves amongst them, and that he himself did not care, if he were also amongst them. And saith, that his friends are all of them for the present government, and he himself, in case he would at all have risen, it should have been for the lord protector against the enemy, for that he hath been formerly in arms, under captain Pyott, in the service of the commonwealth; but denieth, that he did at all wish himself amongst the enemy, or that he knoweth of any one else, that would have joined with them.
J. Grove to the protector.
May it please your highnes,
This morning I received your highnes command, to endeavour the takeing of the lord Wilmott, which I shall use all possible meanes to doe. There is a vessel at Lidd, which came yesterday from France, that brought over passengers, seven whereof came to this towne the last night, who are sent in custodie to Whitehall, to be further examined. One of them told me privatly, that he was imployed as a freind, and hath matter of dangerous consequence. He saith, that there is a man, who hath undertaken to take away your highnes life, that is sent out of France to that purpose; but he believes, that he is not yet arrived at London. It is good for your highnes to be exceeding carefull, when you admitt any straingers to your presence. I hope the Lord will preserve you, notwithstanding what the devill or men can doe. The inclosed letter is from him, that saith he is a freind. I have sent a partie to Lydd, to seize the master and vessell, and am marching to Rumney my selfe. I have examined some persons, of the carriage of one mr. Bradshaw, a schoolemaster in Wye, relating to the plot, and I finde he is a very suspicious person, and he is one that hath opportunitie to doe much disservice, by reason of the great acquaintance he hath amongst the gentrey; many of them haveing sonnes under his charge to tutor. More of him I shall endeavour for: I have taken securitie for his appearance when called for; I have inclosed an information, which I picked from a young fellow, that is an apprentice at Ashford, that formerly waited on col. Thornhill, which, it may be, your highnes may make some use of, as to estimate thereby, that the plott was hatched in France, and possibly that tall blacke man might be the pretender. I shall search the colonel's house this day very diligently, and some other houses likewise. I pray God blesse your highnes, and preserve the peace of the commonwealth under your highnes government many yeares, is the prayer of
Thomas South to secretary Thurloe.
I am retorned into England: you may conceive there is some extreordinary reson. I desire that my lord protector be very carefull of stiring abrode until I speake with you, which will be very speedely. I come along prisoner with some gentlemen, whome I doe mistrust and not without reson, sent by major Grove: which is all in great hast from your very humble servant,
Ashford, April 7, 1655.
The examination of sir William Ingram, taken at York, April 7, 1655.
Saith, that upon discourse with major Robert Waters (about January last) the said major Waters told this examinate, that he had received instructions, which he did carry to the king about November last, from sir Arthur Hasleridge and divers others, who now enjoyed bishop, and dean, and chapter lands, &c. from the commonwealth, to this purpose, as followeth, viz. that if the said sir Arthur and some others (this examinate yet remembers not) might enjoy their estates, which they now held, and stand indemnisied, they would then declare for the king, and assist him as he should command, or to that purpose; to which he brought answer from the king, that they should enjoy their estates or others from him equivalent.
The information of Gilbert Metcalf, living near Hamsterley, at Rockwood-Hill.
Saith, that friday night, the 9th of March, there came mr. Henry Wren of Aukland, and three more with him, with each of them a horse and a sword; and one of them had a pair of pistols and holsters on his saddle; but he saith, he knows none of them, but mr. Henry Wren. He further saith, that he saw one pocket pistol amongst them. They all four lodged at his mother's house that night; and what discourse they had he knows not; only the next morning being saturday, they all went from thence about day break; but whither they went he knows not.
The deposition of Philip Shelvock, aged 34 years, or thereabouts, taken upon oath before me Humphrey Mackworth, esq; one of the justices of the peace for the county of Salop, this 7th of April 1655, at Shrewsbury.
Saith, that mr. Ralph Kynaston, of Rusnant, in the county of Montgomery, met this deponent on wednesday the 7th at Maesbrook, being in the place of his habitation, and asked him, whether he would go along with him. This deponent asked him, whither he must go; he replied, no farther than I go myself. This deponent answered, that he had not a horse fit for service. The said mr. Kynaston bid him make shift with his own horse for a day or two, and then he should be better furnished. This deponent was then told by John Rogers of Maesbrook, that his mare would serve; whereupon this deponent asked Ralph Kynaston, whither he was to come; to which the said Ralph Kynaston answered, to a rendezvous on thursday the 8th of March in the evening, in one of Clanomunny-fields, called Cledering-field; and that the said Ralph Kynaston had engaged fifty men with horses and arms, and that he would deliver them up to captain Edward Kynaston, of Clonomapis, in the county of Salop, for two days after, and after that time he would come unto them himself. This deponent consesseth, that the said Ralph Kynaston gave one shilling to himself, and one shilling to the said John Rogers, as engaging money; and this deponent saith, that it was spoke by mr. Kynaston to John Rogers and himself, that they should go to possess themselves of Chirke Castle; and in regard they spoke Welch, which he understands not, he can give no further account of any design, or what was discoursed, more than he hath related. That this deponent coming on thursday in the evening to an alehouse in Maesbrook, where he hoped to meet Ralph Kynaston, and there he saw Roger Jones, John Jones, David Owen, and Edward Owen his brother, who told this deponent, that they had sent to know Ralph Kynaston's intention touching the design; and not long after there came an answer by one Edward Edwards, servant to mr. Kynaston, who said, he ventured his life by swimming the river to prevent their going on, for that his master was betrayed; whereupon they all took their horses and went to their several habitations, as this deponent believeth. Being asked, whether the said persons had arms, he saith, that the said Roger Jones, John Jones, and the Owens, had arms. And further this deponent was not examined.
