A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 5, May 1656 - January 1657. Originally published by Fletcher Gyles, London, 1742.
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August (1 of 7)
A letter of intelligence from the Hague.
There hath not passed to day any thing considerable, only that the high council hath framed an advice to re-establish in interim one captain Perebom, formerly condemned for having failed in his duty in the last battle against the English. There hath been a conference concerning the 1500 men, that are to be transported to Dantzick, but nothing is yet reported.
Yesterday the princess dowager gave the lords of Amsterdam a reciprocal feast for the entertainment which those of Amsterdam had given to her; they spoke of no affairs, only it was said there, that the state could not well subsist without the amity of England.
Those of Zealand having produced their advice provincial on friday the 4th, did this morning insist, that the provinces would advise upon it, or that each province would give its advice upon it; upon which the rest said, that that was not necessary; for if it was conformable to the resolution of the 7th of July, it was the same that all the other provinces had done; if not, to what purpose to advise upon it? and thus all that was past in silence, referring to that, which was resolved on upon the said 7th of July, and set down for a ground for the sending of the fleet of the lord of Opdam. And the said resolution also containing, that they shall treat with Denmark to induce him to second the fleet; and upon an act of guaranty, in case that the execution of the said fleet, the one or the other should be assaulted. The council of state hath also made report and overture of their consultation, having named fifteen companies, which are to be sent for the reinforcing of the said fleet, which are to be commanded by the earl of Horn, monsieur Arient, Jurien Harsolte, lieutenant colonel, and captain Beverning major; the other captains are yet unknown to me, but each of these is to increase his company to an hundred men.
In the end the lord Lintelo and other commissioners of the States General are authorized and commanded to go and find the ambassador of Spain, to disabuse his excellency of the opinion, which he seemeth to have had in his memorandum of the . . . July; and to assure him, that this state hath no other intention but to observe punctually the treaty of Munster, and not to treat or do any thing, which may offend the peace and good correspondency with his catholic majesty. Holland hath proposed and urged to cause to be concluded the subsidy of ten thousand rix-dollars for Dantzick; upon which there being already taken a resolution, the same was suspended. Holland hath also urged to continue the fleet in the Sound or the Baltic sea, which is likewise suspended.
The princess dowager hath represented to Holland, how the elector of Brandenburgh was engaged in a war, and the princess royal absent; that she required, that by the state the presidents Pauw and Deedell and the raedt pensionary might be appointed overseers or guardians of the prince; upon which was resolved, that nothing could be done in it.
This day went from hence the extraordinary commissioners of Zealand; it is said as if they were not all agreed about the business of Dantzick and Prussia; but the day before yesterday and to day they did all declare, that they still persisted in their advice of the 4th current; and when they would have concluded in the States General for the subsidy of Dantzick, the said commissioners caused the same thing to be set down: likewise it would not be agreed nor resolved on, when this subsidy should begin to be in force; so that nothing is yet resolved on.
And as to these 1500 men there is still more of irresolution; for Holland itself hath not yet resolved to that in the form as the council of state hath drawn it up. As to the design of separating the elector from Sweden, upon that is nothing yet resolved.
This day was also nothing done in the business of Dantzick, although the commissioner hath declared, that he will depart and take his leave; but they consider that the town is in no danger, and that the armies of the Swede and Brandenburgh are more in danger; and that the fleet is an infinite vast expence, which is made for the town, yea which doth mount to millions; and that these twelve thousand rix-dollars per mensem are not necessary at present.
Those of Holland have been in a body at the assembly to oppose the resolution of the passage money, which the president hath again very much pressed. Those of Holland have caused to be alledged several acts and resolutions to the contrary; and likewise they caused to be said, that the business should have no effect, though it should be resolved; so that it was suspended.
Likewise was read a memorandum of my lord Schroder, commissioner of Dantzick, to have a resolution, and he declared by word of mouth, that he would go away; but in regard there be several provinces that still differ, and that Friesland likewise doth not consent, but in case of necessity, and that no great necessity is seen at present, there was nothing concluded about it.
The Dutch ambassadors at Elbing to the States General.
Since our last to your lordships, we have had two conferences with the lords Swedish commissioners, and in them we brought the business so far, that we hope we shall be able to effect the intention of their high and mighty lordships, and especially also the securing of the commerce and the business of the tolls, to get the same secured by written obligation, according to the order of their high and mighty lordships; and that the inhabitants of the United Netherlands shall not be disturbed directly or indirectly, by or in the behalf of his majesty of Sweden, in their commerce and navigation in the east sea: that also in his kingdoms and countries the tolls shall be raised with as little prejudice as may be to the commerce; and in case for some considerable and weighty reasons the same happen to be raised higher, that then the inhabitants of the United Netherlands shall not be higher assessed or taxed than the least of any foreign nations that are taxed then, or shall be taxed hereafter; atque ut nunquam majora & graviora ab iis exigentur vectigalia, quam exiguntur, vel in posterius exigentur ab amicissima & conjunctissima quacunque gente fæderata, quæ potissima ibidem fruitur, vel postea fruitura est vectigalis immunitate. But what concerneth the equality with the neighbouring subjects, we deduced some reasons concerning the same, in justification of what was desired by their high and mighty lordships; but in regard on the other side several pregnant motives and reasons were alledged, we could not mutually agree upon that point. Concerning the inclusion of the king of Denmark and the lord protector of England, the duke of Brandenburgh, and the city of Dantzick, we could not perceive, that any difficulty will be made on the Swedish side concerning the same, in regard of the three first potentates; but what concerneth the city of Dantzick, we do find by some particular discourse, and by what was spoken yesterday at the conference, that they have some considerable considerations concerning the same, as well in regard of the inclusion itself, as de modo inclusionis, the city of Dantzick being a member of Prussia, and incorporated in the kingdom and commonwealth of Poland, and therefore in regard of Sweden a hostile city. We intend to have another conference upon that subject to day.
