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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April (2 of 7)
The Dutch agent in Denmark to the states general.
High and mighty lords,
Some skippers, that arrived here within few days from the East Land, do bring in general, that at Koningsberg and round about, the death of the king of Sweden was much doubted; and the speech went, that his majesty was expected at Elbing dead or wounded; and that at Elbing aforesaid there were 10 or 12 coffins made ready for some great persons. A skipper came sailing from Revell in 10 days, and relates, that upon the first of April there was arrived a Swedish man of war, which was presumed to be come there to hinder the Holland merchant–men from carrying any corn from thence to any other ports than that of Wismar; and the like under the Swedish jurisdiction and command. Also there was come order to the said town, to victual themselves for two years, in regard they did very much fear the Muscovites.
An intercepted letter.
Both yours of the 8th of this instant came to your frends hands by the last post, in one of which you mention the receipte of one of his letters of the 21th of March but noething of the other, which hee sent at the same tyme; which makes him conclude, that one miscarried. Hee says hee writes constantly, and will doe as long as hee is in health, in observance to your commands, althoe he hath noe other busines, then to give yow an account of your frends. I shall not neede to say more in his behalfe, being consident yow will give credit to what hee shall write himselfe; only this, that his and your old frend went out of towne on monday last. Hee wished him to let yow know, that he had some busines, which called him to his countrey house in Norfolke, where hee should have business, that would keepe him till the begining of the next tearme; but then he would again returne to London, if you could propose a way, whereby hee may bee servisable to you; but hee sais, to put you to charge without giving you some account of the busines, he is very unwilling to doe; but if by the next letter to your frend, who still resides heere, you can put him in a way, whereby there may bee a possibility of giveing you satisfaction, hee will imediately upon your frend's letter to him in the countrey repayre hither againe, in observance to your commands; but tell such tyme hee heares from you by both your frends meanes, who hath promised to convey your letter, hee will not stirr out of the countrey; for hee sais, that hee hath tryed all the wayes, which you formerly proposed, and hee finds, that none take effecte. Wherefore without new instructions hee thinks it impossible to doe any good; but after the receipt of your instructions hee will againe venter upon the business, hoping that you will reward him according to the success he hath. He hath sent you some writeings by your lady's landlady, who went hence for the countrey this day; and hath promised to convey it to you by the first conveniency. Deare sir, I hope you have received my last to you, with the enclosed from the Phi. The answer is desired with as much speed as may bee. Send your answer to Mary's bedfellow at her house in the Strand. I writte to the Dutchman by the last poste. I alsoe writte to the French knight, and inclosed it in the Dutchman's letter. I should be glad to know, how I might send to him by some other meane, least the Dutch boore should neglecte. I have alsoe by the last weeke's post writ to the French boateman, I meane the maister of the boate, that Watte goes in. I hope to have an account of all the next weeke; for should my Phi. letter miscarry, I should loose my credit with him. In his letter you will have some directions for the mayde, which I profered you, I meane the French mayde, that formerly lived with my landlady. Bee pleased alsoe to follow what he hath wished me to prescribe to you; and then I hope all will bee well.
I much desyre to have answer to that business, which concernes the young gentleman, that lived in the isle of Weight. If hee be not with you, be pleased to make a journey to him, for it much concerns a good frend of myne, who requests this favour from you. Here is little of news at this tyme. The 29th of the last month one mr. Grantam, son to coll. Grantam, was kild in a duell by one mr. Chamberlaine of Gray's inne. They were both young men, and formerly very good frends. Munday last the lise–guard mustered in Tutle–fields. They are the best horse and properst fellowes, as I have seene. I thinke the world doth not afford better horse and better governed men then the army at this tyme is. On wednesday last his highnes was in High Parke: hee came thither in his coach, and in it with him Desborrow and Sydnam. Hee was attended by about 8 gentlemen, and about 25 or 30 of his life–guard. After he had wrid twise about the parke in his coach, he went out, and walked a litle, and then got on horseback, and went twise againe round the parke all on the gallope. In my opinion hee lookes as well and is as youthfull as ever I knew him. But others that see him say he is altered. The great news of this place can at this tyme bee no news to you. It is the reporte of the whole towne, that the king of Suede hath received a very great overthrow; and that he is kild or ill hurt himselfe. I shall not trouble you further with the particulars of the story, supposeing you had the news before it came hither. I know not weither it bee true or not; but true or false it hath occasion'd great discontent to some of our grandees; and without doubt if true, 'twill alter the affaires of christendome strangely in a short tyme.