The examination and deposition of Edward Owen, of Maesbrook, aged *8 years. or thereabouts, taken upon oath at Shrewsbury, before me Humphrey Mackworth, esq; one of the justices of the peace for the county of Salop, this 7th of April 1655.
Saith, that mr. Ralph Kynaston sent twice to him to come and speak with him at Penny Park in Maesbrook, and that he did go accordingly on wednesday the 7th of March, and met him in the place aforesaid about eleven of the clock in the forenoon, at which time and place the said mr. Kynaston asked this deponent, whether he would go along with him. This deponent answered, he had no horse nor arms; the said mr. Kynaston said, he would give him arms compleat at the rendezvous on thursday night, and that next day he would send out warrants for horses, and this deponent should have a good horse; and the said mr. Kynaston further said, that he scorned to have any horse of his troop, which should not be worth ten pounds; and that for ought he knew, he was to go no farther than Chirke Castle, where he should command as governor, but that they were first to go to Shrewsbury; whereupon this deponent said, that the town of Shrewsbury would not be easily taken. Mr. Kynaston said to him, take no care, all will be our own, for a part of the army, almost half the army, were engaged in the same design. And the said mr. Kynaston promised him this deponent, that whilst he was worth a groat, this deponent should not be damnisied for so doing, if he would go along with him. The said mr. Kynaston sent to borrow a horse for this deponent of Thomas Tristram of Maesbrook, but it was denied; and this deponent going on thursday in the evening to the rendezvous in Cledering Field, in the parish of Clanomunny, in the company of Edward Jones, John Jones, and his brother David Owen, who rode behind one of them, was met by one upon the way who was called captain Tongue, who told this deponent and the rest, that he knew our design, and did advise us to turn back, and bid, that one Edward Jones, who was foremost, should be called back; whereupon they turned and rid before to an alehouse called Penny Park; and when this deponent came thither, the said captain John Tongue advised them to go with him to a party of three hundred horse which was three miles off, and he said that he would do his best endeavour to bring the said party to take the men come out of Montgomeryshire, and to bring them away with mr. Ralph Kynaston. The said captain Tongue went thereupon towards Boreacton. This deponent with the rest staying about an hour longer at that house, Edward Edwards, a servant to mr. Ralph Kynaston, came thither, and said he came from his master, who was secured; and did desire, that all his friends who were engaged in those parts would go home, for that they were all betrayed. This deponent being asked, whom he saw on wednesday the 7th of March (being the day whereupon mr. Kynaston engaged most of his men in his company) saith, that Arthur Vaughan and Edward Vaughan of Trererwyn were with the said mr. Kynaston, and that they came with him to Maesbrook, and returned with the said mr. Kynaston towards his own house. And being asked, who were going to the rendezvous, or at Penny Park, he saith, John Hammon came in, and said, if he could be accepted by mr. Kynaston, he would go with them, and that Edward Edwards of Osberton, Thomas Rogers of Maesbrook, Philip Shelvock and Richard Hughes, and the smith's servant of Kinally, whose name he knoweth not, and some others, whom he knoweth not, or where they lived, were likewise in the said house, all which company departed upon the coming of Edward Edwards, servant to mr. Kynaston, as is above mentioned and declared by this deponent. And further he was not examined.
The deposition of William Barkeley, of Shrewsbury in the county of Salop, gentleman, aged 17 years, or thereabouts, before William Crowne, esq; justice of the peace for the said county, and Charles Benyon, esq; one of the justices for the town and liberties of Shrewsbury, who deposeth as followeth:
That upon Thursday the 8th day of this instant, the day that sir Thomas Harris was brought in, upon communication with two of his fellow scholars upon the discovery of the plot, said, that mr. Thornes the elder, he verily believed, was one of them, and on the friday morning following, this deponent hearing that sir Thomas Harris was brought, as also the said mr. Thornes, the deponent answered, that it was not otherwise likely, but that his uncle, the said mr. Thornes, should have a hand in it; and the reason why this deponent said it was, for this deponent being at his grandmother's, the lady Corbet, about half a year ago, where the said mr. Thornes was there present, and upon conference with this deponent, calling him roundhead, the said mr. Thornes said, he hoped e're long the cavaliers would have the head. And further deposeth not.
