A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 4, Sept 1655 - May 1656. Originally published by Fletcher Gyles, London, 1742.
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November (1 of 8)
Mr. R. Lawrence to the protector.
May it please your highnes,
My last was of the 5th of October adviseing, that one Edward Major, a vice-consull at Galleppolla haveinge some pretence made upon him by the cadde of that place, came up to the porte, and gets a command from the vizere unto the cadde, wherein he commands the cadde to lay aside those his pretences: insteade of giveing obedience thereunto, hee causes the man to be layd downe before him, and beaten with 79 blowes; and afterwards put him into the hand of the subbasha, who kept him sume tyme after a prisoner, and forced him to pay fiveteene crownes, according to the custome of the country.
The 13th sir Thomas Bendish wente unto the vizere, where hee complained both of the mony taken from Roger Fowke by the basha of Cyprus, of which I formerlie gave your highnes an account, as alsoe of the abuse offered unto Edward Major, as is above sayd.
To the first the basha being called to answer, refused to come in person, but appoynts an assigne, who denyes that ever the basha receaved any mony, yet afterwards confest, that there was such a sume taken and given to the souldiers of that place, soe they shall have a command unto the tefterdar of that iland to repay it againe.
And as for Edward Major's busines, which more imediatelie conscernes the vizere, hee told sir Thomas Bendish, that hee could not put out the cadde, but hee would send unto the mustee aboute it: afterwards sir Thomas Bendish wente unto the muftee, who told him, that hee could not meddle with it, but hee would send unto the muftee, that was Munsuld, but as yet nothing was done.
As yet here is not any newes of the Venetians taking Maluasia, but the Turkes much feare it; yet those greate gunns, which were carried from hence were soe placed upon the maine, that they caused the Venetian fleete to remove. And the Venetian attempting some things upon the Morea was beaten with loss.
The capt. Basha's galleyes are at Negro-ponto haveing sente most of his men near Malvasia, at which place the Turke hath a verie greate army in hope to releeve it. But that place joyning with the maine with no parte of it but by a bridge of 18 arches, which bridge the Venetian hath brokne downe, it is thought the Turkes will not bee able to doe ought.
Hasan aga being againe recruited is come to Coma, intending to come for this porte; and his demand is satisfaction for the blood of Ipsher basha. The Tarter having assisted the kinge of Polland with fifty thousande horse and foote hath forced the emperour of Muscovia to retreate from Camanekza, which place he had longe beseidged.
In May I writ your highnes, that sir Thomas Bendish and Jonathan Dawes, when they wente unto the vizere aboute the Tunis busines, had some private discourse with him, which they pretended was mater of state, and soe not fit for the nation to here. Now as I have since been credibly informed, the greatest parte of that mater of state was to contrive a way to have sente mee of the place, but it would not take; the vizere durst not atempt it. No meanes nor waies hath bine omited to effect that designe, but hitherto it hath not takne.
The 5th of October I advised, that there was a new basha sente here for Argeere, and on that shipp departed those, which were here to lament aboute the Tunis busines. The Turkes did then reporte, that the Venetians had left Malvasia.
This is the sume of what I then writ your highnes. Since which have certaine advice, that the Venetian hath left Malvasia. The reason thereof is sayd to be chieflie upon sume discontent amoungst themselves; the Turkes being brought to that straight for wante of bread, that in few dayes they must have bine forced to set open the gates.
Since the Venetians departure from thence the capt. basha hath bine there, who hath caused eighteene of the Greeks of that place to bee hanged, and forty in fifty of them to bee put into the galleyes, under a pretence of haveinge furnished the Venetian with provision.
Hee came in here the 11th of October. Since his comeing in the Turkes looke not with soe pleasant a countenance upon the Venis bayley as formerly they did; and on the 13th they seized on some of the bayleye's leters; but they being in cypher the Turkes could make nothing of them, yet put him in soe much danger, that all his servants fleed from him; but the French ambasador soone made up the breach, soe that his servants returned againe the next day; and sence all things are well with him. Yet were it not for the French ambasador, hee would pass but ill, for the condition or nature of the Turke is such, that soe long as any nation are in a capasitie to doe him harme, he is verie curteous; but where hee getts a litle victorie, or conceives, that a people are inferior to him, then is hee very insolente.
Morat Basha is latelie dead at Damascus. The newes thereof being sente unto Hasan aga with a promise of a basha leeke hath caused him to retreat; soe all is now in peace for the present. But a change of officers is suddainly like to bee.
The 25th of October sir Thomas Bendish visited the capt. basha, who receaved his present verie kindlie, as they doe alwayes. Hee prayed, that one Geo. Davis, sonn to him, who was Charles Stuart's barber, and last yeare takne by the Turkes in the Venis service, that hee might bee free for mony; but as yet nothinge is donn therein.
Those, which were here from Tunis to lament of what there past, are departed hence, yet have left those here, who are to prosecute that busines, whenever occasion offers. And the often change of vizers puts us in a continuall doubt; for if one doe not question us for that act, another may; and wee doe but all this while put a false skinn upon the soare; for soe soone as the Turke finds himselfe in a condition to cali us in question, rest confident, hee will doe it; for certainlie it cannot bee imagined, that the Turke should have his castle beatne downe and plundred, his men slaine and maimed, his shipps burnt, his fleet pretended to bee overthrowne for wante of those shipps, and say litle or nothing to it, but that hee finds himselfe not in a condition to doe it, as they have sundry tymes told those, who were here to complaine. Therefore I still humbly offer it to your grave consideratione, whether it might not now bee a convenient tyme for your highnes to send your ambasador, and renew your capitulations with the Turke, while hee is low; least if he should either make a peace with the Venetian, or bee setled in themselves, those things, which might now bee obtain'd with ease, might then prove more difficult, especially seeing neither the persons of your subjects in this place, nor theire estates can be safe without it. And wherein I may bee usefull in the accomplishing of ether that or any other your highnes comands, I shall according to my duty use my utmost indeavour.
In my last I writ your highnes, that one Edward Major vice-consull of Galleppola had bine abused by the cadde of that place. The mustee hath since displact him, being glad of the occasion, that soe hee might get mony by puting a new one in his place, all those places being sold for mony.
Mr. E. Rolt to secretary Thurloe.