A copy of a letter written by Oxenstern, chancellor of Sweden, to baron Suerin, one of the privy council of the elector of Brandenburgh.
Illustris et generosissime domine,
Facere non possum, quin una cum illustritate vestrâ summopere læter, esse sub auspiciis ductuque sereniss. regis Sueciæ domini mei clementiss. & serenitatis S. elect. acie victum feliciter fugatumque eum hostem, qui tumidè ferrum hisce regionibus atque flammam minabatur; atque est victoria eò celebris magis, quod numerosus exercitus.
Quod Moschos attinet, subest suspicio non vana, quod sint in nos iniquiori animo, ita tamen ut nec certi omnino simus de eorum in bellum propensione, nec polliceri nobis ab ipsis fidam amicitiam queamus; illud autem summâ fiduciâ indicare illustritati vestræ possum, non esse alienam S. majestatem à pace cum Moschovita colendâ, ideoque in mandatis dedisse iis, qui militari rei in Livona alibique præsunt, ut si qua spes est, quod possit Moschus aliquomodo permulceri, nihil intermittant, quo ad fœderis non temerandi consilia perducatur. Attamen & ita ubique locorum curari res jussit, eumque in modum cuncta ordinantur, ut si ad arma Moschovita conclamaverit, obviam strenuè hostili cuivis conatui iri possit. De Belgis nullus dubito, quin difficultates omnes brevi cessaturæ sint, ita enim summo studio legati Hollandici allaborant, ut tractatus tandem bono exitu terminaretur. Eò quoque jam res processit, ut negotium de Teloniis pro tranfacto fere habeatur. Instant equidem legati, ut & Gedanum generalibus terminis huic tractatui inseratur, id quod non vulgarem habet difficultatem: annitemur tamen, quoad fieri poterit, ut & hic nodus publico bono & cum commodo solvatur. Expetaverim omnino, ne abripi se Batavi sinerent, atque transversos agi Hispanorum subdolis consiliis; sic enim existimarem publicæ quieti salutique multorum firmiter brevi consultum iri.
Quid mihi polliceri debeam de Belgico tractatu nostro, vix certò affirmaverim. Nulla se iniquioris exitûs species prodit inter nos commissarios; assidui etiam ad sinem ac conclusionem properamus. Diversa autem videntur in ipso Belgio agitari consilia, utpote quæ sussunduntur ab aliis in rei evangelicæ & nostrorum statuum perniciem callidis. Scribenti hoc succurrit, non ineptum inter alia remedium sore, si illustritas vestra per principis ejusque partibus addictorum prudentiam malignis aliorum consiliis obniti vellet; accederet etiam hac opera reciprocum S. R. majestatis domini mei studium in celsitud. S. electoris atque universam ejus domum, & foret forsan prosicuum ad majus ejusdem stabilimentum, de quo nonnulla illustritati vestræ quantociùs aperire non negligam.
A letter of intelligence from the Hague.
By these several inclosed papers you will see, how those of States General do triumph every where, and do also insult in effect over protector as well as over Sweden, for having iterative advice from their ambassador that Sweden is not to expect any thing from protector; they interpret that not as an act of equanimity of protector, but as a sign of evident weakness, and that protector is nonplussed, as also the releasing of those three ships (which they ought to take for a very great demonstration of goodness and civility) they explain it fear and apprehension, that protector would have of 125. These things deserve rather to be laughed at than to be angry at.
But I can say, that I had it from a very good hand, that those of states of Holland have negociated
after several ways, and do still with Denmark, to make him break against Sweden; but Denmark doth
not altogether rely upon states of Holland; for at the same time it doth appear, that the States General offered
to treat with Sweden. And on the other side it is also considerable, that Sweden and Brandenb.
do keep in their hands some pawns, by which means they can make peace with k. of Poland
when they please, and after that Sweden nor Brandenburgh will not want of occasions so to do harm
with their army States General know that very well, and therefore they do still negociate and treat
with Sweden for alliance. I remain
11 Aug. 1656. [N. S.]
Courtin, the French ambassador in Holland, to Bordeaux, the French ambassador in England.
After that the lords States General had heard of the arrival of the lord high admiral Opdam with the whole fleet before Dantzick, they sent him orders to pray or advertise those, that should have any design upon the place, to desist from their designs, in regard he is there to relieve it, and maintain it, and desend it against all such as shall attempt any thing against it. This resolution is very vigorous, but yet those that govern do not declare, that they will resuse an accommodation with Sweden, provided they may have security given them for the freedom of commerce; and that they do not raise the tolls to the prejudice of these provinces; and that Dantzick remain free, and enjoy its rights and ancient privileges. This being granted, this state will recall their fleet, and will not meddle with the quarrel of the two kings, but will endeavour to procure peace amongst them. It is hoped, that the apprehension, which the king of Sweden will have of engaging in a war with this state, will make him incline to a peace.