A letter of intelligence from mr. Manning.
The designe was thus layd: A councill erected in London, consisting of earles, lords, gentry, lawyers, and divines, who have interest in all counties. The persons I cannot name, but have a care of Strafford, Earle, Posromor and Vaughan, lawyers, who designe all things. Persons employed are sworne not to discover any of them, and seldome any of them know more then one, and those hardly one another. They sitt somtimes in the Temple, and sometimes in London. The first care was, to fix in every countie some considerable and active persons; this don, then to provide armes; which don, then to treate with some persons of the army and late parliament party; which C. Grey, sir H. Benet and Brown, were ordered to doe. The account they gave was, that the levellers would engage, and Fairfax with his party by States i l d o m a n. Harrison, sir Charles Howard, sir Arthur Hazelrigg, and all that gange, with many of the Anabaptists, which Char. Stew. told mee. Now nothing but execution, which by some meanes was delayed, at which Ch. Stew. was impatient, and on severall expresses brought by C. Maning, Seymore, J. Trelawny, and Ross, and by Co. Pofromor, he sent Wilmot, Armourer, one mr. Halsey of the countie of Lancaster, and mr. Horwood of Oxf. &c. The Savoy is the rendesvous, and Chase's in Covent Garden. Hen. Seymore, Progers, Denham, play the courtiers; the ladies Thin and Shanon have their part, to carry letters, and goe up and down on errands. Ch. St. with Ormond and Blage, goe into Zealand. The duke of York prepares in France for the West, Ch. Stew, for Kent, or the northern counties. All letters are to Hyde. Wilmot goeth to London, and so into the north with Armourer. The Earl of Shonbergh raiseth 2000 foot in Germany, pretending for France.
For the countie of Devon, sir Tricourteny, sir H. Polarde, &c. engage for 3000 foot, and 800 horse. Sir Tricourteny, sir H. Tichbourne, Jepson and Sanbarm engage with Wiltshire, Dorsett and Somersett, to carry 1500 horse to sir H. Lendol. For Wales, earl Carberry, lord Sherbery; in Salop, earl of Shrewsbury, lord Nieuport, sir Vincent Corbett, sir H. Thin, sir Tho. Hares, &c. Midland counties, lord Will. Parham, sir William Compton, sir Robert Willis, sir Thomas Littleton, sir M. Hubevairt, sir Richard Paque, sent over to them, sir Thomas Mackworth, earle of Oxford, earle of Northampton. County of Worcester, Coventrie, Sam. Sands, Packington, sir Talbot Handring, Tonthet Counts, &c. Kent, lord Tuston, sir James Peyton, Thornill, sir Ja. Many Brochman, Washington, Judge Heath's sonn's, Hales, and scarce one out.
Cressett r m f s of Armourer, mr. Philips of Wilmott, you must be in apprehending as n m y lu st mr. Davision I forgott, and let all be mentioned in the summe; burn all for a good reason, which for my oath I cannot tell you.
J. Whitelock to secretary Thurloe.
In observance of your order, I have sent up mr. Rooks, the owner of that house (the order described) neer Margetts in Thanet, where I have quartered a party of horse, who scoure the coast constantly every high water. We have likewise searcht all the houses mentioned in his highnesse order, but found no person that we could any way judge to be suspicious in them. We have only two persons in custody; the one named mr. Levin Buskin was taken in mr. Rooke's house, whose kinsman he is, and brother-inlaw to major Boys of this country, who was formerly deputy governor of Dover Castle for the parliament; upon whose request I make bold to detain the said Buskin here, and shall give you a farther account both of him and the other, if their examinations afford any thing worth your notice. This is all at present from,
Canterbury, April 9, 1655.
Commissary general Reynolds to secretary Thurloe.
I have herewith sent the depositions taken in these parts concerning the late designe, which is to be thence collected more generally laide than is yet discovered. There are verry many persons fled from their houses, and by a former oath of secrecy, such as do sweare, judge themselves absolved, especially where it makes against themselves, the simplest countryman being lawyer enough to know the little difference between treason and misprision of treason. Sir Thomas Harris hath made an overture to discover his knowledge of the plot upon hopes of pardon, which I durst not assure, or give him assurance of my promise; but if it be judged fit, mr. Gilbert (a godly preacher in this county) will draw forth the whole upon such a promise, or if nothing of his owne confession may make against him upon a triall, he was propounded by a freind of sir Thomas Harris's to go to him, but his unwillingnes to undertake the emploiment without some hopes of a pardon to answer his expectation hath delaied for the present such an assay: until it be knowne, whether you want cleare information of the plot, without torture, or hopes of pardon, it will not be confessed by any, who know the bottom of the designe.