Althoe Manninge bee gone, yet wee want not frends abroad, who can and doe give us good account of the proceedings of the king of Scots. Hee is confident of some hee hath about him, which deceive him strangely. And unless hee looke well to himself, trust mee, his life is in danger; for I am assured by a worthy frend, who not long since I mentioned to you, that there are some people employed to do him a mischiefe; catholicke or puritan I cannot yet learne neither; but perhaps may siste out something more hereafter. In the meane tyme if you have any frends in that litle court, chardge them to looke well about them; for if they cut the king's throate, some friends of yours may bee in danger. I suppose they are all carefull enought; and I againe assure you, that it concerns them so to bee; otherwise my intelligence very much failes mee.
Monsieur Bordeaux hath bin heere above a weeke. If this news of the king of Suede's defeate had not come, 'tis thought that Lequar (fn. 1) would have begun his journey the next weeke; but now perhaps it may be defered longer. Lequar told the old apothe, that he carried twelve gentlemen with him, one of which is secretary to Lambert, who is a very pritty man as most is of our nation, and a great prop to Lambert. What the designe of his goeing is, may easily bee guest, althoe he pretends hee goes only to learne the language; but 'tis rather thought, that he goes to have an eye over the embassador; for who can tell, what great things Lambert strikes at, hee being at this tyme the only person, that opposes the succession, except some of his creatures, as the earl Mougrave, and one or two more of the counsell. Mr. Temple tells mee, that Lambert hath the protec. in a string; and if hee pleases, can depose him when hee will, the army being for the most part at his devotion; soe that if he suffers the government to be setled in his posterity, hee deceives many persons, that pretend to know something. The greatest part of the life–guards were of Lambert's choosing; and I heare of few riseing persons, but what are his considents. 'Tis thought, that the counsell doe alsoe for the most part affecte him, thoe at present they seeme to sticke close to the protector. Harrison is come to towne, or will bee heere very suddenly; and 'tis thought, he will not continue long a prisoner; but upon what score they come of, I cannot yet heare.
The news booke sais, that the fleet put to sea the 27th of the last month; but I have not yet seene or heard of any letter, that gives the least account of their going out; but 'tis probable they may be gone; and 'tis by all soe beleived, being that the wind hath been good 6 or 7 dayes.
The news upon the change hath been these tow dayes, that the plate gallioones were arrived; but the exchange news is soe uncertain, that there is not any notice to be taken of it. The protector hath given order, as the news booke saith, that some of his treasurers pay to a frend of the old bishop of Armagh 200 l. towards the charge of his funerall, which truly is nobly done, considering the great want his highness hath at this tyme of money. Hee is far in debt, but contrives all wayes possible to come out, which argues a noble mind. If wee catch the plate fleet, wee are all princes; but if wee misse of it, we are beggared. I shall not trouble you more, but subscribe myselfe
A letter of intelligence.
In my last, which was of the 23d past, I represented to you the state and condition of these parts, as also such other foreign newes, as occurred; since which little hath hap pened of import; neither do we so much as talk of recruiting our army against the approaching campaign, although it be more then tyme we were all ready in the field, if we intend to attaque Condé and St. Gellayne; which backwardness of ours makes some to think there is a treaty of peace on foote underhand betwixt the 2 crownes. Others (and those I think more wisely) attribute the cause thereof to our extreme poverty and want of monys, for from August last to this present month there hath scarce been 600 thousand crownes remitted us from Spayne; little enough to maintayne the arch–duke and prince of Conde's kichings. But by the next ordinary we expect millions, here being now certain newes, that the plate fleete arrived at Cadiz the 14th of the last month very richly laden. Some say it hath brought 10 millions sterling in plate, besides other rich commoditys. However it is it must be very rich, it being in a manner a doble fleet; for none hath come home from Peru and Terra–Firma this two years before now. They write also from Seville, that the armado bound out for Nova Spagnia, consisting of 30 sail very well provided, was put to sea with comission to attack Jamaica in their way, if they find the English still to be in possession thereof, of which they make a great question; for it is believed, they are already all come from thence that were living, the greatest part of the land men being consumed by sickness and want of necessarys, so that the new English fleete, if gone for the Spanish coast, will fynde little to do there, and may in all appearance return home again as wise this, as they did the last year. Don Jean d'Austria is now dayly expected at Brussells, for whose reception there great preparations are a making. He took his passage from Barcelona to Genoa by sea in a galley, which was sett on by the Turks men of warr, from whom, after a very sharp fight, he very narrowly escaped, many persons of note, which accompanyed him in his passage, being killed in the rencounter; amongst whome is comprehended the intended vice–roy of Naples. 'Tis hoped, that as he passeth, Germany will quicken the emperor to hasten thither our expected recruits from thence; and if he brings them along with him, he may be the welcomer; for 'tis uncertayne, how these people will relish it to be governed by a bye blow. The caping trade at Dynkerque continues still, but not with that vigour as at first, by reason that they want men to man their picqueroons; and that the English fregotts have of late snapt some of them.