Be pleased to be advertised, that after allmost six weekes tedious and expensive abode in this place, wayting all that while for a convenient oppertunity to come up to the king, which I hoped to have done with the rix-chancellor, whoe hath received commands from the king his master to come to him; which soe soone as I heard, I went to lett him know my desire, and resolution to goe with him; but hee shewed some un willingnesse to have either mee, or any other publick minister to accompany him in his journey; the reason whereof, as I conjecture, is, because of the king's noe desire at present to have any publicke persons about him to interrupt him in the multitude of busynes, which is now incumbent uppon him; the truth of which surmise I am not able to affirme, nor what other reall cause there is of such shynes, but that reason seemed to me soe little satisfactory, that I was bold to presse the earnest desire I have to performe the businesse of my imployment with what convenient speede I may; whereuppon hee did seeme at last with much freedome to assent, and advised me to advance one day before him with the armie under the command of general Stenbuck, (which was left by the king, when he went from this place, in Marovia five miles from hence) and that the next day he would not faile to call one mee, and take mee with him, which he accordingly did, but withall told mee, that that very evening he had received order from his master to stopp the march of general Stenbuck's armye, and himselfe to come a post to the king, whoe (he pretends) is advanceing into these partes, and he thereuppon did advise me to retourne back to this place, promising mee, that he would not only advertise me, but allsoe send me a sufficient convoy to come away to the king, if he came not to Warsaw in 7 or 8 days; whereupon (though unwillingly) I was forced to assent, and came backe to this place, expecting the performance of his promise. The towne and castle of Cracowe is taken, and divers of the great men and captaines have submitted to the king of Sweden, the king of Poland being gone out of his kingdome; and as we were informed heere, not many dayes since he was with his queene in little Glogow in Silecia. The 17th instant an abbat of the Greeke church (in the Cozzacks countery) as an ambassador from generall Smelinske being convoyed with about 2000 Cozzacks to the bankes of the Vistula in sight of this towne, came attended hether by 20 or 30 persons, the rest of his traine being left beehind uppon the other side of the river. The end of his embassy I cannot learne, but he seemeth very faire, and pretendeth a great desire of amity, and good correspondency betweene the king and his master, the truth whereof a very short time, I suppose, will discover. The rest of the Cozzacks armie, reported to be very strong, is lying about Zeamowschy in Russia Rubra, uppon the borders of Poland not farre from Lublin. This is all at present of either probability or certainty, that I am able to present your honour with, having largely written before of all other occurrences, which happened since my departure from England; but I can scarce hope, that they are come to your hands, which I am perswaded to thinke, having not beene soe happy as to receive any letters from you since yours of the 10th of August, which came to me at Stettin. I know your honour's affection and care over me (which by God's grace I shall study to deserve,) and I know the iniquity of the time and place, where I am; whereuppon I must lay my just feare of miscarriage, and submitt with pacience. I have therefore iterated what I have formerly written, that (if possibly) your honour may at some time or other have notice of my present state and condition. One thing more, sir, and I have done, which is to give you an accompt of the cause of my pressing to goe with the chancellor from hence to the king, though he did shew his unwillingness; first, because not only by report, but upon the probable judgment of affaires heere, the king may not retourne hether suddenly. Secondly, because of my great expences, which I desire to shorten by a quicke dispatch of my busines, which otherwise will not be avoided. Thirdly, to performe my duty in that, about which I have beene sent. And lastly, the desire I have to quitt my selfe of the trouble I have to follow an armie in such a countery as this, and likewise the danger, of both which I have large experience; but alsoe the longing desire I have (if his highnesse please to call me home) to performe that service and dutie I owe to his person, to whome I am soe highly obliged by grace, and nature, and honourable favour. The daylie great expence, which I am necessitated to ly under in this countery, especially for carryage, hath embolden'd me to take uppe a 1000 dollars uppon credit given me by mr. Bradshaw, the resident at Hamburg; which presumption I hope your wonted goodness towards me will not only endeavour to excuse, but allsoe uppon this my humble suit you will be pleased carefullie to preserve my credit therein by a sudden repaiment of the same; and likewise if my abode in this place must continue longer then I doe expect, you will be farther pleased by a line or two to signifie, where and how I may be supplyed for the future; for if I doe not some way or other heare from you, I shall be inevitably driven to such straights, as I am fully perswaded you would very unwillingly see me undergoe. Thus with my humble service presented I leave farther to trouble your honour.
An intercepted letter.
I Received yours last night, but received none in two weeks before. They are mightily curious here in prying into letters, but yours will come safest by this last address; for by what name soever you write, I must acquaint the post-master with it, and his knavery I suspect most. All I expect to know from you is, what your friends will do in that particular business. I am confident, if I could speak with them, I could give them entire satisfaction, if they have a mind to receive any; but in these times I will not venture to say many things, that might be greatly usefull to you. The Brandenburger is working himself into power, but will stand at gaze, till he see what final success the Swede hath. The Swede goes on victoriously, but plays a game at great hazard; for if his foot slip, all the world will be upon his back. The emperor arms apace, and will labour to get footing in Poland. The general peace is in great likelihood to be concluded, but wise men believe, that it will fail, as it hath done many times formerly.
The dons would fain have peace with England. The king's party believe the Spaniard will close roundly with them; but others think the Spaniard will move slowly. Some say, they will open their havens to men of war set out with the king of England's commissions, and will labour to draw off ships by correspondencies upon that account, supposing the English seamen may practice once again their old discontents. This, I suppose, will be the way of the war, which cannot much prejudice England, except there be great discontents at home.
Lord Broghill to secretary Thurloe.
The first of thos two things I doe intend to trouble you withall, is concerninge the
judges; the last is concerninge the ministers, which I have presumed to write to
his highness in; and because I have alreddy detayned you soe longe, and am not my self
well, I shall beg your pardon, if I presume to remitt the information therein to this inclosed letter to his highness; which, if you thinke fit, be pleased to seall and deliver it,
if not, to burne it. I shall the next weeke give you an accounte of our retrenchment of
the civill list, wherein we have used what good husbandry we could, at lest all within the
Edenb. Nov. 1, 55.
Sir Tho. Bendyshe, embassador at Constantinople, to secretary Thurloe.
Since the dispatch of my last letters, beeing of the 25th of October, to my lord protector and your selfe, some passages have here fallen out, which I shall onely impart to your selfe, beeing unwilling so soone to trouble his highnes with more letters.
The citty and factory of Aleppo beeing made very happy in the injoyment of a good bassa (by name Mustapha) ever since Ipsher bassa had left that place, about the latter end of September, a command was sent from this port to dismisse him, and receive one Sidé Achmet bassa in his roome, who has sent his mussalim or deputy thither for that end, and was received accordingly; and the good bassa prepared to be gone, when the cruelty and wickednes of him that was to come, and the moderation of the present bassa beeing by the cadde, mustee, and the learned of their laws, and by all the grandees of Aleppo, together with the militia of both spahees and janizaries taken into deepe consideration at a general assembly, and withall, that he had bin driven out of Morash (where he was bassa) for his tyrany; and since that, was refused both at Conea and elsewhere, for which places he had procured commands as well as for Aleppo; they all mett againe upon the first of October in another great assembly at the caddee's, and their unaminously resolved and agreed to refuse Sidé Achmet bassa, as other places had done, and to send their generall petition and reasons to the grand signor, and thrust his mussalim out of the city, which accordingly they did with threats, that if he remained thereabouts till night, they would cutt him in pieces; so he imediately departed, to tell his master of his successe, (who is reported to have 3000 soldiers attending on him) and the old bassa resolved to continue with them, untill the issue of their supplica to this port might be knowne. Now this bassa proving to be a confederate with Hasan-aga, the rebell in Asia, to whome (as in my letter to his highnes) the grand signor had sent his hattsheriffe, and the spahees, janazaries, and mulaws, (or men of the law) three persons of quality to command, and advise him to lay downe his armes, before the hattsheriffe or they could arrive to him, he was departed with his army towards Aleppo to beseege it, and by force settle his freind there, which by fayre means could not be. With him is joined Ipsher bassa's sone, with some small forces, which he hath gathered together. The grand signor and council beeing advised thereof, forthwith granted their petition of Aleppo, and commending their act, incouraged them to maintaine their resolution against any that should oppose; and having prepared commands for Morat bassa, that he should incounter him with his army, which he writt to the king, he had raised to that purpose; before they could be sent forwards, news was brought, that Morat bassa beeing under the hands of his barber, sanke downe, and dyed sodainly. At this news, at this time, are the gran signor and council much troubled, and what they will doe therein, is not yet knowne; when it is, I shall not faile to informe you. In the interim, God preserve the factory of Aleppo from the rage of the soldiers, and your honour in safety and prosperity, which is the desire of
Monsr. Le Mair to secretary Thurloe.