The resolution is taken to send 1500 men to Dantzick, and the captains are already named for this expedition. The troops are composed of three nations, French, English, and Dutch; the command is given to the earl of Horne, but it is said he maketh some difficulty, and desireth such conditions of the state as will be hardly granted. It is spoken, that this state will send to the emperor and the German princes, to assure them of the amity of this state, and the great duke of Muscovy to preserve the interest of those merchants.
An intercepted letter of William Wall to one Barnet.
The Spaniard hath obtained great victories of late over the French in Italy and Flanders. Some foolish mad idle astronomers calculate the king of Spain's success from his reception of the king of Scots, who hath hitherto been unfortunate enough, and is like to be so.
A letter of intelligence.
Either my service here must be useless, or former three letters must be miscarried, that I have not before now been supplied with money. 7000 horse and foot are reported to be come the 9th of this month to the king from the emperor. Though don John hath got a half moon, yet it is thought Condé will not be gained these four weeks. Turenne hath convoyed considerable supplies into St. Gillian within these two nights.
An intercepted letter of Mr. Windham.
I Received yours of the 28th, wherein you still continue my hopes of the dispatch of my business, which I do attend with much impatience, being weary and ashamed to stay any longer in this place. I hope your next letter will give me the contentment you have given me cause to expect.
I can write you little news from hence, but certainly our trade is like to go on well. Some say Condé is taken by the Spaniards; but we have it not yet for certain. The French army is in no condition to relieve it.
And we say here likewise, that the king of Sweden is defeated by the Poles, and that there is great likelihood, that the drunken butter-boxes will fall out again with England; but if they do, I hope my lord protector will never give them again so good terms, as he did the last, but will teach them to know their betters, and beg for herrings.
Count Brienne to Bordeaux, the French ambassador in England.
My letter will not be long, since it will not contain any thing, only that your two letters were delivered to me, namely that, which you writ me, wherein you signified, that you would dispatch Heron, and that which he brought me. That you receive no answer to them by this, do not wonder; that which your letter did contain, and which hath been confirmed by colonel Lockhart, is of such consequence, that it doth seem to his eminence, before they conclude any thing upon it, something further is necessary to be done; and I will acquaint you with the intentions of his majesty, as soon as may be.
The enemy doth not presume, that his army cannot be beaten, not daring to undertake any thing. He hath finished his lines about Condé, but he dares not open the trenches, which doth cause us to judge, that he is afraid to come to any engagement, and that he doth rather love time and misery (which are not easily to be avoided in a place besieged) to assure himself of the taking of Condé, than to undertake it by force.
Let me know what is done in the maritime treaty, and whether it will be suddenly concluded. That which you told the lord protector, according to the order given in my last, will let him know, how much he is esteemed here. Let me know how he took it; and as much as you can, let him know, he is very much respected and considered in this court.
Commissioner Pels to the States General.
High and mighty lords,
We have again by this post received confirmation from Koningsberg and Elbing, that the Polish army, after the loss of 4 or 5000 men, was retreated over the Weysel towards Warsaw, which place his majesty thought fit to desert, being unfortified and infected, and is since recruited, and said to be in a good posture about Sendomir. The king of Sweden and duke of Brandenburgh have again sent the French ambassadors to the king of Poland, to offer him peace upon favourable conditions.
There must needs be great dissensions, divisions, and mistrusts between the king of Poland, the Polish nobility, churchmen, and the senators, which may prove very prejudicial unto them, if not timely laid aside.
The magistrates here do still seem very backward to conclude any thing with our state, excusing it, that they have not yet absolute power from the king of Poland. What will be resolved upon this alteration and unhappy rencounter, time will manifest.
A letter of intelligence, with a key to it by col. Bampfylde.
|Our Edward||Char. Stewarte|
|Coningsmarke||the lord protectour|
|To a pitch||a peace|
|Mr. Spencer||the king of Spayne|
|Mr. Phenix||the king of France|
|The antagonist||the ambassador|
I Bouldly conses my incapacity to expres to you the resentment, which your obligations cause in me; as allso my disability in meeting with occasions to acquit myself; for imediatly after my arrivall heere, I receaved a letter from my butler brother, that you have ben his librator, wherein you have seled a perpetuall obligation upon all oure family.
As for newes, these papers affowrds not much at present; only the great joy in releeving of Valensiana. As for the affaires of oure Edward, a man can hardly judge of them as yett after all they report; for I beleeve if Coning smarke had com thomorow to a pitch, Mr. Spenser would imbrace it; yet if Mr. Fenix had com to a pitch, they would give all assistance. The antagonist that was from Fenix in Ravenna is heere privatly, and there is four more. It is very privatly carried, and they are heere these 26 dayes. Severall reports, that it was Mr. Edward, that was heere, or his butler. If Mr. Spinser could be posessed, that Mr. Edward could doe much in Egington, he would goe thurrow with hem; but he cannot be posessed as yett, after all that has past, that he can doe any thing in Egington. In this I assure you, that Rawly tould Mr. Laurence, that they were much mistaken, and gave many reasons for it. Thow I say it, they had not much considensie in Mr. Edward's counsell. The reason I know not; onley they suspect them to have an understanding with Coningsmarke. Mr. Gerret is heere as yet, but very sickly, thow now he has recover'd somwhat, and is expecting to goe to Cornis. If I had an addres from you, you should heere more amply from me, and often. This I send to my brother hap-hassard, for he advised me, that he was upon parting therehence. If the addres you sent me, when I was going to Egington will serve, I will make ues of it; and be sure I will writ to you, but that which you may be confident to be threw. What I say of Mr. Edward, is but what I perseavd myselfe, seeing how certaine buissinesses are carried. You know my obligations to you, wherein I will not saile, whilst I live; soe I will subscrib myself
A letter of intelligence from the same hand.