The letters from Germany and other parts speake of a very great battel, that hath been lately fought between the Swedes and Poles between Lublin and Leopolis; the success whereof is so variously reported, that we cannot yet tell certainly which side hath had the better; for from Danzick, Vienna, and other popish partes, they write, that the Sweedes are totally routed, and that the king and his brother were killed in the battle, with many other particulars; but from Holland, Thorne, Stettin, and other parts they write, that the Swedes got the day, and beat the Poles quite out of the field; yet they do acknowledge to have lost many men, and some great commanders in the fight, chiefly by the treachery of some Poles they had in their army, which in the beginning of the battle turned against them, and putt them to some disorder, the particulars of which we expect by the next more at large. But in the interim our clergy here are very jocond, and sing Te Deum laudamus at noe rate. They think this blow and the arrivall of the fleete will break the neck of all the protestant designs. The Scotts king is still at Brussells, treating with Feunfaldagne and don Alonza late ambassador in England, who extols his person and parts very highly; and sayes, that he finds him to have more in him then in all those of his counsell. His negotiation is as yet kept very private. As any thing thereof comes to be known, it shall be presented you by,
The prince of Condé to Barriere.
I Received by the last post your letter of the 7th current: I cannot yet say more to you about your business, only if the fleet be come, I do promise you 3800 escus, which you are to take upon the bills of exchange sent to me the last year; for they promised to pay them at the arrival of the fleet; but if it be not come, I can say nothing else to you, but that I will do all that I can to help you in the condition you are in.
Marigny to Barriere.
I am heartily sorry to acquaint you, that I perceive my sollicitations are all in vain: I spoke to his highness before he went to Antwerp, to receive the 80 thousand escus in your behalf, how important it was for the interest and service of his highness to redeem you out of prison. He agreed to all that I said, but as if you were the resident of Spain, you are referr'd to the Spaniards. For my part, I am enraged to see how you are used. His highness hath his money, and in the mean time he hath referred you to the fleet, the arrival whereof is altogether uncertain. I would have you to write sharply to his highness about it, and to let him know, how you are forgot at a time, when money is received. Yesterday the king of England came incognito (but however all the world might have seen him) to the Jesuits church, to hear the musick before the arch–duke. His majesty was in a tribunal, and the marquiss of Ormond and the earl of Rochester was with him. Don John is at Milan: he hath writ a most gallant letter to the prince, wherein he stiles him most serene lord and highness. Very often at the bottom of a letter was no more than your most affectionate and faithful servant don John. The prince hath writ him a very civil answer, and there stiles him his highness. This don John enters by a very brave action. He was assaulted by 4 Turks men of war: the fight was very hot between them, and at last it proved very successful on his side. He is expected here towards the latter end of next month. Monsieur de Coligny is to go to meet him on the behalf of his highness. The earl of Fuensaldagna is to remain some time here; and in case he must go away, he hath a pass for France, and he will speak with cardinal Mazarin. The defeat of the king of Sweden doth not continue.
President Viole to Barriere.
I did not write to you by the last post, in regard I went to Antwerp with his highness, who returned hither yesterday. His highness did not receive any letters by this last post out of Spain; but those that did come, made no mention of the arrival of the fleet, which doth very much afflict every body here, and the more in regard the English fleet will be upon the coast.
Commissioner Pels to the states general.