I have failed last weeke to write unto your honour, because I had nothing worth your honour's acceptance. Few dayes agoe, I went to visit the secretary of the Spanish ambassadour, and asking him for some news, told mee, that his master the lord ambassadour had a letter from Brabant, which did containe of great warres, which the king of Spaine did intend to make this next somer with England, and that his majestie had given order to duke Leopoldus, to send some bodie in all speed and secrecie to Charles Stuward, for to intreat and beseech him to come at Brussel, where hee should not onely beene very welcome, and according to his great qualities by the duke entertained, but also made acquainted with some busines, which did concerne him verie neere.
So much as I could understand of the said secretarie, should the king of Spaine's intention bee, to see, if Charles Stuward would bee willing to accept of the generallissimo's
place in the warrs, which hee is to move the somer following against England; and if this
would not please him, to agree with him upon faire conditions, to wit, that the king
of Spaine should furnish him with an armie of foot and horsmen, a mightie fleete, and
good store of monie for to conquere and invade England withall; which if it should
succeed well, (as the Spanish doe surely beleeve, because they thinke that whole England
shall arise against the present government, and joyne with him, when they see Charles
Stuwart enter England with a mightie and potent armie) the said Charles Stuward should
not only beene bound and obliged to restore to the king of Spaine the halfe of the
monie laid out in paying of the arme and fleete, but whatsoever hee should come to conquer with the said arme and fleete, to have it as a fee, and doe homage for it unto the
kingdome of Spaine. And for to worke out the better this their end, and to conquere
England in a short time, they should bee busie to finde out convenient meanes to helpe
his highnesse and some of his counsellours out of the world; which being performed, they
suppose, that England should runne in a disordered confusion, and the most part of the
subjects would cry out Charles Stuward for their king; which artes and trickes the Lord
of heaven, I hope, shall destroy, and make his highnes victorious over all his enemies.
And so commending your honour to the grace of God, I rest and remaine
The 12 Nov. new stile [1655.]
A letter of intelligence from Holland.
I Have in severall monthes received no letter from you; nevertheles my weeckly letters came safe to your handes. These parts affoarde little newes more then what we receave from forraigne countryes, from which places themselves I suppose you have more certaynetyes then wee heare; for every thinge is reported so dubiously, that wee can creddit little, especially in relation to the Swedish affaires, the which the people and the calvaliers doe hartely wish may not prosper, fearing that crowne and you have made an alliance to the prejudice of both of them. My intelligence from Ceullen tells mee, the counsell of C. S. is very reserved; and though they sitt often, 'tis seldome knowne what they doe; but conjectures are made, that they are bussye contriving a new desingne against your differences with Spayne breake out into warr; to which advantage they hope will be added many more by a peace betwixt France and Spayne, which their letters from Paris assure them is earnestly indeavoured by the pope, to whome the king of France hath given power to name the place and persons for a treatye in order to a generall peace. Then they expect assistance from both those crownes, for they doe not belive a peace betweene France and you, though the phamlet sayes, 'tis signed. I was this weeck at Utrecht, where there wear severall royallists, some whoe constantly have their aboade there; others come from the Hage to go to Ceullen to C. S. whose discourse was altogeather tending to the ruine of our present government. There they had the protector's proclamation for all persons, whoe had bin in armes for C. S. to depart from London, and the lines of communication, which was not pleasing to them: whereuppon a persson of qualitie answear'd, some of the king's friends would still remayne there, and nearer the protector then he immagined. To this another replyed, whoe lately came out of Ingland, that he believed major William Cromwell was not included in the proclamation; to which a third answear'd, it matter'd not, if he wear, for he adheerd to the protector, yet had no creddit with him. Then said the forementioned persson of quallitie, that his creddit was sufficient, if he proved but honest, as he promised; and that he was indebted in London 2 or 3000 pounds, which he intends to leave on the protector's score. This discourse ended quickly by the nodd of a more discreet man then he that spoke; so I heard no more of it. I leave it to your discretion to make use of it as you finde convenient; but if you will give mee leave to tell you my opinion, I seare that C. S. his instruments have bin dealing with major William Cromwell, and that some desingne is plotting to kill the protector; for besides what I gather by the former discourse, I finde sir Joseph Wagstaff hath bought at Utrecht a gunn, which shewts with wynde only a bullet a 150 paces, and that 7 tymes one after another, with once charging with wynde. It makes no report, or little smoake comes out of it; so that 'tis difficult to decerne, whence the shot comes. I am well inform'd, this gunn is to be sent for Ingland, wheare I am suer none knowes how to use it, but he that carryes it over. This, I doubt, is bought for no good use; whether it will be sent, or where shipt, I cannot tell; for sir Jo. Wagstaff is at Antwerp preparinge the jesuits and priests to perswade their king to imbrace C. S. intrest, whoe he hopes will turne catholick in tyme, as well as himself. I shall be very diligent to observe their actions and motions, and give you tymely notice of the needfull. I praye you observe what I wroate you in my last concerninge the direction of your letters to mee under the name of Thomas Darby, for avoydinge of suspition, in case the letters should be opened. I send you enclosed a note of charges, which with the quartridge amounts to 55 l. which I have charged on mr. J. V. to be paid as my former. Please to give order for the payement thereof, and you shall extreamly oblige
November 12, 55. [N. S.]
To monsieur Petkum.
We understand no more here of the negotiation of the minister of Brandenburg in England than you do. I have not spoken with monsieur the resident Copes in five or six days; and monsieur Wyman is in Zealand, to see whether those lords will give an example of liberality to the others by anticipation of the subsidy promised by the treaty of alliance. You know that in matter of finances the islanders hold as firm as those that live upon the continent. Monsieur the elector of Brandenburg demanded of the city of Koningsberg 130 thousand rix dollars, and the citizens have given but 30 thousand. There was yet nothing done at Marienburg, when the last letters came from Dantzic. The nobility and the little cities of Prussia are enclined to embrace the articles propounded unto them; but the great cities do make difficulty. Elbing hath received them ad referendum, and those of Dantzick will not hearken unto them.
They write me from Cologne, that king Charles would be going for Antwerp as soon as war was proclained between Spain and England. The princess royal was to come away the 15th. She will live at Teylingen. The assembly of the states of Holland is to meet the 15th of this month. The first thing will be to name an ambassador to the kings of the north. The negotiation concerning the toll will be without doubt the most difficult.