My last to you was of the 9 ultimo, directed to Cl. which I hoap you will receave, to which I refer you till I heere where you are. I am in hoaps, to get the notmegs you desire, for, ifak, what would hee give? You would not beleeve, how I am troubled and vext by col. Daniel O Bryne, sir Daniell Gravecheild. If you have any papers, that has relation to hem, I pray send it to me with expedision, or to coll. James Fiz Gerald, for they are the only men, that troubles me. The conditions you made with coll. Bryne, I did not ratisy them, but uppon condition he would performe the noat he seind the 18 of Aug. 52. Ralse Coyner I know not if you or he has itt. As for nottmeggs heere is none, till I understand where you are settled. I would if Sagre weare out, that he would come to Rowland; for I see no hoaps of getting mach from Song, till that of Furgia be proposed. Can Aylmor doe any thing with the Inkeepers/ Irish to com to Spenser,/ k. of Spain, or gett thoes, that has lysence to bring them from there country to Feinex,/ k. of France, to bring them to Spenser./ k. of Spain. This would availe much: therefore loose noe time in it; and gett Mr. Ingland's answer. Yours to me allwayes send to Mr. Wescomb. You say that you seare, that the little butler will not continue. Is it his sault or Molleneux? Rowland is very sade. I know not what to doe with sir Walter; he is sure a roagg, and soe short seighted; otherwaies I would send hem to Germany. This is all I heere from you.
To Mr. Mathew Bonnell at the signe of the Harrow in Tems-street. This is how you may writ to the Sadlers, and writ to hem yourselfe. And now I have informed Rowland, that Mr. Longg will have no Inkeepers from there country; but that of Ingland is by the last suckses they thinke they need none; but against the occasion know, if any may be had, as I former advised.
The only way of subsistance Rowland has is that of Comesorte, onles that define of the Inkeepers takes effect. I would Aylmor had imployments for Egington. The Sadler will be much your friend, for Rowland has obliged hem much now of salt. Yours to Mr. Baron of the 23 ultimo.
Mr. Long has such an opinion of Cok, that inless an angel hav com from heaven, hee will beleeve none, nor will not goe to the proofs of the trunke lost; a thing that confirms hem soe much. God give us pasience. Rader goe for Egington then for any place, if wherwithall to maintain yourself. The Sadler will be your friend.
Aylmor is to neaver expect any goodnes from Longg, wheilst Cok lives. It is hee, that destroyes Rowland, for hee did what he could to place Rowland ill with Longg, becaues noe credit may be given to hem.
An intercepted letter of sir G. Ratclisse.
Though I have little to write, and that many of my letters are not worth what they cost you, yet I judge of them by myself, who at any time had rather lose my dinner than a letter from you. Yesterday I received yours of the 28th July with a bill for 1281. sterl. I am heartily glad, that lady Ormond hath at last got hers, that hath been so long a coming; for her husband gave me more charge of that than he usually doth.
I expect to hear something from Ormond next week, whereby I may guess how duke of York will dispose of himself, and when. Skinner saith, that his trade goes on very well, I perceive that the company is much satisfied, and that their correspondents deal justly and kindly with them. Their venture is not great, for their stock is low, and they cannot lose much; but if they get that market, which they expect, that profit may be considerable.
Lockhart, ambassador in France, to secretary Thurloe.
I Beseech you to beleeve, that the indestinctnesse of the last account I gave (and it's being writt with lesse cautione than was sutable to the importance of the affaire) did not proceed from my lazinesse. My distemper was then so very great, and the pain in my head so violent, that the little I could write was writt in all the torment imaginable. I knew, if I did not write that night, my letter could not overtake the post at Amiens; and if I had miss'd that opportunity, you could not have notice, how that affaire stood, till the arrivall of the post that carys this; and least my last may have miscaryed, I shall repeat what my former contained.
The cardinal seem'd to take the propositione concerning Dunkirk very unkindly; said it was to axe that, which, as his affaires now stood, they knew cowld not be granted; and they did mistake him very much, who went about to perswade him in to it, which he knew would bee his owne ruin; and concluded, the rigor of that demand was much greater then could have been expected. I replyed, I was not convinced of any such rigor in the demand, as he was please to expresse; and admitting their were, he would much injure that friend ship, of which he had so many renewed assurances, if he did conceave, that the propositions came singly from the protector. I knew the councell had very seriously debated that by si nes, and had offer'd that as their humble op in ion to the protect whose goodnesse seldome suffer'd him to slight the op in ion of so wyse and affectionatt me n. Their I was interrupted, and in some pas ion towld, that he knew very well, that the council were not for France. Spayne wanted not his sr iend s their. I said, I hop'd the council were neither for France nor Spayne but for England; and he again, I wish that yow and others too may not be deceiv'd in that.