High and mighty lords,
Your high and mighty lordships embassadors for Sweden are expected here after to morrow with God's assistance. The magistrates here do intend to shew them all possible respect, and a convoy is appointed to meet their excellencies five miles hence.
A letter of intelligence.
I am yet here in this country. The Brest men (I mean those pirates, that formerly inhabited Brest) do weekly bring in English prizes to this harbour, so that small and great they have taken from 25 to 30 fail. It's pity there is no frigats sent upon this coast to attack them; 2 or 3 good frigats would do the work. There are but 2 galleons and 2 pattachoes arrived from the Indies. The pattachoes bring only tobacco, and the 2 galleons arrived bring only 12 millions of duckets in register; but there usually comes as much more as is registred. There are 2 other galleons, viz. the admiral and the vice admiral, that are missing, and they have in register near 18 millions of duckets. The Spaniards give out, that they are returned back again for India, being not able to disimbogue; but it's feared by many they are either lost in a storm, or may fall into the hands of their enemies. This is all at present from, sir,
General Mountagu to secretary Thurloe.
I most humbly thanke you for the favor of your letter, which I received beinge under faile about the Start Point; and the gentleman that brought that packett from Dartmouth made soe great haste off on board, that I had not opportunity to write unto you againe. Beinge now about to send a ship to Lisbone (with our credentialls, and to lett the kinge understand of our approach to his dominions in an amicable way) I adventure to give you this trouble. The most considerable thing I have to write is of the prosperous voyage God hath graciously afforded us hither, without any separation of the fleete or other inconvenience, (that I knowe off) savinge that the Andrew spent her fore mast about the latitude of 45° 00, and yesterday the Metlyn gallye lost her boltspritt; and indeed it was odds, that she was not suncke, runn over by another shipp, but both these through carelessnesse meerely. About the latitude of 45° we saw a sayle to the S. S. W. of us, and sent a shipp to chase her (she makinge all the sayle from us, that she could.) About an houre after sunn–set our shipp came up with her, and found her to be a Dunkirk man of warr, a new ship. Our captaine saith he gave a broad side, and she gave him another; and that he layd his boltspritt on board her, but by a mistake in the steeringe, they shore of one from the other, and in the night she got out of sight, and soe he lost her. We had 2 men killed. We gaine little or no intelligence of the Spaniard, either of his fleete of warr, or his plate fleete, having met but 2 ships upon this ocean; and they say they believe wee shall gaine Lagos in 2 dayes, and wee are meditatinge to set on for Cadiz and not anchor at all in Lagos–bay and I hope we shall effect it. Wee have sent to the agent for the best intelligence he can give us. If the Lord be pleased to owne us, and goe along with us, wee need not dout to prosper, and without his presence wee shall surely miscarrye; and I trust wee have the servent praers of manye in England on our behalfe in this thinge. Not to be further tedious, but desire your favor to present my dutye and service wher you find it requisite to my noble freinds, I remaine
Generals Blake and Mountagu to mr. P. Meadowe the English envoy at Lisbon.
Drawing nere with the fleet we thought it expedient to send you herewith his highness credential letters, as also one accompanying them from our selves to the king of Portugall, both which we desire you would present with the first opportunity, and move for his majesty's answer thereupon, and the same to hasten to us by this frigott, if it be received within 24 hours, we haveing ordered her to stay so long for it. Else desire you would dispatch it over land to Lagos bay, where a vessel shall be left to bring it to us. What intelligence you have from Spaine, we desire you would communicate to us by the bearer; and we leave it to you to hasten him away sooner then we have ordered him, as you shall judge the consequence of the accompt to require. We are
From the Dutch embassadors in Denmark.
Since our last of the 9th we have spoken with the lords Rixhoff master and chancellor, about what was given to us in charge in three distinct resolutions of their high and mighty lordships of the 28th of the last month, concerning their resolution and desire not to enter into any further consederacy with the crown of Sweden, but with the common assent of this king. The holy days of Easter have hindered us from performing our du- ties with the king, of whom we had demanded audience, which is deferred till after the holy days. We also in our discourse with the said lords, upon occasion of the instance, which the lord embassador Nieuport is to make to dispose the lord protector to send an embassy to Sweden and Poland, did renew our endeavours to the end, that one might be sent from hence thither, upon which we received such an answer, that it is very likely, that if the protector will send one, that this crown will dispatch one likewise at the same time.