Sir, I received his highnes command from you, and shall in obedience thereunto bee in
London (if God permit) on thursday; in regard I come not post, it will not be sooner,
and I hope it is soone enough. Although I should equalize any of your messengers in
hast, when I am commanded, yet I am well content to go soberly, when I may be permitted by my busines. I hope things are setled enough at present, but the affaires of
these parts will deserve consideration. Dissatisfaction and disaffection are words hard
enough. I shall not detaine you any longer, but humbly kissing his highnes hands, and
beseeching the Lord long to continue him a nursing father to the good people of the three
nations under his highnes happy governement, and a terrour to all his enemies, I take
leave, and remaine,
Salop, Aprill 9, [1655.]
Nieuport, the Dutch embassador, to the protector.
The subscribed extraordinary embassador of the lords the states general of the United Provinces hath lately received especial order of the said lords the states general, whereby it is desired, that he should use his best endeavours to obtain from his most serene highness the same protection for some of their subjects, as merchants and factors residing here in London, and being members of the society of the entercourse, as they have always enjoyed under former governments; or that at least nothing may be decreed, order'd, or innovated to their prejudice, 'till his most serene highness and the said lords the states general do both consider and agree, concerning the court of the merchants adventurers in the said United Provinces, and also of the said society of the entrecourse here in London: and beseecheth therefore most instantly, that it may please his most serene highness seriously to ponderate the contents of the annexed petition, and graciously to order, that the soldiers quartered in their several dwelling places may be removed, and that those, that are charged with the collection of the last assessment and parish offices, being a meer novelty, and never practised before, may be discharged thereof; assuring his most serene highness, that no such proceedings are used in the said United Provinces against any of the people of this commonwealth. Given at Westminster, this 0/20th of April, 1655.
To the most serene his highness the lord protector of the commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.
That by several treaties between this nation and the princes of the Netherlands and their successors (chiefly that of ann. 149 5/6.) the petitioners have been exempted from all personal taxes whatsovever; and being assessed amongst others, immediately relieved by privy seal and otherwise, 'till these late times, notwithstanding the several changes of government in both countries.
And the merchants adventurers of England residing in one town of the Low Countries have likewise enjoyed the same privileges and immunities, yet in a more ample and larger manner, they paying nothing at all for importation of their cloth; and all other English merchants (not free of that society) living in the same countries and elsewhere are treated equally with the natives thereof, and have been always protected in their persons and estates, notwithstanding the wars; whereas the petitioners living in London, as also all foreigners in this commonwealth pay double custom of their goods and merchandizes exported, and one fourth part more, of goods imported, than the natives, besides divers taxes to the city of London, from the which the natives are exempted. This being indeed the ground of so long continuance in exemption from personal taxes, they are most confident, that your highness will not suffer they shall be abridged thereof, but rather continue your favour towards them in relation or respect of the late reunion between both states; but if your highness were pleased, they might be used in all respects equal with the natives, they would deem themselves happy, and willingly do as they do, which would be but equity.
That some of the petitioners have been lately chosen collectors of assessments and parish offices, a novelty never practised before, and impertinent, to impose on foreigners, that know no more how to behave themselves in the dûe execution thereof than meer strangers.
The petitioners finally present themselves and their case to your highness, and do most humbly submit their said claim to be examined by your highness and your council, to stand and fall as shall appear from the treaties ex una & altera parte, and all practice and usage all along on both parts; and humbly beseech your highness's protection, clemency and justice (according to the said entercourse, and the several confirmations thereof, 'till these later times) against any rigorous proceedings against them and their factors, in relation of assessments or otherwise, 'till the affair be fully understood and determined by your highness and your council; and that in the mean time such soldiers, as are quartered on the petitioners, may be immediately withdrawn.
A letter of intelligence from mr. Manning to secretary Thurloe.