After much more discourse upon this subject, I besought the cardinal to reassume the propositione into his consideratione, and weigh it both ways, either as it was reasonable to be demanded or granted. For the demand of it I urged the reasons you furnished me with; and for their agreeing to the proposition, I appeal'd to himself, if he would not think it just, if France were to ass ist England with an army, that protector should give them sa se landing place at D. and a re treat; if so, you had much more reason to expect the lyke from them, who were to ass ist France both with a army and fleet; and I thought Dunkirk cowld not be better then in your hand you might challenge it as a just recompense for the ex pe n ce of your fleet; and tho' that were not, yow had reason to demand it for a re t re at for the army, which you were to venture for their ass ist an ce; and if his designs were not to pr o lo n g the warr in Flanders, this was the only way to bring it to a happie and s pee dy end. I had said so farr for the in te res t of France, and as to his owne in te res t, your having Dunkirk would insinitely conduce to the se c u r ing him in the mi ni s trye of s ta te, he might assure himself your friendshipp wowld be such, as all his interests wowld be owned as your own; and the reputation of your arms would curb up his particular enemies so hard, as they would be glad to accept of his favour upon any conditions he should see fitt to give them. All the answer I had from him at last was, that he forsee many difficulties in it; some whereof I might see, and others I cowld not, because they were of that nature and secresie, that he could not at that tyme speak * * * *; and did conclude with this question, whether I would proceed any farther towards the conclusion of the business of the l e vi es, except the first of your demands were aggreed unto. He demanded my positive answer to it; which I gave in these terms; that at present I could not, but should immediately acquaint his highnesse with what had past; and so soon as I should receive any further commands from him in that affaire, he should be acquainted with them. Upon which he rose up, and said, he could loose no more tym abowt that businesse; and that he would immediately give order to al te r that design. I ax'd, if I showld lett his highnesse know so much; he said I might. When I was about to take leave, he desyred me to sitt again, and said I cowld not imagine with what regret he had given up that businesse; protested deeply, if it had been possible for him to agree to it, he wowld; and to express how passionately he desyerd the continuance of his highnesse respects to him, he was ready presently to si ne ar t ik l es for all was demanded, upon conditione that the ex e cu t ing them were de se r r ed to the ne x t year if his highness was not satisfied to doe that now in Ja nu a r y * * that treaty may be reassumed, and then he is consident to be able to give all the satisfaction can be desyered. I told him at present, I could give no answer to either of them two particulars he had proposed; and sinding him in a better humour then he had been in, said, that many things, that were not thought on now, might fall owt betwixt this tyme and that; and if common report had any thing of truth in it, a peace betwixt France and Spayne was not far from its conclusione. He did with no small assevera tions assert the contrary; and said at mons. de Lion his return, which would be very shortly, the world should see his caryage in it, for he was resolved to publish all the particulars of that negociation in print. The insolency of the Spanyards demands had got him his end. But by the way I must let your honour know, that the first tyme he prefixed to me for mons. de Lion's return was elapsed, whyle mons. de Lion was still at Madrid; and tho' he says he is now so absolutely countermanded, as no consideration can make him stay, yet yow may believe it but as farr as yow find it probable by other circumstances.
Mr. Morland in his last sent me some desyers from the Protestants of Piemont, concerning which they desyred the king's letters in their behalf to the duke of Savoy. I have represented the particulars to his eminence, who hath promised me the king's letter to the duke in their favour.
Sir, yow will perceive by this how little advantagious the continwing me longer here will be to yowr service. If you think fit to accept of the cardinall's offer presently, his sincerity in it will be quickly found; and if yow judge it convenient to delay it till towards the tyme mentioned, my stay heare till then will be both uselesse and expensive. If his highnesse think it meet to recall me, I believe I shall have that interest with most of my countrymen, that will be chosen for the enswing parliament, as I shall be able to give him some account of their deportment. And really, sir, I am so much conscious of my owne unfittnesse for the employment I am in heare, that I must againe begg (and even with importunitie) your mediatione for my return. Your own interest will be concerned in it, for yow have had the goodnesse to expresse so much of kyndnesse for me, as all my ill addresse and other mistakes will be partlie put upon yowr score as my patron. The French prepare for a siege. Bouchain, Rocroy, Aveenes are named. I believe the Spanyard will cary Condé before the French be ready for any considerable action; and then they will fynd it a hard work to sitt down before any place, when the Spanish army are at their heels. I am,
An intercepted letter.
The Swede is going down. Warsaw is taken. The king of Poland is a hundred thousand strong, and intends to divide into three armies; to send one for Sweden, another to the duke of Brandenburgh's country, the other to force out of the Swedish hands what garrisons they have in Poland. The Muscovites are hand and foot for him. I hope God, in his due time will bring peace. It is no wonder the Spaniards should prosper at Valenciennes, there was such fasting, and praying, and processions generally held for so many days before the fight, and ladies of very good condition and tender sweet complexions going barefooted till the blood run out.
A letter of intelligence.
We hear no news but the continuation of the siege of Condé, and your frigats blocking up the harbours of Dunkirk and Ostend. The Pole is fortunate, and Valencia in Italy is not taken, neither do I hear it is relieved.
A letter of intelligence.