Upon the letter, which the king of Denmark writ to the protector about the alliance, which the king of Sweden hath desired with this crown, and upon the constitution of affairs upon the East sea, the protector had promised to return an answer, which was not yet come by the last post.
On friday last we received their high and mighty lordships letters, wherein we are re- commended to sign their resolution of sending some men of war towards the Sound. We thereupon presently addressed ourselves to the lord chancellor, and desired, that he would acquaint his majesty with our message, in regard there was no possibility of having any speech with the king by reason of the holy days: all was received with demonstration of good inclination; and thereupon we may the more rely, in regard we have long since in our discourse often mentioned the arrival of the said ships, but especially in regard the king (as we understand) was advertized thereof by the lord Rosenwinge. The resident of Sweden did make a further instance by a written memorandum, to the end the king would prevent, that no ships of war of their high and mighty lordships might come into the Sound; but they have not in regard thereof performed any further offices with us upon that subject.
An intercepted letter of king Charles II. to sir Henry Slingsby.
If I have said nothing to you of the sense I have had of your troubles, since you fell into them, it was for fear of encreasing them; but now that I have met with a secure way of writing to you, I cannot forbear to let you know, that I shall never forget the care of your sufferings, and that I hope it will not be long before you will be freed from them. The particular reason of my hopes and present desires to you I refer to the person, by whose conveyance you will receive this, remaining
Charles Stewart's letter of the 16th of April 1656, to sir Henry Slingsby, brought by J. Cooper, and delivered to John Walters to be carryed to Slingsby. It was delivered to me by Walters the 16th of April old style: haveinge taken a coppy thereof, I gave it to Walters to be carryed, as he bad direction.
A letter from Spain.
I wrot you by the last Holland shipps, that departed this port, too letters, the on by mr. Trevise under cover to mr. Wright, the other by mr. Popley, according to your owne direction, which I receaved in on of the 6th of February under Pedro Colarte's cover, which is all I have of yours since you left this place. By it I perceave you have not receaved any of mine, which I much wonder at, having writ you by three several conveyances; but indeed all over land, for there did proffer no oportunity by sea. I gave you in my last the occurrences of this place, which are of little or no concernment, for we doe not purpose to troble our selves with the cost of setting out an armada; especially our plate fleet being part arrived, the rest we hope in safety in some part of the Indies, it's thought more convenient to provide and fortify all our frontiers, and to let the English with there great force spend uppon themselfes, which wee hope is the best way to weary them out. By the inclosed, which is a coppy verbatim of one to sir Walter Dongan, a colonell heer of the armada, that came from Naples, that is now quartered in the country and my good freind, whose order I have to open his letters, and that you may perceave the deplorable condition of our royall party, I send it you heere inclosed; but to comfort you a little, I'le tell you what the serjeant major of this garrison (a favorit of the duke Medina Celi's) reported in my presence one good fryday at the Jesuits, that he had seen a letter from the councell of state to the duke, in answer of one, that he had sent the king, together with a gloss uppon the lord protector's manifesto, from whence he gathered by consequence, that it was convenient and necessary, that this monarchy espoused the royall interest of England, which as a councellor of state he gave for his vote. The answer was many thankes for his zealous and good services, and that the counsell weare resolved uppon the same; but not yet into what province to settle the king's person, uppon which circumstance there was a debate. Now the great news, which makes this former the more credible, is the treaty between Spaine and France with great secrecy, and the preparation for the meeting of the tow kings uppon the borders; and as I am inform'd a cessation of arms already: the pope's importunity for this peace and a catholick league is thought wil be suddenly effected. God of his mercy send us what is most for his glory and our salvation. Soe rest as ever,
Mr. P. Meadowe, envoy in Portugal, to the protector.