By the last post I sent you an answer to yours by the former, and was faine for want of the cipher I desired from you, to send my man purposely to Dunkirque to put itt into the male; as also I am this, and realy I dare not write soe much as I should without itt; yet, sir, much I must adventure, being of the present season. I am glad, and much rejoice in the late signall mercyes of God, which doe confirme me in my resolutions of being steadily your most devoted servant; and I humbly thank you for your kinde expressions and assurances to me. Sir, not to interrupt your most serious thoughts, att present take this accompt; the last post's newes soe startled the gentleman I last mentioned, that he resolved on as secret a retrate to his German quarter, as was his flight from thence; and accordingly on thursday last he tooke his journey, and left all but a servant or two in these parts, with a charge that we should remaine private 4 or 5 dayes longer, and then with privacey take our journey to him; but, sir, this day is come an express from the midland and associatt counties, with some offers to him, if he will immediately head a party there, which I know he is ready and very desirous to doe any where and on any termes. Therefore it behooves you to be most carefull, and all the hints I shall at this time give you of it is, that Willoughby of Parham, Oxford, sir William Cumpton, sir Richard Willis, and sir Thomas Litleton, are the most eminent relyed on. Fairefax is much exclaimed against, as that he hath not performed and kept his promisses in any thing. These hints you may make use of with much confidence, and assure yourself I have not, neither ever will I write you any sillable of an untruth. This packett you will find letters sent to make as if the king landed at Ostend from England, and of divers others which are still there, and only meant as a blinde. Now I conceive you ought to use all care that may be to apprehend Wilmott, Dan. O Neile, and one major Armerer, who when your last post came were all in London, and as neere as I can guess, you may finde them at one mr. Markham's house in the Savoye, the lord Lumley's, or some of those places, which I know to be their haunts, and I am sure mr. John Denham, mr. Edward Proger, and mr. Henry Seymoure doe know where they are, and privy to their business; also one colonel Palmer, that went over with them, is in London. You will finde him at one Huntley's house by the name of John Wood over against the Horse-shoe Tavern in Drury-lane, or at his wife's, or one Jackson's, a farrier, near Strand Bridge. Sir, I write thus much, being I wishe a setled peace in my country; and since the Lord is pleased to cast downe one, that the other may be setled with peace, and the nation freed from dayley murthers; yett I am confident, by clemencey his higheness may gaine more freinds, then by force or by rigoure of justice. Now, sir, I have some requests in my owne behalf; 1. That you would make the uses proper for my letters, but keep them private, and never admit them to be publique, or any thing of them to be committed to the press. Next, as I have throwne myself into your armes, that you would have a care of my preservation. Then, that having expended much money, that you would speedily send me a supply; and if you have not by the last post, not to faile me by this; for realy I am out above 200 l. in itt only, besides my ordinary expence. Next, that you would this time write to me yourself, and be very careful how you write, and if you have not by the last post, send me by this bills for money, your cipher and an unsuspicionable address for my letters to you, to some merchant in London, I mean under a cover to him, and address'd to you, by what name you shall appoint, but not by your owne. After this I will desire noe other trouble from you, but that your man every week give me notice of your receipt of my letters, and send me a newes book; only when you have any thing to command, then, that you mention it yourself to me in cipher. I will finde some excuse to attend hereabouts, 'till the next post after this, for your answer, and then will I give you notice of the receipt of yours with the cipher and bills, as also a punctuall address for your letters to me. Let the money you send me be made payable to one mr. John Clotterbook, but I begg your circumspection and care in the management of every particular, and assure yourself there is none shall and will more considerably serve you, than, sir,
Your affectionate humble servant,
I pray, this weeke send your letters, one inclosed (only addressed for me by the name I now write sealed) and put into a cover, addressed for mr. John Botler, merchant in Dunkirque, the duplicate as formerly, to mr. Clotterbooke at Bruges; but the letter addressed to me, and inclosed only in a cover to him; for the last was directed absolutely to him, soe that it was opened, and might have bin prejudiciall to me, had you not writt clandestinely. I pray, saile me not of a possitive answer by the next, being I only attend it, and let itt be full in every particular. I begg you excuse my hasty scribling, and take notice, that I forgott to tell you, that Linn, Bostorne, or Yarmouth are the chiefest places aymed att.
Col. Ireland to the protector.
May it please your highness,
Thursday last I met with captain Spillman at Frodsham in Chesheire, wheare received his good assistance in the examination of coll. Werden, which heare inclosed I have sent your highnes. My lord, wee adventured to take security of 2000 l. for his appearance before your highnes, or the councell, which we conceiving sufficient for the rendering of himselfe, wee were the rather induced thereunto by reason of the horses wearynes by the late marches. The rest of the gentlemen will be up this week, or the begining of the next.
The judges to the sollicitor general.
With our respects remembered, wee being mett at Yorke upon this great affair, which occasions your comeing downe, have thought fitt to give you notice, before you be knowne to come into the country, how our business lies here.
Wee received the commissions at Yorke upon saturday last, with a letter from the counsell, to appointe our first meeting to sitt upon mounday now next comeing; which, as the case then stood, and still standes, could not be donne, for the assizes not being then nor yet ended, the new commissions could not be medled withall for feare of determining the old, and soe have overthrowne the whole businesse of the assizes.
And secondly, because there was not, nor could be fifteene days betwixt the summons and retorne, as by law ought to be. And further upon the conference, which wee have had, we conceive it will be fitt for you to peruse the matter of fact, and then to consider of the whole bussinesse together, and then wee desire you to signifie your mind to colonel Lilburne, which we shall attende to know. So rest
Col. Rob. Lilburne to secretary Thurloe.