Honoured dear sir,
Since my last here is not the least alteration or news; only that the duke of Orleans came yesterday to Paris, which the people were glad of, looking upon him as one, that doth and will promote the peace, and hope obtain it too, which they are fond of, and flatter themselves they shall have it, though I doubt they are far from it. The armies do no. thing: the French are still intrench'd where they were, and recruit but slowly. The Spaniard keeps Condé still close besieged, but it seems were mistaken in the time, for they were informed of much less provision than they have in it; insomuch as now it is said the governor hath undertaken to keep it seven or eight weeks longer. The king will be on tuesday next at Compiegne, there to meet and receive the queen of Sweden, who is far advanced in her way towards it.
England's remembrancers, or a word in season to all Englishmen about their elections of the members for the approaching parliament.
Dear christian friends and countrymen,
We have all reason to complain, and say, this day is a day of trouble, rebuke, and blasphemy. Our country, that was great among the nations, is now become vile; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her: they are become her enemies. How is the profession of holiness (by unrighteousness amongst us) blasted with the names of hypocrisy, falseness, ambition, and covetousness! How is the glory and the strength of our nation spoiled, and the blood of many thousands poured forth in waste, like water! How is the treasure exhausted, trade and commerce destroyed; and how are all our rights, liberties, and properties invaded and subverted by arbitrary powers and force of arms! Who can say his life or estate is secured for a moment, if the jealousy, envy, pride, lust, or covetousness of some in power please to command it: and how is destruction threatened daily by foreign enemies? Surely the day of the Lord is very great and terrible against us; and yet there is mercy with him that he might be feared; for in his abundant goodness he seems to open a door of hope, and to give us all leave by our deputies to advise the means of our safety and peace, and the present writs for election of your representatives being the product of divine providence, and we are confident not long since beyond the thoughts of those, that sent them forth, may be justly looked upon as the voice of God to you all, saying, Gather the people, call a solemn assemby, go and reason together, for in the multitude of counsel there is safety. Dear Christians, it is by the choice of your deputies only, that the whole body politic of this nation can consult together for their preservation. By this means only you may all speak your minds to each other, and every one to the whole nation; it is the natural way to settle your government, and provide for your common good; and in our present case there is no other way or means consistent with the laws of God or the nature of mankind, whereby our breaches can be healed, lawful powers and authorities created, righteousness and justice exercised amongst us; for which ends we most earnestly beseech you to be very serious and considerate in a matter of such high importance, and take heed that you neither mistake nor carelesly slight or neglect your present duty in the choice of your common assembly. Let it not be like a prize put into the hands of fools, without wisdom or hearts to use it. O that you would all beg of God courage, wisdom, and faithfullness, impartiality, and integrity of heart in this great affair. First then mistake not your present duty: think not, as some, that your strength in this affair is to sit still. Let not the darkness of unexamined scruples prevent your acting in this choice of your representatives. It may be some of you tender hearts being troubled at what hath been done by the lord protector (so called) are afraid to vote in the choice of your deputies, lest you should seem to approve his power, because the choice is appointed by his writs; but we pray examine this better.
First consider, that the writs for election neither did nor ever could be justly construed to give the people any right to chuse their members of parliament; the almighty God their creator, and the fundamental laws of this nation gave the people that right by their birth. It was not in the pleasure of the kings heretofore, whether the people should ever chuse their deputies for the common assembly, tho' it was left to their discretion and prudence what time of the year it was most necessary to call the assembly. The kings were bound by the laws and their oaths to send out writs to summon a parliament; and the last law about parliaments ordained the very constables to summon the people to their elections, if the kings or others should neglect their duties to summon them: we hope none of you would have thought, that the constables summons had given you a right to chuse; the writs are only to call you to exercise your own rights, and surely you may use your own rights, whosoever calls you to do it. If a thies should stop your way to your own house for a time, and afterwards send to you and bid you go home if you please, we suppose none of you would scruple to go to your own houses; why then you should scruple (whatever you think of the lord protector) to use your own rights in the expected elections, now he permits you to do it, being no way derived or claimed from him? and if it be objected, that the way of the elections approved by the laws is altered, it is easily answered, that the divisions of the numbers of the electors into several bodies or meetings different from those former ways of meeting, change not their rights, and that you use your own rights as far as he will suffer you; and it was frowardness to cast away what you may enjoy, because you have not all your rights.
But it may be some others of you will say, that God requireth at this time higher ways of advancing Christ's kingdom than by parliaments, and that God is gone out of the dispensation of parliaments, and therefore you cannot look after this to chuse or be chosen. But upon due examination this darkness of your minds will vanish, and you will find, that the saints preparation for Christ's kingdom, which God requires, is the clothing themselves with righteousness [Revel. xix. 8.] and that no righteous civil powers of governing in this nation can be yet derived from any other fountain than the people's consent or choice; and that you cannot be righteous or holy in setting up, consenting, or adhering to any other civil governing powers: 'tis yet the law given by God, and repeated by Christ, that you should do unto all men (saints or not saints) even as you would that they should do unto you; and we do believe, that you would not that any man or men should impose laws upon you at pleasure, and assume a power over your lives and estates, without your consent: and therefore it cannot be righteousness in you to do it unto others. Say not therefore, that God is gone out of parliaments, unless that you can prove, that God hath abolished this old law, or that by some other divine law the power of politic government is now to be derived from other original than the people's consent or choice; and we beseech you, dear Christians, never fancy that you act righteously or holily, if the divine laws be not your rule: we can no ways so highly advance Christ's kingdom as by obeying his laws, and be found doing them when he comes.
