A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 7, March 1658 - May 1660. Originally published by Fletcher Gyles, London, 1742.
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February (1 of 2)
A paper of secretary Thurloe, relating to the post-office.
Vol. lxvii. p. 33.
Whereas the honourable the committee for inspecting the treasuries required of me an account, as well of touching the rent of the post-office, as the sum of two thousand nine hundred ninety-nine pounds and five shillings and seven-pence, supposed to be lately received by me out of the exchequer, I do humbly offer this answer:
I. As to the rent of the post-office, I have paid into the exchequer the full rent due for the said office upon the twenty-ninth of September last, according as I was ordered by the council of state, and have my discharges for the same, according to the course of the exchequer; and as for the profits of the office from the twenty-ninth of September to the twenty-fifth of December last, I humbly offer to consideration, that within less than a fortnight after the twenty-ninth of September last, my farm was, by virtue of an act of parliament dated the eleventh of October, made null and void, and the office itself, as it stood at that time, set aside, and consequently no more rent payable; and it was then lawful for any other person to set up other posts for the carrying of such letters as should be brought to them, which very many accordingly practised.
This made me once resolve to quit the office immediately; but having respect to the loss, that the commonwealth would sustain in that case, I continued things as they were till the twenty-fifth of December, carrying such letters as were freely brought to me; yet declaring, that I would not continue so to do any longer than the said twenty-fifth of December.
That the troubles and disorders, which were between the eleventh of October and the twenty-fifth of December, did both in England, Scotland, and Ireland, greatly lessen the profits of the office, the whole arising thereupon not being able to pay the charge, and answer the rent formerly reserved, by many hundred pounds, as will appear by certificate of those, who manage the office; and this loss ought not in justice to fall upon me, my farm, and the covenants therein, which were for my advantage, being made void, so that I can in law have no benefit by them; and therefore it will not; as I conceive, be thought reasonable to require a rent upon an avoided lease. But having no design to apply the profits to my own use, I set off a debt due to me from the state in lieu of the profits received, as aforesaid; which is the answer I give to the second question touching the 2999 l. 5 s. 7 d. supposed to be received by me. To which I say, I received not one peny of money out of the exchequer; but there being due to me from the state, expended for public services between the twentieth of January, 1658, and the twenty-ninth of September last, (and for which I formerly gave an account to the council of state before the parliament's last interruption) and for defalcations, according to the covenants in the lease in the postoffice, the sum of 2999 l. 5 s. 7 d. I did give an acquittance in the exchequer as for so much received out of that receipt by me, and thereby discharged the state of that debt in such manner, as I can never demand or expect other satisfaction, detaining in my hands the value thereof out of the profits of the post-office as aforesaid, and am ready to give a just and true account of the profits of the office from the twenty-ninth of September to the twenty-fifth of December; and in case any thing shall appear to be in my hands over and above what is before expressed, I shall be ready to pay the same, a just allowance being also made for the management of the office during that time; and this, I hope, will not be denied, as well for the justice of the cases, as also because I improved that office 4000 l. per annum, to the state voluntarily, which I might have put in my own purse.
Read February 2. 1659.
Thursday, Feb. 2. 1659.
Colonel White reports a paper of John Thurloe esquire, which was read. Resolved, &c.
Vol. lxvii. p. 29.
That the warrant for a tally on the post-office for the payment of two thousand nine hundred ninety-nine pounds five shillings and seven-pence to John Thurloe esquire, for disbursements in the business of intelligence, and other public services to the commonwealth, by him . . . . . by colour of letters patents, dated the twelfth of December, 1659, is null and void.
That the said paper and case of John Thurloe esquire, touching his disbursements and services for the commonwealth, be referred to the council of state, to consider of it, and report their opinion therein to the parliament forthwith.
Tho. St. Nicholas, cl. of the parliament.
To the right honourable the council of state appointed by authority of parliament.
Vol. lxvii. p. 37.
The subscribed embassador of the lords the states general of the United Netherlands hath received certain intelligence, that the free Hans-town of Lubeck hath prohibited and forbidden, (Hamburg intending to do it also) that their people and inhabitants should not pay in France the newly-imposed lastgelt or ship-money, exacted from all foreign ships and vessels lading or taking in any freight in the ports of that kingdom, in the same manner as is expressed in the proclamation of the said lords the states general, published in August last past, a copy whereof hath been communicated heretofore to their honours, to the end, that the like order might be given by and on the behalf of this commonwealth, the consequence of the said new and unreasonable burden being of no less prejudice and ill consequence to England than the United Netherlands and the Hans-towns.
The said subscribed embassador beseecheth also, that he may have a favourable and positive answer concerning the articles for preventing of piracies; to the end, that commerce and navigation may be encouraged. Given this 7/17. of February, 1659/60.
To the right honourable the council of state appointed by authority of parliament.