May it please your highnes,
I have heer enclosed the answer returned from the king by his commissioners and signed by his secretary; and am sorry after so much earnest travel and endeavour, I could not ripen this affair to a better issue; yet hope my service wil be never the les acceptable, although it has not hitherto produced that good effect, which I desired. My duty and affection have not been wanting, but the event depends upon the wil of others. Your highnes may be pleased to be informed by mr. secretary of the whole procedure of this buisines; and I most humbly crave your gracious pardon for the failings and miscarriages in the mannagement thereof. It remaines now, that I wait your highnes further orders and instructions for my future comportment in this service, which I entreate may be speeded to me with al possible expedition. In the meane time I shal be sure to carry things so fair with his majestie, that the fleet may upon every occasion freely make use of his ports and harbors for their provisions and accommodation; and my principal care til I heare further out of England shal be converted that way, and shall wait every opportunitie to be useful and instrumental, either by intelligence or any other meanes to that design. God preserve your highnes many yeers.
Mr. Bradshaw, resident at Hamburgh, to secretary Thurloe.
I have not any from you by this post, nor have I any thing of moment to ad to th' inclosed paper, which is all and the best intelligence wee have heere from Poland. The post comes soe late from those parts, that I have not tyme to translate the extracts, which I presume you will excuse. By the last weeke's post I gave your honour an accompt of mr. Townley's insolent behaviour towards me, as soone as mr. Rolt's back was turned, haveinge with much adoe bridled himselfe, whilst he was heere, least he should be a witnesse of his pride and folly, whome he had soe highly complemented to perswade him of his good affection to his highnes, notwithstandinge his arrogant deportment towards his minister. The affront haveing been soe publickly and indignly given, without the least provocation from me, cannot be past over without great dishonour to his highnes amongst the many publique persons, as reside heere at present, whoe expect what course shall be taken with him for it. I writ you in my last, that I had conferred with the cheefe burghermaster and syndicus Peterson, what course to take for the vindicatinge of his highnes honour amonge strangers; and that I found them both very resentive of the indignity, and of the ill consequence it may have for the encouragement of others, if it should be past over; and had their assurance, that if his highnes did require it, the senate would either force him to a suitable submission, or punish him accordinge to the nature of his offence, which I conceive is the onely way to meete with him, and to satisfie the publique persons heere present, that his highnes will noe more suffer his minister to be affronted, especially by his owne subjects, than the princes and states whom they serve. Besides it will prevent your truble at White–hall, which hee designes, thinkinge you are too full of busines to mynd such petty matters; and it will deterre others heere from the lyke practises, when they shall see, that the senate apply their authority for the curbinge of such insolent men with his highnes approbation; and the worke will be but short in their hands, the witnesses beinge ready to attest the deportment; nor neede it be doubted, that they will be over severe, if they doe but soe much as may be needfulle, at least to let him see his errour, or to let others see, that such insolent behaviour must not passe without a check is all that can be expected from them, and more than I should truble them with, were not the affront knowne to the whole citie, and my master concerned therein more than my selfe.
Not doubtinge, but that his highnes and your honour will soe farre resent this last indignity added to many former, as that by the first post next after my last weekes letters came on, I shall have a letter either from his highnes or your selfe, as promised, I rest
Mr. Ph. Meadowe, envoy in Portugal, to the generals Blake and Montagu.
It would be too long to recount to your lordships the many difficulties, which I have encountred in the service, which I am heere upon, for concludeing and ratifying the late treaty betwixt both nations, and setling other affaires relating thereunto. This work, though of great concernement unto both, is not yet finished, such are the shiftings and delayes used here upon a pretended impossibility on his majestie's part to firme these articles in the treaty relating to religion, as being a matter exempt from his secular jurisdiction, the contrary whereof I have cleerely and by evident argument evinced, knowing withall, that this manner of their proceedings is directed by other considerations then that of religion only; for his majesty knows well, that before the instruments of ratification be exchanged, he must pay 50000 l. due to his highnes upon former agreements, which he is not willing to part with presently, thinking that delays may produce alterations of affairs, and so the loss of time may prove the saveing of his money. Besides his Brazil fleet of about 100 merchants, with a convoy of eleaven men of war, are expected the latter end of the next month; and if he can dril off the business, til they are arrived, he hopes then to play his game at leisure. I am not ignorant of some other reasons, which I shall not trouble your lordships with. On saturday last I had conference with the marquess