A letter of intelligence from the Hague.
I Can perceive, that the pope may be deceived, if he thinks, that he shall be able so easily to reconcile the crowns of France and Spain; for I see great likelihood, that France having at present peace with the protector, will hold out more fiercely against Spain; as also France seeing the king of Poland altogether low, will also endeavour to draw their advantage from it against the emperor; namely that France will employ the king of Sweden to subdue the emperor.
But really I fear, that Sweden will not shew itself so much offended against any one whomsoever, as against states general. In effect all the states general (whether the Orange party or the good Hollanders) all have shewn a great animosity against the Swede. It is true, that in Zealand and the states of Holland they have not made so many pictures to raise laughter, nor so many verses and ballads, and the like invective inventions against the Swede, as they did against the protector; but the bitterness and discourse, yea the threatenings have been no wise less or inferior to those, which they did formerly against the protector. The ordinary word hath been, that Sweden hath done the greatest persidy and villainy, that one could imagine; and that God cannot suffer them to go unpunished. And as for the toll, which they demand before Dantzick, that state of Holland would never endure it, but that effectually they would send a fleet to beat the Swede without any dissimulation.
But I doubt very much, yea I doubt whether they dare send a fleet, unless that the protector and Denmark will make alliance with states general. For Dantzick will in no wise join with Brandenburg; and without Dantzick the Brandenburger and Prussia cannot do any thing; and Brandenburg is also as good a sharer, as Sweden. The one seeth the other, and Dantzic is to look to their own preservation. Dantzic knoweth well enough, that Brandenburg is not able to hold them against Swedes. Swede can ruin the Brandenburger in a small time. It is writ to me expressly from Dantzic, and Dantzic knows well enough, that states general, Holland, and Zealand verba dant: exemplum Bremen. So that they will endeavour to chuse of two evils the least.
But withal this, although they should be resolved to such a union by land, one hundred ships of war will not do any good against the Swede, if he be master of Poland; for all those towns of Prussia (being of the same religion) will surrender themselves to the Swede. And by this means he will take toll by land beyond Dantzic.
Chanut, the French embassador in Holland, to Bordeaux, the French embassador in England.
I Bless God for the good news you have sent me; and I have no less joy for the honour, which doth accrue to you thereby, and the reputation, which you have gotten in this long and troublesom negotiation, than for the public interest. The time of my departure, at which this good news doth find me, doth not afford me the liberty of mind, so as I could wish it, to declare unto you my sense thereof; but I do comfort myself, since you have leave to repass the sea. I do understand, though you do not explain your self, that it is partly to fetch over your lady, to the end you may have together the use of love and of peace, whereof you have been deprived so long. You see the good opinion I have of you, and against the thoughts of many of your friends, who would persuade me, that you would not neglect the advantages, which you have gotten in the mind of the English ladies. I hope, my lord, that at Paris I shall better explain unto you my joy; and that you will do me the favour to ratify the amity, which you have already promised me. I expect the pass, which I writ to you for last, if you think it necessary. I will not omit to tell you, that I have caused to be communicated by the lord president of the week to the states general the conclusion of your treaty; and likewise gave them thanks for the good offices, which they were willing to do us. They have very civilly caused me to be thank'd by commissioners. Our accommodation would be more pleasing here, if it were not accompanied with a breach of the English against Spain. They do seriously speak here of renewing the alliance with us; but it is fitting that it should be done at court. I have no particular news from Poland: all is lost there for the king: the Cossacks are entered into it. It is a lamentable theatre.
The Swedish embassador to secretary Thurloe.
Proposueram quidem in colloquio, quod hodie cum celsissimo domino protectore institueram, mentionem facere domini Cransten; sed quoniam inter discurrendum id memoria mihi exciderat, honoratissimo domino secretario hoc negotium quam diligentissimè commendare constitui; enixe rogans, ut ipse apud celsitudinem suam antea ad ostendenda omnia officia amicabilia clementissimo regi meo inclinantem, operam suam interponere velit, ut negotiis ejus in Scotia jam valdè periclitantibus, gratiose subvenire velit, certus quod benevolenia hæc, quam intercessione regiæ majestatis & humillimæ interpositioni meæ tribuet, omni possibili modo a sua majestate iterum referetur; & non modo versus celsitudinem suam humillimè, sed etiam erga honoratissimum dominum secretarium maximo cum affectu agnoscatur ab ejus
Major general Whalley to secretary Thurloe.
Since my last, wherein I certifyed you, that I had sent to the commissioners apoynted by his highnesse and the councill to put theyr orders in execution, to meete me at Nottingham, we met this day accordingly, and through God's mercy I found a generall complyance of all, that were put in by the councill, as also in some, that I added to act. What mr. Piggot would have donne, I knowe not, he being gonne to London. However we have enughe to cary on the worke in this county. I stay here to morrow, having warned some cavaleeres to apeare before us. On tuesday, the Lord permitting, yf not before, I shal be at Newarke, having yssued out warrants to diverse cavaleers to come before us there. That the Lord would continue his presence with us, I desire your prayers, and to assist him, that is,
A letter of intelligence from col. Bamfylde.