But say some others, we dare not have a hand in the choice of a parliament; for we doubt they will take away our liberty of conscience in worshipping of God, and we now enjoy it under the lord protector: that's worth all things else.
Dear Christians, we beseech you to try these your fears, whether they be of God: by what you alledge, you seem to say, we cannot endeavour to settle a righteous government, lest they oppress our consciences.
First, try whether you can find by scripture or reason any other way (except the people's personal agreement) to settle a lawful authority in this nation, but by some chosen deputies to represent the people, and consent in their behalf to such laws as are now necessary for safety, peace, common right, and justice amongst us.
If you can, then there is place for prudence to advise, whether your liberties will be secure by parliaments; but if you can find no other just means of making our laws and settling a lawful government, then you must either renounce obedience to God, or else cheerfully do your duty, and chuse your deputies with wisdom and integrity, and trust to the divine providence to bless and protect you and your liberties, whilst you walk according to his rules; and no question if there be due address to God, and dependence upon him (if it be at this time good for his people, and most for his honour to preserve their liberties in his worship) he will do it by parliaments, and will smite the hearts of any that now intend persecution, [Act. ix. 4.] as he smote the heart of Saul in his journey. However you may more comfortably depend upon God in pursuing the paths of righteousness in government, than you can in adhering to any power assumed in unrighteousness under good pretences. When the ark tottered, Uzzah put forth his hand with intent to save the ark, yet it cost him his life, because he took his own way and not God's to his good ends. [2 Sam. vi. 6, 7.] And many that adhered to Absolom in his rebellion, upon hopes of greater liberties which he promised them, justly perished with him. [2 Sam. xv. 4.] God will have justice and mercy rather than sacrifice, and it's better to suffer for righteousness sake, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; yet if your representatives may be duly chosen, and freely consult without the influence of a court, or the awe of a mercenary soldiery, their own interest and concernments bind them much more than any courts, standing counsels, or arbitrary powers to provide for liberty of conscience, they themselves being subject to the laws they make, and being without any possible private interest in oppressing any man's conscience, when the others have always an interest of their own cross to the people's, which guides their resolutions, and may probably lead them to oppress one day the same people's consciences, that were their favourites the day before.
We confess there is too much cause for these fears, yet they are not ground for you to forbear to elect or to be elected. It cannot be denied, that (unless there could be a personal agreement of the people) an assembly of the people's deputies is the only visible means to settle justice, right, and peace in the nation; and if so, then no fear of the success or of any danger can warrant the omission or neglect of using the last or only visible means of common right and safety. When there was no other visible means left to preserve her country from ruin [Esther iv. 16.] then it was fit for Esther to attempt that means (though the tyrant's sword had decreed it to be death to use it) and to cry out, If I perish, I perish. None that love justice and their country may omit any one probable means of their prosperity and safety.
Secondly, The success of a lawful means of good ought not to be distrusted. Who knows what Jonathan and his armour-bearer may do, when the spirit of God comes upon them? [1 Sam. xiv. 6.] When Hezekiah had paid Sennacherib all his due tribute, and nothing would content him [2 Kings xviii. 31. compared to 14.] but that Hezekiah and his people must be slaves, the people were in great fear because of his mighty host, what became of his hundred and eighty thousand men in a night?
Thirdly, admit the hopes of good were very small, if the possible means be not used, and justice and righteousness in government be subverted, and the name of God thereby blasphemed, and your country ruined, you cannot comfortably suffer under it; your consciences will be gall'd with the remembrance, that you neglected one opportunity, that might possibly have prevented all the mischief.
Fourthly, If the assembly prove fruitless, yet your electing carefully such as you ought may prevent much mischief. If men of corrupt rotten principles, and of mean, base, servile spirits should stand under the notion of the people's representatives, by reason of honest mens negligence about the election, how will the name and glory of God be eclipsed, that should shine forth in laws founded upon justice and reason, and in governors acted by noble and sanctified principles? How may unrighteousness be settled by law, and you and your posterities sold for slaves, to serve like beasts the will and lusts of great men? Therefore the danger you mention as a discouragement in your election, is the greatest possible argument of care and caution in the election; and if your deputies should be turned home again for their faithfulness and integrity in their trust, the sin be upon their heads that do it, and the measure of their iniquity will be the sooner full, and fit for divine vengeance. Now as we hope all honest men will be satisfied, that it is their duty to chuse their deputies for the approaching parliament, so we humbly pray them not to slight their duty, nor do it negligently. Think not upon this as a small thing, that must give place to a bargain, or a day's harvest-work, or the saving of a load or two of hay or corn. Do not think it of such mean concernment, that 'tis indifferent to you whether you go to the elections or not, unless your friend or your landlord send to you. Let us intreat you to consider the nature of your duty, and the importance of it to yourselves and others.