de Nissa, the lord chamberlain, and secretary of state, commissioners appointed by his majestie, from whome I parted with great dissatisfaction, and not without some discontent. Whereupon I immediately demanded audience of his majestie, which was promised me the munday following; the time of 20 dayes limited me by his highnes instructions to await his majestie's answer being now very neere expired. This was the posture of affairs, when your lordships expresse came to me, which was on munday morning. I was very glad to hear of your honours good health, and the safety of the fleet, as knowing that would be my last and prevalent argument for obtaining a more favourable dispatch, then I had hitherto found. But then knowing withall the contents of his highnes letter to his majesty of Portugall, it having passed through my hands, when in England, although I received no coppy either of it, or of that from your lordships, I easily apprehended, that in this juncture of time and state of affaires to present letters of that nature to his majestie, giving all assureances of friendship and good offices, albeit the treaty was not yet ratified, would redound to the prejudice of the business before me; and therefore resolved not to present them at this tyme, for which I beg your lordship's pardon by the next, and should not doubt the obteyning of it, had I opportunity to express more at lardge the several reasons, which induced me heereunto. The tyme of audience being come, I was admitted to his majestie's presence, and had speech in private with him above an hower, acquainting him, that his highnes after so many demonstra tions of his good will and affection towards his majestie and his dominions, and his earnest endeavours to settle a firme and lasting freindship betwixt both the nations, would very ill resent the unkind requitall, which is made him, if so be I could return no other answer to his highnes, then what I had hitherto received from his majestie's commissioners. To be brief, it came to this issue; his majestie promised me within a day or two to send me such an answer, as he doubted not should be to my content and satisfaction. All this while I mentioned nothing of the fleet, knowing his majestie was acquainted with the newes before; onely at the close of all told him, that I had received advice of the arrivall of the English fleet upon these coasts, telling him withall, that it was now in his majestie's choise to serve himself of the best fitted and appointed fleet in the world, to be as a wall and defence to his dominions against the declared enemy of both nations; and that his majestie might make use of them upon all occasions for a defence and security to his subjects in their trade and commerce; trusting he would never give occasion for converting that strength against him, which was designed and employed for his benifitt and advantage. This complement highly pleased the king, who asked me by name concerneing generall Blake, whome he had often heard so much of; assureing me with great affection, that all his ports and harbors should be ready at the service of the fleet, therein to fitt and furnish themselves with necessaryes upon all occasions. By this your lordships may a little taste the temper of affaires heer; and for your letters, which in duty to the publique service I have presumed as yett to conceale, I shall speedily deliver them; at least so soone as I shall have received his majestie's final answer to the demands, which I have made in his highnes name, which I expect to receive at the tyme promised. The pacquett directed to mr. Blackbourne I shall take care to send for England this weeke, there being an English ship in this harbor bound for Bristoll, ready to set sayle, whome I onely deteyne, till I have received the king's positive answer, that soe I might give his highnes a more full and certeine accompt of my negotiation.
For matter of intelligence, the letter, which I sent by capt. Whetstone, will acquaint your lordships with what was reported heer, which is since confirmed, that 4 of the Spanish West Indy fleet are arrived at Cales, and two yet missing, having fallen foule one upon the other, and not since heard of; for which there is great lamentation, those two being valued at 4 millions sterling. The Spaniard is reported to be in no condition to fight you, and that if you fight him, you must breake open his dores to come at him, for he intends not to come out of his owne howse. There are ten good able ships in Cales, that came from Naples, which not long since rode in the bay, but are since gone up within the puntalls to carine, whither, upon the least notice of your arrivall, all the rest will quickly retire. I heare, that De Ruyter is there with 15 sayle of Dutch men of warre, and that there are severall other merchants of other nations; and that the Spaniards are fitting out a fleet to go for the West Indies this summer, which if he can but give safe convoy to, that this is all he hath in designe besides the defensive. Two or three ships are expected here from London richly laden; but I could wish they would anchor at Cascais, and not come within command, till all things are setled here. If there be any thing of action, I shall crave your honors favour to command it to me. The newes of your successe will give life to your affaires here. I can very conveniently correspond letters both from Lagus or Pharo, if there were advise vessells waiteing there. I pray God prosper you with the great worke before you; and if in any thing I can be usefull, you may freely dispose of him, who is
Nieupoort, the Dutch embassador in England, to Ruysch.