Since that which I wrote to you of the tenth present, there has not any thing occurred here, worth your knowledge, but of the business of Peronn, the seasonable detection of which soe far frustrated the designe, that was really layd, beyond what either party are nowe willing should publiquely appear, thowgh from different reasons, that they are come to a treaty. The governours of Aras, Dourlans, and Corbie are content to submit; soe the intendants be taken away, which were lately put to receive the contributions in all the frontier-guarrisons, and pay the soldiers, and dispose the overplus to the mayntenance of Condé, St. Gillian, Landrecye, and Quesnoy; their being very few of the governours of the frontyers, but made thirty or forty thousand pistolls yearly of theyr charges; of which this superintendencye abates neer three parts of four of theyr profit. The cardinall will not stick at this, if that will doe, which is not yet certayne, thowgh they doe not yet seem to insist on more; only the duke of Shone, whoe commands Dourlance, desires his mother may be sent to him, and then he shall appeare a faithfull subject to the king; but upon the first discovery of this designe, their were orders for the seizing of hir, as suspecting she had some hand in it; but she being pre-advertis'd, is got out of the way, and not yet heard of. Madam Chattillion is not, as my last advertised you, in the Basteile, but imprisoned at Chantillie, and some thinke with hir owne consent, being drawne by a hansome younge abott monsieur Du Fouquet to the discovery of this designe; and soe willingly made prisoner, that she might have the pretence of terroure to excuse hir confession of what she knew; but this I thinke is rather the conjecture of some great persons, whoe are not kinde to hir, then upon any certayne grounds. The mar. d'Hauquimcourte treats likewise; he is contented to surrender his government of Peronn and Ham upon condition of having madam Chatillion released, being made duke and peer of France, having five hundred thousand crownes, which will amounte to about a hundred and thirty thousand pounds, and his sonn to be Chevadier d'Honeure to the next queen, whome the king shall marry; which may be solde for fifty thousand pistolls. Three hundred thousand crownes is offerred him; the honour he desires will be confer'd on him; if he will not consent to that, the French army are drawne towards him to besiedge him; and the Spanish army at Cambray 12 leagues thence to releive him. If that bee, their will certaynly be troubles upon it in this citty, and in divers other parts of France; which was undoubtedly the mayne design; and that it may yet take, is soe evidently foreseen, that I thinke the cardinal will come to the mareschall's demand. Concerning 858, and 859, I can say noe more then I did in my laste, neither of them being yet heer; and I a little uncertayne, whither the change in your affayres has not reasnably occasioned some variation in your thowghts touching that affayre; of which I ernestly request speedy advertisement. Things are heer upon great uncertayntyes, and are like to be upon much greater, as this treaty with Spayne shall be managed; the interest of some being agaynest it, and the interest and inclinations of others servently and resolutely for it; the greatest part of which doe not yet appear. By the next you shall heare more and very particularly from him, whoe is with unseined truth, sir,
Col. Bamfylde to W. Scot, Esq;
This is the second letter I have written to you, since I left London, and enclosed the firste in Churchman's, to whome I have wrote foure, but have not heard one sillable from him, thowgh the condition I left my affayres in required a greater punctuallity of writing, then for him to have omitted writing four postes together, which does trowble mee very much. Lett mee request you to doe me the favour to cause your man to enquire whether he be drowned in a hodgshead of ale, or by what other accident he has left this worlde; for in the condition my affayres stand, it muste be his death, not neglect, coulde-keep mee in this ignorance. My horses prove the arantest jades in the worlde, and I shall loose extreamly by them. The black cuts, has the scratches, windegalls, and noe pace; all which Gray knew before he solde them. As good horses will yielde any rate, soe ill ones are not vendible. Pray write to mee by the firste, that I may knowe mine comes to your hands; and then I shall write things more materially to you. I left direction with Churchman what he was to doe aboute Hewet's sute, which I hope you are in noe trowble about, which would affict mee beyonde imagination. I shall shortly returne mony for the horses; and agaynest I doe soe, wowlde be glad if you coulde procure tow very excellent gueldings, either from Grey or any els, to send over; for my pass is yet good for tow more. By the next you shall hear farther from mee, whoe am, sir,
President Viole to monsieur Barriere.
I Have received your letters of the third of this month, to which I have nothing to answer; only that I believe you have taken your measures with 47, since he did desire you to stay; for unless it be so, I do not see the means to cause you to subsist. The orders from Spain are not yet come, neither are we certain when they will.
A brigade of the army of the Lorrainers composed of five or six regments hath play'd the traytors, and is retreated into France. Care is taken by the duke of Lorrain to prevent the like, if any farther design be amongst the rest also to revolt.
A letter of intelligence.
I Will tell you for a certain thing, that the accommodation of his highness the duke of Lorrain with the king is agreed on and signed on both sides. The king doth indemnisy him of all his losses, which he hath sustained during his imprisonment.
To mr. Petit.
The court arrived here the 13th instant stilo novo, after it had settled, as was thought, the mareschal of Hocquincourt, who is governour of Peronne and Ham, in the king's obedience; but the said mareschal being ill satisfied, his majesty parted the next day 11/1 to return to Compiegne with cardinal Mazarin. The queen and duke of Anjou remain here.
The said mareschal demands a considerable sum of money and the dignity of duke, which he pretends to have deserved. His lady has been at Roye to confer with mr. Tellier, who met there to this purpose.
In the interim mr. de Bar is arrived at Corbie with 14 companies of guards to put there in garrison, as also with other troops to put in the said Roye, St. Quentin, and other neighbour places of Peronne, to hinder the said mareschal from doing any thing against the king's service.
I can tell you, that in this court every body seems to be well satisfied with the signing of our treaty with my lord protector, who will receive thereby great advantages from hence. In the king's absence the count of Brienne, the chancellor, the lord keeper, and mr. Servien and Fouquet have this day been assembled in the Louvre at eleven of the clock, to see the said treaty; and consequently to labour after the ratification, a resolution being taken to execute punctually and wholly all the conditions, and assure in a good manner the trading between the two states.
Major general Worsley to secretary Thurloe.
I have beene with most of the officers, that command the countie troops of Lancashire, Cheshire, and Staffordshire, and have communicated unto them that, which was given mee in charge by his highnes and councell. And truely I find in them a spirret extraordinarily bent to the worke, and I plainly discerne the finger of God goeinge alonge with it, which is indeed noe smale encouragement unto mee.
The sence of the worke, and my unworthynes and insufficiencie as to the right management of it, is my onely present discouragement. Yet however this is the ground of my hope and comforth, that the Lord is able to supply my wants, and will appeare in weake instruments for his glory, to the perfectinge of his worke. I shall (through the grace of God) discharge my trust in faithfullnes to those, that have imployed mee; and omit noe opportunitie, nor avoyd paines, wherein my weake endeavours may bee usefull.
I am hopefull to have the commissioners of Lancashire together upon thursday next, them for the cittie and countie of Cheshire the weeke following, and them of Staffordshire foure dayes afterwards. In a short tyme I am hopefull to give you a good accompt of all.
If you judge it convenient, I could wish for our better direction to knowe somethinge from
you touchinge collonel John Booth, Warburton, Lecester, and Werden, that wee may
better understand our dutie both as to their persons and estaites,
I have not else worth your further trouble at present; onely to subscribe my selfe as really am,
Manchest. Nov. 3. 1655.
The commissioners of the customs to Henry Scobell, Esq;
The order of the right honourable his highnesse councell, as alsoe your letter dated 2° November instant, for the seizure of the goods of the Spanish ambassador, and detention thereof, untill hee shall pay and satisfye 2100 l. due for rent, was the last night accordinge to our duty sent to Dover, and given in charge to our collector there mr. John Price, as alsoe unto capt. Timo. Whiteing and mr. Desbrowe, two of the officers of this port, sent thither to attend that service. Wee hope it will bee in time, and shall endeavour to take such care therein, as that wee may bee able to give a good accompt of this affaire unto our superiors, and crave leave to subscribe,
Resident de Vries to the states general.
High and mighty lords,
On the seventh instant was my last to your high mightinesses, when, in the evening, the Swedish resident arrived here; and after that, at his request, some commissioners were appointed, viz. the lords high steward and chancellor of the realm, Otto Crage and Axell Urck, both of them senators, now here in town; he made an overture of his commission to the said lords, which consisted therein, to make a particular treaty, whereby the sovereignty of the Baltick should be only held by both these crowns, with the exclusion of all others. And that therefore no body whatsoever should be permitted or suffer'd to appear in the said sea with any men of war, which as well as all former persuasions, as I am well informed, are intended for the separation of this crown from your high mightinesses. In order to contrework the same, and what further depends on it, I executed the order, which your high mightinesses have formerly given me, and conferred with the lords senators, who assured me, that nothing should be concluded contrary to the treaties made with your high mightinesses, but that they would continue in the former confident friendship. But I leave it to your high mightinesses great wisdom, if it would not be proper, that my proposal were seconded by a solemn and extraordinary ambassy, which I think would be of great effect. What further happens in this affair, I will inform your high mightinesses of from time to time, to the best of my knowledge.