According to your directions I sent to baron Thorpe, who came immediately and conferred with the other judges, and by this inclosed you may perceive how the case stands. And I must tell you, I finde them all of opinion, that they cannot well proceed to any purpose before the next tearme overtake them: that is one reason; and indeed another is, as I observe, a doubtfulnes, whether in point of law, this matter of facte can, according to law, bee declared by them to be treason. I am loath to say, they are doubtful, whether you have throughly weighed all scruples, or taken such advice as is necessary, that is to say, consulted with the judges in this weighty case, wherein if there should be any lamenes, or so much knottines, that the naile cannot bee driven into the head, it were better not to enter upon it in this way.
These and some other thinges I am goeing to conferre with mr. sollicitor about, before hee come into this country, that if he bee not satisfyed with the clearnes of them, they rather advise his forbearance some time longer, then to appeare in the country, and not bringe thinges to a seasonable issue. I thinke to meet the sollicitor at Bautry or Scruby on thursday, and to take mr. Barnarde with me, if he come to night, or to morrow by twelve a clocke, with such matter of fact as can bee made out against any of those rebells, and from thence give you a further accompt.
As for jurors, happily the law may give liberty to choose them without the liberties of this citty, both fact and act riseing in the county, and then we shall doe pretty well; but if otherwise, there shall bee no diligence or care wanting to picke upp such as are right; though I have given his highnes a hinte of the temper of the magistrates here, that are to doe that worke; and I am still doubtful some are in commission, for all the care you tooke, that are not only lukewarm, but indeed parties, against whom there are some informations; nor have you pitched upon some councell, that I dare passe my word for, will bee cordiall to you in this affaire, and to put trust in any to act against their judgment, and that may betray such a cause as this in such a juncture of time, you may easily judge the consequence. Certainely mr. Shastoe is not principled any manner of way for this worke, though I am loath to expresse it; but if you will have him, there is time enough to send to him. Mr. Hewly, I thinke, is well affected and ingenious, and I hope will doe well; but then you must put him out of commission. Your list of prisoners will be much enlarged, and many besides that are fled will be proceeded against. If you please to send an expresse in answer hereof, happily it may reach the sollicitor or mee at Doncaster on friday, and from thence we may send to barron Thorpe to meet us peradventure at the high sheriffe's, that we may consider altogether a little further of this weighty matter, wherein if we should be soiled, we had better do nothing. But this take for granted, there is no intention to proceede until fifteen dayes summons. What the judges will doe in the interim, I know not. Since my writeing the former part, mr. Barnarde is come, and I have been with the judges with him, and have considered of sending him to morrow to Grantham, to give the sollicitor an account of the judges opinion and advice, from whom I doubt not but you will hear speedily, and then may direct further instructions, as shall be thought fit, wherein there may be noe loss of time, either as to mr. sollicitor, or mr. Barnarde; for if the sollicitor send an express to the judges, and give advice to them to issue out precepts, it will be done; but I heartily with, whoever is intrusted in this matter, may be thoroughe paced. I remaine
Mr. Bradshaw, resident at Hamburg, to the protector.
May it please your highnesse,
Haveinge received copies of a remonstrance and petition, lately presented to your highnes by some few disaffected merchants and apprentises, scandalously chargeing mee (as a corrupt and seduced person) to have infringed the rights and privileges of the company of merchants adventurers, and to have introduced an arbitrary power over them, for noe other reason, that I know of, but onely because I have truely (and when I was by them enforced, except I would be false to my trust) remonstrated unto your highnes the misdemeanors and pernicious practices of some of them and their party, I find myselfe necessitated to appeare in this publick manner, to wipe off those aspersions, wherewith my adversaries have taken the boldnesse from some encouragment they have had, to bespatter me even in your highnesses presence, most humbly offeringe the inclosed answer for my just defence before your highnes; and desiringe justice for my due vindication, which, I presume, my faithfull services to your highnes and the commonwealth, ever since I had the honor of that employment, will merit for me; as I shall most chearfully submit to your highnes censure, if I be found guilty of what is charged upon me by those remonstrators, whose actions and practices bespeake the good affection and dutiful obedience to your highnes, they so much boast of, in part set forth in the annexed narratives of their deportment, which I humbly beg your highnes will please to take into your consideration, together with the answer, which the well affected merchants of the company at Hamburgh, in duty most humbly by the company at London tender unto your highness, to clear themselves of the scandalous untruths charged also upon them by those remonstrators.
Cravinge pardone for the trouble of this divertion, to which those disaffected men and
their abettors have enforced me, I shall waite your highnes pleasure, and sincerely approve
myselse, however I am rendered by my adversaries for it,
Hamb. April 10, 1655.
Mr. attorney general Prideaux to secretary Thurloe.