On saturday last the 22d current I had audience of the protector in the morning, and with many reasons desired him, that he at last would enable me to acquaint their high and mighty lordships with his good intentions upon what I had on thursday last proposed to him in my audience from and in the behalf of their high and mighty lordships, shewing to him, that the season of the year was already far spent, and that worldly affairs were subject to much alteration; and that out of hand the best offices should be used for the furthering of the common interest. The lord protector made answer, that he must needs acknowledge they had been something tedious in their deliberations about that business, but that some of the lords of the council had been absent, and others undisposed; and that he himself without the council did not use to dispose of such affairs. That however he could assure me, that notwithstanding the reports, that were spread abroad to the contrary, or impressions made, that their high and mighty lordships should always find him sincerely as a faithful friend to the common good; and likewise in such a manner, that the Swedish embassador should have no cause to complain, that he hath not been sincerely treated withal. That he would not desire any one thing here on earth so much, as that all the protestant powers were united together by a good alliance. I said, that their high and mighty lordships did judge, that the same ought to be forthwith endeavoured, and that the endeavours of the extraordinary embassadors in Denmark and Poland, and also my weak ones here, did tend most thereunto. That his highness by sending likewise publique ministers would also add unto it. That being so far distant one could not well be informed of all that happened, nor remove the obstacle; whereupon he assured further deliberation should be had in the council about it.
Major general Worsley to secretary Thurloe.
Yours beareinge date the 28th of March I but received the 5th of Aprill, and therefore was prevented of observinge your commands in beinge at Chester assizes, for it ended ether the same day or day after. Yet notwithstandinge I was somethinge prepared, if I had not received your letter, and very speedely shall give you an account thereof. I am affraid hee doth you many ill offices there in that counttie, but I doubt not, eare longe you will understand the truth of that bussinesse. I had not failled off beinge there, but that I had apointed two severrall meettinge in Lancashire that very weeke, biffore it was knowne when the assize would be att Chester. I am affraid, that hee that's now sheriffe is not a persone, that may be justly suspected for his integritie to the present government. I have alreadie found him to be a person, whose plesure and delight is onely in those, who I verilie believe are the most dangerous enemyes wee have in these countyes; and I am a litle jelouse of him. As to the last designe, you neede not feare for all this; for if hee but speake or make the least show, I have him; onely I thought it my duty to give yow this account. I am now at Manchester, where wee have a meetinge this day. I shall leave it to otheres to give account of the hopeffullnese of our worke, and onely subscribe myselfe, as I am,
Col. Barkstead, lieut. of the Tower, to secretary Thurloe.
I received yours yesterday with the paper enclosed from the high sherriffe of Worcestershire, touching which I thought good to give you this acconnt. Bristow Harvy is one, that hath beene a highway man, and false coyner; but of late hath done very great service in discovering others his former companions, and daily attends me for that purpose. James Parkinson I kept prisoner neere 3 quarters of a yeare, whoe by order of the justices in theire sessions at Westminster was released, and is gone beyond sea. Patrick Plunkett is one, whome I have long had the knowledge of, and shall with the best conveniency take care for his apprehension. Capt. John Buck hath beene indicted, but not being found guilty is bound to his good behaviour, and to appeare at the next sessions. Richard Salter the last weeke I committed to Newgate, for suspicion of that robbery, he haveing, as I am informed, beene formerly condemned, and pardoned with condition to depart the land for tenne yeares, which he hath forfeited. Abraham Stapley I have long sought for, but is fled. Anthony Brothwright I have heard of, but he changeth his name soe oft, that I cannot hetherto gaine a perticular account of him. William Cooke hath warrants from the lord cheife justice against him, but as yet cannot be apprehended. Robert Rogers I know not. John Higgens is an engraver of tooles for false coyners, with whome I have one to observe his actions, and when it is seasonable apprehend him. Robert Read hath given security before me according to his highness late orders and instructions. Jonathan Newell I know not. Marke Dormer is now in Newgate; soe that you may perceive I have the knowledge of almost all those persons, and am now in prosecution of them. I must earnestly crave your pardon for this trouble, which I should not have given you, but that you might see what that party pretends to discover is not more then what is apparently knowne; and have not more but to assure you, that I am, Sir,
I have also received his highness's directions upon the report betweene Andrew Sell and Robert Savory, and have already perused the papers, and taken some paines therein, which I find a perplext and troubled buisinesse; and that what therein seems most to induce the maligancy of Savory, relates wholly to some servants of his. However I shall proceed therein so farre, as I am enabled by your orders and instructions.