And whereas, high and mighty lords, I find myself every day more and more to decay by indisposition and other troubles, so that, in case it continues thus, I shall not be able to do my duty as it ought, I have thought myself obliged, in order to prevent those inconveniencies, that may result from thence, to acquaint your high mightinesses therewith, and humbly to pray, that I may be dismissed from this my service, and permitted to retire into my native country. Hereupon I hope to hear a favorable and speedy resolution, the rather, since in this winter season no great navigation of ships can be expected, and there occurs but little wherein my services are wanted.
Abstract of a letter from St. Malo of the 4/14 Nov. 1655.
Here is arrived a frigat off this town coming from Malaga with wine and new fruit, which in her passage stopt before the bar of Cadiz, but was inforced to depart from thence the 27th past, because that day the Spanish fleet under the command of Don Pablos de Contraras arrived there; and also reports, that some days before there arrived at Cadiz the two galleons from Havana, which usually carried the quicksilver for the Indies; and that they come very richly laden with all sorts of India goods and ready money; to say, 900,000 pieces of eight for the account of the king, and about a million for particular accounts. They report also, that the ships of your state, being 26 in number, who are upon the coast of the Indies, have pursued the galleons or plate-fleet at their departure from Havana, and the said galleons are fled into Vera Crux.
Part of a letter from mr. W. Prideaux in Nova Robadus, 5 Nov. 1655.
The grudings of the plague are yet in Mosco, caused, in my opinion, by the nasty keeping of theire houses; but God be praysed it spreeds not here in this towne. Newes is brought from the leaguer of divers officers lying deadly sick, and some dead. For rayne, such an autume as this yeere's is not in the experience of any living. Here at my arrivall wee found an ambassador from the emperor of Germany, being only attended by 12 or 15 followers, whoe finds such hoggish complements from the clownishe Russe, that hee thinkes himselfe not in the christian world. They will not suffer any of his attendants to walke in the markets without a souldier; and hee commanded not to suffer this to have the least conference with any strangers; which if by chance happen in the streets, the uncivill raskall Russe pushes them forward, contrary to all humanity. He stands in the grave Vansticke his house. The 28th ultimo was received the embassador from the king of Swedlande, Gustavius Bielke, having two more in commission with him, and 140 and odde attendants. It was a rayny daye, which hindred the Russe from shewing his paynted fooles coate. The embassador and attendants were all in blacke. Great adoe here was, who should touch the ground first, the embassador from his coach, or the Russe Prestave from his horse; but at last they moved both together, soe neather abated of theire superiority. Three statly horses with rich furniture were ready to carrye the three embassadors to theire lodings provided usualy for embassadors. The next day they desired liberty for theire attendants to goe into the markets, and to other places, where they had occasion; soe the Russe granted them leave to goe into the markets and other places in the citty, but not to the Slobeda; yet some of his young gentlemen ride by the guards by force. His I. M. is yet in the fielde, and would fayne take in the citty Buicene, before hee march himselfe this waye; but it's thought they will not surrender to him, and to take it by force hee hath had already experience of storming of it, having had a shamefull repulse, and lost many men in the assault. Wee here saye, that his majestie last yeare and this alsoe hath only fought for the Sweade, beleeving that the on will demande the countrey back agayne, and the other dares not holde it.
Major general Goffe to secretary Thurloe.
I Have received yours with the declarations, which I thanke you for, hoping they will helpe much to sattisfie both as to the raysing of the militia troopes, and the way intended for there mainetenance. As soone as I came to this towne, I dispatched messengers to the officers of the militia, and I hope on tuseday next to have all the commissioned officers of the three troopes together, if they bee in the country. Coll. Busbridge is att London, and capt. Jermee and some others had gonne this day, if I had not prevented. Mr. John Stapley being in towne, when I came, called att my lodgings, and in that little discourse wee had, he seemed very ready to serve his highnes (to use his owne expression) in a publicke imployment. I have assured some of this towne, that his brother mr. Anthony Stapeley is putt into the commission for the peace, which I doubt not but you will make good.
I was yesterday twise a hearer of mr. Postlethwaite, who hath the largest congregation in this towne. He is of mr. Feake's principles, and bewailed the imprisonment of the saints, and in some other expressions discovered himselfe to be of that way, but with much moderation (more it seemeth att other times.) Here is a petition carying on in the country, and, as I am informed, the heades are, for taking away that chancery, and other regulations of the law, the taking away of tythes, the bringing of persons to tryall, that are in prison (major general Harrison and mr. Feake &c.) were once named, but are not left out to sattisfie some that saide, it was not good to name some, except they could name all; and that noe oathes be putt upon any that beare office, but if they saile to be fined. These I am informed are the heades. I believe this is the same petition, which coll. Busbridge tould mee was brought to him, and he refused to meddle with it, because there was a clause, that the army might be disbanded for the ease of the publicke charge. This petition is caryed on by one mr. Robert Spence, who, I believe, is displeased, because he had not one of the militia troopes. I am tould, that not one of mr. Postlethwaite's congregation would signe it; but I feare the reason was, because it was a petition to his highnes. The anabaptists doe generally signe it.
But I have troubled you too long with my little intelligence; therefore I shall heere
end; only let mee begg your prayers, your servent prayers for
Your very affectionate freind and servant,
Major R. Sedgwicke to the protector.
May it please your highness,
In pursuance of your commands and my duty, I am bold to present these to your highness. My last letters were from St. Christopher's, where having staid three or four days, and hearing no certain intelligence of our fleet, but a strong report, that Hispaniola was taken, we directed our course thither, and sailed unto the bay of St. Domingo with our whole fleet, as near the city as was convenient; so that we saw the Spanish colours upon the castles, and ships in harbour; and we sent a wherry within less than sacker shot of the town, who took survey of it, plainly saw the people in arms, and men hard at work in building a new castle on the west side, some shot being made at them in the mean while. It grieved us to leave the town behind us, and much more, that our friends left it so slightly. We could not apprehend much difficulty in taking it by a far less number than some little time before were near unto it. But God is wise.
From thence we set sail for Jamaica, which land we had no sooner made, but a little after we descryed two of our frigats; and being come up with them, they gave us the first intelligence of our fleet. We came with our whole squadron to an anchor in this harbour the first of October past, where we found thirteen ships and frigats under the command of admiral William Goodson; the army on shore under the command of major general Fortescue, general Penn, general Venables, and commissioner Butler, with divers others, as many as could possibly contrive the means to be gone from hence. What their grounds were of leaving their employ, I suppose they have rendered an account to your highness long before this.
As soon as we came to anchor, I sent a messenger to Jamaica, to advertise major general Fortescue of my arrival with the fleet, who came unto me that evening; and as soon as we met, being aboard the Torrington frigat with admiral Goodson, we presently sell to our work and business. I produced my commission from your highness, which was by both of them owned. I desired also to know, by what power they acted, and how, in your highness's affairs; whereupon they informed me, that general William Penn had left a commission to admiral Goodson to command in chief at sea; and that general Robert Venables had given an order to major general Fortescue in writing, to command in chief in the army; both which commands they now stood possessed of at present, and acted severally and distinctly; yet both of them being willing to do any thing to help or further either fleet or army, in whatsoever they might to their utmost power.