I Conceaved it necessary, as often as occasion was offered for conveyance, to give you an accompt of our proceedings here. Yesterday wee spent the whole day in agreeing against whome proceedings should bee, for what offences, and in what manner; the result whereof you will see in the list inclosed. Diverse of those, which wee receaved from you, were and are at large, whome wee intend to indict, and to proceed against them to the utlary. Some of those in your list are not soe much as knowne here, their names nor persons; soe as those wee are necessitated to omitt. Others though wee finde in prison here, yet wee cannot prove any offence against them in this county; but they were sent hither by the souldiers; and the offences (if any) were committed in the county of Dorset. Others wee finde so inconsiderable in theire persons, judgments, and estates, as that by consent of the justices of the peace (who have been very active in preparing evidence, and assisting us with theire best advice and direction) and the officers of the army here, wee have thought fitt not to proceed against them, but rather reserve some of them for testimony, who accuse diverse persons, that denyed themselves to have been in this action; and wee have in the place of those omitted, putt in diverse others, who by consent of the justices of peace and the officers of the army, are agreed to bee sturdy and notorious offenders, and that it were a good service to quit the country of them. Wee did likewise conceave it necessary, though we could have proceeded against all for treason, yet to make examples of all sorts, some for breaking the goale, and thereby letting free many felonious offenders; others for Burglaryes, breaking houses, and taking away horses; others for robbing upon the highway; others for treason; and others, if the evidence will come to it, for misprision of treason. The indictment wee have agreed; it was left with mr. baron Nicholas, who hath appoved of it likewise; but I am afraid of my lord chief justice. Wee expect the judges here this night, and wee are ready for the proceedings to-morrow. I have not farther to trouble you, but to subscribe myselfe
The grand inquest are now examining the witnesses upon the indictment against Robert Mason, Thomas Curre, John Deane, Gabriell Pyle, John St. Lowe, sir John Moore, and John Kensey; and Deane is to bee tryed this afternoone, if the grand Jury finde the bill. The evidence appears to bee very full on this bill also. The grand jury were all fully satisfied on the former bill, and brought it in, in a very short tyme.
The protestants of the vallies of Piedmont to monsieur de Servien, the French embassador.
We have newly received that, wherewith your excellency hath had the goodness to honour us, bearing date the 18th of this instant, and have hearkened with all respect to the learned discourse, which the gentleman your secretary hath made unto us upon it. We do adore divine providence, which hath put into the hearts of many potentates to take pity of us, and to lay balsam to our wounds: above all, we cannot turn our eyes towards that great and most christian monarch, who doth vouchsase to mediate to his royal highness, for our re-establishment, without admiring the glittering and heroic virtues of that fine rising sun, confessing that all christendom, and we especially, have great cause continually to pray to the divine majesty, that he would be pleased to dissipate all clouds and confusions, which may overcast and obscure it's fine aspects, and all the ill and bad conjunctures, which may divert the sweet influences upon our hemisphere. There is nothing in the world, which we love so much as peace, and nothing, which we do more religiously observe, than the obedience due to those, whom God hath set over us. We do believe, that the rebellion and disobedience against the higher powers cannot be followed but with divine malediction, and that those that are guilty of it ought to be had in execration with all good souls. In this opinion we should judge our selves unworthy of theirs, if we were fallen from our obedience, as we are charged in the patent of amnesty, which hath been presented unto us. Against which we do always protest before God and the world our innocency, having not a drop of blood, which we are not willing to spill for a pawn of our fidelity and obedience to our prince. Although that in the same amnesty which the clemency of his most christian majesty hath procured of his royal highness in our behalves, we do see many conditions built upon some presuppositions, which cannot be allowed of, when things shall be nakedly laid open, hoping that they will not make many ill impressions upon the mind, since that we can protest before God and his holy angels, that it is with a very great regret, that we were forced to take up arms to oppose those, who against his intention have burnt our houses, and so strangely desolated our families, and to endeavour to turn them out of the inheritances of our fathers, which their ancestors did get with so much pains, and as well as ourselves, sweat blood to support all the charges; protesting that it was never our intention to take them up against his royal highness, and that we are ready to change them into mattocks, if it pleaseth the goodness and equity of his royal highness, to remit all things to the same condition, wherein they were put and preserved by his most serene predecessors of glorious memory, as he was pleased to promise us by the decree which he granted unto us of the last of September 1653, which is likewise all that we demand, having never had the presumption to proceed any further. There is only required, that some persons of integrity may be had to judge thereof at the reading of the concessions; yea, of the testimonies, which all adjacent roman catholicks have given upon them, of the registers of the communalties, and all other publick acts and proofs, the most authentick which can be exacted, which we have often produced and remitted. We shall accept and receive with profound respect, whomsoever his majesty shall be pleased to depute for that end; and we shall earnestly and humbly pray, that all things may be examined at the meeting of the lords embassadors of all other powerful sovereigns, who do us likewise the favour to interest themselves, and to interpose for us, without the participation of whose counsel we are not at liberty to do any thing, not being able first to resolve to accept the habitation only in the territories named in the patents, which are newly communicated unto us, wherein the same was never restrained, whilst that the same is forbidden us in many other territories, where we had always equal right and usage, nor to deprive us of the right legally obtained to rebuild several churches, which can in no wise be justly disputed with us, and yet forbidden in the said writing. We do therefore most humbly beg, that time and place unsuspected may be appointed, where we may safely confer with the lords the mediators, give them to understand our ancient rights and privileges, to which we have always held, and do still hold; and the great hurts, which we pretend to have received against the intention of their R. H. of whose goodness and clemency we have such a persuasion, that we are assured, that they never had an intention, that we should be so dealt withal; leaving the decision of all to the said mediators, and passionately desiring nothing more, but that we may peaceably serve God and our sovereigns in all fidelity and humility; praying for this effect most humbly and most earnestly, as much as is possible, that his most christian majesty would be pleased for the love of God not to desist from his worthy undertaking, 'till that business be first known and decided. He will receive thereby glory before God and the whole world, and we will not cease to pray for the prosperity of his sacred person, of his states, his arms, and his royal house, and for that of your excellency in particular.