You are now to chuse those, that are to judge of all your common grievances and complaints, and to study and contrive your redress, ease, and happiness. You are now to chuse those, that are to dispose of and command your purses, and to lay what taxes upon you they in their wisdoms shall think necessary. You are now to chuse those, that are to make war or peace for you, so that the blood of yourselves and the whole country is in effect, under God, bound up in the wisdoms and integrity of their resolutions: they may, under God, involve you in blood and confusion, or settle you in peace and happiness. You are now to chuse those, that are to chuse for you all the rules of your civil lives and conversations; they are to judge wherein you shall be bound and wherein free; the rules and laws you have already are in their power to alter (saving to your natural rights) and what laws now they judge necessary, you are to be bound by them; you are to chuse those, that are to supervise the administration of all justice amongst you, so that in truth you are now to provide for all righteousness amongst men, wherein the glory of God and the honour of the profession of Christianity is so much concerned; and in a word, you are now to chuse those, whom you trust with your persons, your lives, your estates, your wives and children, and your country. If you have any value for any of these, any love to justice and the honour of God, any love to your dearest country, and tenderness to your wives and children, or your own blood, or any love to your trades, peace, and safety, you are to mind this election, and to take heed how you chuse, and whom you chuse, and to do it conscientiously, as in the sight of God, and not as men-pleasers. Take heed, that no vile corrupt motive biass or incline your minds in your election; let not any dependence you have upon any man for personal profit and advantage move you; let not friendship or relation of any kind whatever make you recede from the pure and noble principles of free-born Englishmen; let not the greatest power or pomp of any man make you admire him, or incline your minds to trust him; let not hopes of the favour or countenance of any man allure you; sell not yourselves, and posterities, and your country at such low prizes as these; neither let the terror or threats of any man, nor yet the clashing of the soldiers arms affright you out of your impartial judgment and integrity in your choice; and we beseech you lay aside all personal prejudice against any sort of men, and agree together to have nothing in your eyes in your elections but the worth and fitness of the persons for so great a trust as you are to repose in them, and enquire after these ensuing qualifications:
Secondly, That they be men of judgment and wisdom, having a sense of and able to look into the true causes of all our country's miseries, distractions, and burthens, and by God's help to contrive the best means of your case and settlement in freedom and peace.
Thirdly, That they be men of courage and fortitude, despising danger and hazard for the common good; such as think not their lives too dear to venture for righteousness sake. Men of cowardly mean spirits will sell themselves and you for slaves, if any man of power boldly attempt to be a tyrant over you.
Fourthly, That they be men of uprightness and integrity in their lives, such as fear not good laws, but love them. How can evil-doers, to whom good laws are a terror, be instrumental to make such laws ? Such as are faith-breakers and falsifiers of their trusts, proud and arbitrary oppressors of others, or despisers of the laws; such can never heartily endeavour, that justice should be done upon such offenders, and without that you can never enjoy freedom or safety.
Fisthly, That they be full of mercy, love, and goodness to all men, full of the bowels of Christ, taking compassion of such as are out of the way; not malicious, cruel, and bloody, whose hands and hearts are ready to thirst for the blood of such as are not of their minds, though men more righteous than themselves.
Seventhly, That they be men of public enlarged minds and hearts, who know they are not born for themselves, but to give glory to God in righteousness in this generation, such as cannot be satisfied, unless they be doing good to others; not men of private mean spirits, who mind not how the nation fares, if it be well with them; such will be ready to betray you to save themselves.
Eighthly, That they be men equally concerned with you in all they shall advise about or enact, whose interest is bound up in yours, and must share equally in all your common burthens, oppressions, and losses; not such as live upon the public purse, or any of their adherents, whose gain is your loss, and whose pomp and greatness must be founded in your oppressions and ruins.
Ninthly, That they be men of sound experience in public affairs, and well affected with the worth of our good old cause, and well read in the deceits of this age, and such of whose faithfulness you have had some trial. Seek out, we say, dear Christians, friends, and countrymen, for men thus fitted by God for public trust, and meet and advise together how you may find out men thus qualified, and then acquaint each other with your knowledge you have of them, and send up such in your stead to the grand assembly, and then pray for them, and stand by them, and take every affront done to them as done to the whole nation, and to every one of you in particular; and then without doubt (if God should please to humble the nation for the sins, which hath brought us under all our miseries) the mighty God will so bless all those endeavours, that tend to the advancing of righteousness, truth, and justice, that the voice of tyranny and oppression will be no more heard amongst us, your liberties will be vindicated, your grievances and burthens eased, the honour of our country (that now lieth in the dust among all nations) will be again restored, your trades revived, peace and plenty returned, and the generations yet unborn will have cause to bless God for such an assembly. And what shall we say more to you, dear Christians and countrymen ? Do not the tears of the widows and the cries of the fatherless speak? Do not your imprisoned friends speak ? Do not your banished neighbours speak ? Do not your infringed rights speak ? Do not your invaded properties speak ? Do not your gasping liberties speak ? Do not your often affronted representatives, which have been trodden upon with scorn, speak ? Do not your incumbred estates speak ? Do not the blood of many thousands speak ? some slain with the sword, and others killed with hunger; witness Jamaica. Do not the cries of your poor brethren, the honest seamen, the wall and bulwark of our nation against foreigners, who have so freely ventured their lives upon all just occasions and calls, and now most barbarously forced from their wives and children to serve the ambitious and fruitless design of one man ? Do not all our ruins at home and abroad, by land and sea, speak to you ? Surely they have loud voices; surely they do daily cry in your ears. Help ! help ! or England perishes !