In agitating what was now best to be done, though my commission, as commissioner, was owned, yet it was apprehended, there could be no acting as a commissioner, I being but one, seeing the constitution of the commissioner's power alloweth not of any act, but what was acted by three, or in some cases by two; and instance was produced, that upon that account only commissioner Butler left his employ. I answered, commissioner Butler's acting was no precedent for me; and though there was not power of a formal act in one man, yet there was power in one commissioner to be doing the work of a commissioner, and of being serviceable in his place. Wherefore I should be willing to know my work, and, as God should enable me, to attend thereunto; although I must prosess, I could willingly have attended commissioner Butler's practice, had not two things hindred; one, in conscience to my duty, my present work being to serve your highness and my nation; the other, that though I saw it a very great adventure to stay here, yet I really apprehended my head or neck in as much danger, if I deserted the business, and returned home. In our agitations I ever found, as in all other occasions, admiral Goodson very ready to give up himself to be serviceable in his way; yet in this I think he was mistaken in his apprehensions, that is, I could not, though he declined it, but accept and take him as a commissioner, looking upon it as your highness's full intentions, as it appeared to me by the additional instructions to the commissioners, wherein vice-admiral Goodson, in case of the death or absence of general William Penn, was to take the command of the fleet, and so a commissioner. But on the army side it was otherwise disposed of. Yet after some days of debate, and sometimes some hot discourse, we at last agreed to act together jointly to be serviceable to the good of the whole; whereupon we drew up this inclosed instrument, by which we acted; and in the intervals of these agitations our business went on concerning unlading and dispatching our provisions.
I cannot but know your highness doth expect from me an account of the state both of fleet and army. As for the fleet, that part of it I came in, with God, brought us thither in much loving kindness, following us with variety of good blessings. I think never so many ships sailed together with less trouble, grief, or danger than we did; only God did a little visit us between this and Barbados with some sickness, I apprehend, caused by some distempers taken there; in which visitation, I think, in the whole fleet we lost between twenty and thirty seamen and soldiers; but otherwise the rest arrived in very good health, lusty, and with the soldiers fitter to fight than when they first came on board. Concerning the fleet here, we found them in reasonable good health and condition, being lately arrived in this harbour, admiral Goodson having been at Santa Martha, where he landed, took two forts, plundered the town, and burnt it, demolished the two forts, and took away their guns, powder, and shot. I know he giveth your highness a full account of his action, which was indeed gallantly performed by him and his company; although in my judgment it is not so honourable, that your highness's fleet should follow this old trade of West-India cruisers and privateers, to ruin and plunder poor towns, and so leave them.
For the army, I found them in as sad, and deplorable, and distracted a condition, as can be thought of; and indeed think, as ever poor Englishmen were in; the commanders some having left them, some dead, some sick, and some in indifferent health; the soldiery many dead, their carcasses lying unburied in the high-ways, and among bushes to and again; many of them, that were alive, walked like ghosts or dead men, who, as I went through the town, lay groaning and crying out, bread for the Lord's sake.
The truth is, when I set my foot first on land, I saw nothing but symptoms of necessity and desolation. I found the shore thereabout filled with variety of several casks and hogsheads, punchions, buts, barrels, chests, and the like, and several dry goods of the state's, as linnen shirts and drawers, shoes, stockings, hats, armor, arms, and nails, with divers other things lying without any shelter, exposed to all the damage, that either rain or sun could do to them, and to the thest and rapine of either soldiers, or strangers, who without question imbezzled much of them. All that little bread they had, which was about thirty thousand, only kept in cask without doors, and much of it damnisied by weather, which bread was kept to distribute a little to the soldiers, and most, when sent out upon parties. The people here were in daily expectation of a supply of provisions, yet made not the least preparation for the receiving of them. It is a wonder to consider so many wise men, that had been here, should leave so much of the state's goods so exposed to ruin, that were so absolutely necessary for the well-being of the army, when in a few days a few men might have made a house to have secured them all; but so things lay, as if men had run away in a strange distracted affrighted condition, as leaving all to the spoil, and never once looking back.
As soon as we arrived here we had four merchant ships to unlade, having near a thousand tuns of provisions in them. We first set the ships to be taking in their proportion; and in the interim with the help of admiral Goodson, who was very active, the seamen built a store-house at the landing place, to receive the soldiers provisions, which being a hundred foot in length, and 25 foot broad, was finished in six or eight days; so that in sixteen days we had the four ships delivered, and the goods housed in good condition, with little or no help from the army, they being a people in such condition, as they had rather die than work.
As soon as the provisions were landed, we forthwith set out a proportion for the foldiery, allowing to each man half a pound of bread a day, and to every four men either a pint of oatmeal, or a pint of peas, or a pound of flower per day; and at this proportion we accounted the provisions would extend to five or six months, a short allowance, but it was that they were at present glad of. We had no sooner thus setled ourselves in our business, but God visited the major general with sickness, and in four or five days snatched him away.
Hearing of his death the admiral and myself went up to the town to his interment, and to the settlement of his army. We called all the superior officers together, and we established a standing council for the management of the affairs of the army; the council to consist of the superior commanders in health in each regiment, being seven in all; which gave very great content and joy to all the officers and commanders, they having ever before been governed and acted by one man's will without any counsel, advice, or knowledge of theirs. We established col. Holdipp president of the council, and commander in chief of the army for seven days, he being then the only colonel in health. The seven days expired, we called another meeting with the council of the army. And col. Doyley being now a little recovered, he is made president and commander in chief for three months, or until your highness take farther order therein; and in this posture they now stand.
The condition of the army is at present very sad and sickly; and unless God in mercy stay his hand, will all perish, and shall be as water spilt upon the grass, that cannot be gathered up again. We caused lately a muster to be made both of quantity and quality of the soldiers, a copy whereof is here enclosed. The greatest part of them are sick, which is really true, and those set down well are pitifully well. We landed 831 in col. Humfrey's regiment, lusty, healthful, gallant men, who encouraged the whole army. There are at this day 50 of them dead, whereof two captains, a lieutenant, and two ensigns, the colonel himself very weak, the lieutenant colonel at death's door. I think all the captains sick, not above four commission-officers in that regiment now fit to march, and the men most part of them sick. Col. Doyley is fallen sick again, and col. Carter very weak; as also divers other field officers. Soldiers die daily; I believe 140 every week; and so have done ever since I came hither. It is strange to see young lusty men, in appearance well, and in three or four days in the grave, snatch'd away in a moment with severs, agues, sluxes and dropsies, a consluence of many diseases. The truth is, God is angry, and the plague is begun, and we have none to stand in the gap. God goeth on in destroying to destroy us, and tells us, he will take no delight in us by his ways and outgoings towards us; and there hath been, I fear, in all this design nothing but wrath and heavy displeasure. I would not grieve, but my heart and soul grieveth, when I think of Hispaniola business; one or two negroes to make 500 Englishmen sling down their arms, and run away. Oh! tell it not in Gath, nor pubish it in Askelon, left the uncircumcised rejoice. The truth is, sir, yon cannot conceive us so sad, as we are, broken and scattered, God rending us in pieces, a senseless-hearted people, not affected with his dealing with us. We furnished the army now with sixty buts of Madera wines, and to every regiment a but of brandy, and a hogshead or two of sweet oil.