My lord, we do give you infinite thanks for all your good care, and do pray you to press and hasten this good work; but so that there may be more safety for the following treaties, than there hath been hitherto; for there was never yet any conference for a truce or peace since the begining of these troubles, but at the same time they did endeavour to surprize us; and no longer ago than yesterday, whilst that your secretary made a great instance to have on the one side all the chiefest and the most of our people to speak unto them on the behalf of the king and your excellency, they did all that they could on the other hand to endeavour to destroy what was lest of ours, and to burn the remainder of our houses.
For conclusion of this present, we are ready to accept with all possible acknowledgment the peace, which the clemency of his R. H. doth agree unto us, through the efficacious interposition of his most christian majesty, provided that such things may be observed and kept, which his said majesty and the lords embassadors of other powers, who do interest themselves for our good (after we have been heard) shall judge just and equitable; and to this end, we do humbly beg again, that time, place and means may be given us to confer with them, which we do also hope to obtain through the favour of your excellency, since we are your excellency's
Bordeaux to his son, the French embassador in England.
I saw this morning his eminence, who doth expect with impatience the return of the express, which he sent unto you, to know how that hath been received. He told me, that he believed you would finish the peace, in regard you had orders to desist from all that the court here stood so much upon; and as I have formerly writ oftentimes unto you, you are not to break with precipitation; and that you should delay all that you can, to come to a good conclusion. This did the earl of Brienne likewise assure me, that it would make more for the advantage of France, and you would gain more honour in delaying your business than by breaking off on the sudden.
I saw this morning monsieur Ariste, who told me, that you have two orders, the one, to conclude or to break suddenly, the other, to demand audience to take your leave, in case of a rupture; and in regard I did represent unto him, that they might delay you for some time before, they gave you your audience, and that his eminence had told me eight days ago, that if so be they did refuse to give you audience, that you were to come away without leave, after you had declared it to your commissioners; the said monsieur Ariste did then declare unto me, that it was very true, you had an order of the king sent you to break, and another order to demand audience to take your leave; but in case they did deny you the said audience, that before you were to take the resolution of your departure, you were to give advice thereof, to have the order of the king upon it, which is to be your sole discharge. I believe you will be no more troubled to come to these extremities, since that your treaty is renewed, and that the conclusion thereof is so much desired by this court.
Fleetwood, lord deputy of Ireland, to secretary Thurloe.
It seemes colonell John Birch, after the desolution of the last parliament, was pleased to cause severall transcripts to be made, as the house had agreed for the settlement of the government, which, as I am informed, were to be spread where he thought sitt to dispose of them; amongst which there was one member, that served for Ireland, who was dissatisfied, brought one of them, and lending it to an officer of this army at Chester, who not well understanding what the intention of it might be, gave it unto me, and shall keep it by me. There was several bookes, the subject whereof was dissatisfaction to the present government. The person, to whom they were sent, was so honest as to informe concerning them, and so I have supprest them. I should be very glad to heare, that this late signall appearance of the Lord might have this effect upon us all, to teach us to walk in more humility and dependence upon him, and with love one to another. I know not what is intended as to affairs in Ireland; but in particular as to that of reducement, if any thing of that nature be intended, and not suddenly resolved, it will be a great prejudice to the state, and a great inconveniency to the particular persons, whose lott it will be to be reduced, some of the chief officers having lately sent to his highness for my brother Cromwell's coming over, which hath long been by me expected; and let men say what they will, he will find welcome here; the sooner he comes the better, for I have some thoughts, if the Lord bless me and my dear wife with health, to march into the country, in order to the better settlement of affaires. I should be glad he were here before that time, as also what concerns us might be dispatched. Your care herein I desire, who am