As for the fleet, the admiral was intended before our coming in to have taken some few soldiers, and to have gone over to Saint Jago de Cuba, a town upon Cuba, but our coming hindered him, without whom we could not well tell how to do in any thing: since the major general's death and one business or other hath hindred him. We have lately been consulting what to do; the sickness of the army put us by our former thoughts.
This day the council sent us word, they would spare us 500 men, which I can hardly believe; or if they do, they will prove sickly and weak soldiers. We shall, I hope, within two days bring our thoughts to an issue, and speedily send out part of our fleet, of whose condition and quality I know our admiral gives your highness a full account.
Touching this island, it seems to present itself desireable, capable of producing any kind of merchandizes, that other islands do, full of several sorts of cattle. It is thought our English have since they came hither killed twenty thousand; and they are now grown so wild, that it is not easy to kill any of them, which were all before kept by Spaniards, both horses and cows, under command, and by keepers; and our soldiers have destroyed all forts of fruits, and provisions, and cattle. Nothing but ruin attends them, wheresoever they go.
How the state of the enemy is in the island, I know not. Some think most of the Spaniards are gone over the back side to Cuba, and that some of the Blacks and Mulattos are dead; but certain it is, they meet with our English in the woods, and every now and then kill three or four of them together: it is out of doubt there is a considerable number of Mulattos, and Blacks, and some Spaniards, some say a thousand men, some two. What God will do with them, or with us by them, I know not; but I have thoughts sometimes they may do us a mischief. What God will do in this work, I must acknowledge I am at a loss; or which way he will carry on your highness's spirit I am ignorant; only let me be bold to interpose this, (and it is a truth) of all that vast expence and charge, that hath been expended in this design, here is not any thing left at all towards the carrying on the work, by saving any charge, unless two mortar-pieces, with some other materials, and a few great guns. All materials else are gone, destroyed, and spent, except a little ammunition and arms, which I believe will before long be wasted one way or other; and for men, if as many survive as will garrison this island, it is a very great mercy; so that as what farther proceeding is upon this design must be wholly upon a new stock. And also this I know, that what 8000 men might in an ordinary providence have effected to good purpose, it must now be expected will require a far more considerable strength. The enemy being fully alarmed are strengthening themselves in all places to the utmost, as I saw, at Santo Domingo by their building new works; but if God have a work here to do, and hath enlarged your heart and purse, and inclined men's affections and spirits, it will go on; but I fear a work of this nature will not prosper in the hands of such a company, as was generally employed here. As for this island, if some good encouragement were given to encrease planters here, it might be well; but as our case stands at present, there can be nothing of that kind. The commissioners have granted so much land to the soldiery, that the Savannas being left common, I think all the good ground will not be, or at least would not have been, enough to have given them such proportions as they allowed them. So that at present I find very great inconveniencies in the accommodating five or six poor planters with a little ground, the soldiery claiming all hereabout as theirs; and unless something be settled by your highness in this business, few will come so far as to buy land.
The soldiery here, most part of them, hope your highness will still be mindful of them, either to employ them, or send for them home again. Dig or plant they neither can nor will, but do rather starve than work. They might have planted so much provision, as might have kept them alive. There is some little thing done in that kind, and but little; so that unless there be more supply of provisions, if the people live, they will perish for want of food. However God disposeth your heart to this, I humbly beg, that your highness would cast an eye this way, that these poor people be not made a sacrifice to the enraged enemy; who else, I know, must of necessity perish by the sword, if they be not here guarded by your highness's favour, which I no way question or doubt.
Sir, if I have any acquaintance with my own heart, I left my native soil and my dear relations in some singleness of heart, intending and eyeing God and his glory in this overture, hoping he might have some design in hand to the accomplishment of that, which hath so long time been the prayers and desire of his people; and also thinking God might have carried out your spirit to that purpose, to attend this work. I was satisfied in the work itself, taken much with the honesty of your highness's expressions, and that religious discourse came from you out of a heart, as I believe, unseigned, which made me hope God would own the design, and prosper it. The righteousness of God's dealings and proceedings with us may easily, I think, be discerned; and he justified in his actings towards us. Our God will give his honour to no other. He is a pure and holy God, and delights in pure and clear actings of the people prosessing his name. I must still say, O! how just art thou, O God! in all thy works, and righteous to the sons of men!
Pardon my prolix and rude expressions. I am apt sometimes to think I shall write no more. I am sometimes sick, and think I may fall among the rest of my countrymen; and durst do no other than plainly to let your highness know our state and condition.
I have only two small requests to put up to your highness; one is, if God spare me life, that your highness would be pleased to admit me to come to England. But I am not very solicitous in that; sometimes thinking another place will be my portion, before I may hear again from your highness.
The other petition is, I left behind me a dear and religious wife, who through grace hath much of the fear and knowledge of God in her. I have also five children, to me dear and precious. I would only beg this, that your highness would cast one thought towards them; that whatever hazard or hardship I may go through, yet my relations may not be forgotten. I only expect what your highness was pleased to promise me, that she may not be troubled in obtaining it in such seasons, as may tend to her comfort.
The way, by which we carry on our business at present, is, by virtue of that instrument we drew up, intending, if God spare life to colonel Doyley, to take him in with
us, until such time as we may receive farther orders from your highness, which we hope
may be very speedily. In the mean time I hope you shall find me willing, according to
that talent God giveth me, to give up myself to the utmost I can to be serviceable in the
present employment, wherein God hath cast me. And I earnestly beg at the throne of
grace for you, that God would guide you, as in all other weighty agitations, so in this affair,
as may be to his glory and your comfort; and that God would keep your spirit from
despondency in this world. I am fully satisfied of your highness pious and religious intentions in this design; yet God may disappoint expectations in many particulars, but in
the issue magnify his special love and grace; which I earnestly entreat may be made out
to your highness, which is the prayer of him, who desires to be, sir,
Your humble and faithful servant,
Mr. J. Aldworth, consul at Marseilles, to secretary Thurloe.
My last unto you was of the 9th current, giving you notice, that the free commirse with our nation hath been proclaymed heare and at Thollon; that the Portugall ambassadour with 80 attendants, ill accommodated, parted hence for Rome; and that the cardinall Anthoine was heare arrived from Rome, and was sudainely bound for Paris, butt it proaves not to bee the cardinall Anthoine; it's an Italian cardinall, that's goeing to bee archbishop of Aix, wheare the court of parliament of this province is. Admirall Vandoisme hath beene heare three dayes, and parts too morrow. It's conceived hee goes directly for Paris. All his ships are disarmed except six, which is supposed will bee disarmed sudainely. Also the six Malta galleys parted two dayes past for Malta; which place is in greate need of them, to fetch them proavisions, in regard the sicknes is amongst them. I have not received any late advice from Spaine. So for present humbly take leave, and remayne
In Marseillia, Nov. 16, 1655. [N. S.]