Vol. lxvii. p. 35.
The subscribed embassador of the lords the states general of the United Netherlands hath by his former papers at several times represented the most sincere intentions of the said lords his superiors, concerning the peace to be established by the joint mediation and co-operation of the three states, or at least of England and the United Netherlands, between the two Northern kings and kingdoms. And now on consideration, that the king of Sweden hath not only refused to accept of the proposals offered unto him by the public ministers of the said three states, according to the respective agreements made at the Hague, and the orders given to the plenipotentiaries of this commonwealth, and the extraordinary commissioners of the United Netherlands, during the last summer, but that he hath continued with his forces utterly to destroy and ruin the territories and islands of the king of Denmark; as also; that he hath still disturbed and obstructed since to the utmost of his power, the free commerce and navigation in the Sound and Baltic sea, to the great loss and prejudice as well of the people of this commonwealth, as of the state of the United Netherlands, who have both suffered by the continuance of the war in the said Eastern parts, whereby the mother trade of both nations hath been obstructed, and so unhappily interrupted; the said lords the states general have not been wanting to bestir themselves to the purpose, as well by their public ministers with the two high renowned kings, as otherwise; to the end, that the king of Sweden might have been persuaded to agree to the conditions propounded by the said three states, when the king of Denmark had declared both by word of mouth, and in writing under his hand and seal, his acceptance thereof: but seeing the king of Sweden did not only angrily reject the same, but that of late he hath in a project of a treaty propounded several impracticable and intolerable conditions, altogether differing from those, which by the said three states had been judged to be moderate and reasonable, (whereby it appears, that the more high-renowned king of Sweden hath no real intention to settle a peace in the said Eastern parts; not regarding the great charge and expence, which the war there hath brought upon the commonwealth of England, and on the state of the United Netherlands, beside the loss and inconveniency sustained during the war, by the people of both states, in their commerce and navigation in those parts) the said lords the states general have expresly ordered on the thirtieth of January last past, (when they were certified, that the present parliament was again re-established) that the subscribed embassadors should assure their honours, that they the said lords the states general do truly and sincerely desire, that the aforesaid war may be accommodated and associated; intreating, that it may please the parliament the supreme authority of this commonwealth also to order, that by the common and joint co-operation the king of Sweden may be brought to accept of the conditions expressed in the said former agreements; as also to refund the expences, which have been already supported, or may be hereafter occasioned by reason of his refusal and tergiversation. It is notorious, that the United Netherlands have been put to extraordinary costs and charges, since the king of Sweden's refusing of the aforesaid conditions, expressed in the aforesaid agreement; and that they have cause to demand satisfaction and refusion of the same from the king of Sweden; yet to shew their sincere and hearty affection to re-establish the peace between the high-renowned kings, they would be content to quit the same, if on consideration thereof surer and more favourable conditions might be obtained for the king of Denmark, which would certainly redound to the honour of both states, and much assure the liberty of the commerce and navigation in the Sound and East-India countries, for the comfort and welfare of the people of England and the United Netherlands. Given this 7/17. of February, 1659/60.
At the council of state at Whitehall.
Tuesday, Feb. 7. 1659.
Vol. lxvii. p. 39.
That it be referred to Mr. Challoner, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Say, Mr. Bethell, Mr. Barners, Mr. Love, Mr. Martin, Mr. Nevill, or any two of them, to consider of the two papers this day delivered in by the Dutch embassador, as also of the paper delivered in from the deputy of Denmark, and what is fit to be done in answer thereof; and to report their opinion thereof to the council: and they are desired to meet at two of the clock tomorrow in the afternoon; and in the mean time Mr. Jessop is to make an abstract of the Danish paper, and present it to the committee at their sitting.
W. Darell, cl. of the council.
The princess royal to the states general.
Vol. lxvii. p. 4.
Hauts & Puissants Seigneurs,
Je viens de recevoir la secunde lettre, qu'il a plu à V. S. de m'envoyer du 11a de ce mois, avec ce nouveau memoire de Madame la princesse douagiere, ma belle-mere. Je suis bien marrye de n'y pouvoir pas encore faire une response precise, parce que j'attens tousjours ce qu'on m'en escrira de France, ou j'ay esté obligée d'avoir recours, estimant de ne pas rendre un petit service au prince mon fils, que celuy de luy conserver les bonnes graces du roy très Chrestien, puisque le principauté est enclavée au milieu de son royaume, comme aussi croit faire la reyne Madame ma mere, en contribuant de son coté le credit, que sa naissance luy peut donner dans cette cour, à fin que dite principauté demeure à mon fils, avec les mesmes avantages & prerogatives, dont ont joui jusques à present ses predecesseurs. Ce sont-là que toutes les considerations & les soins de sa dite majesté Madame ma mere, & les miennes aboutissent, du quoy je puis asseurer vos seigneuries, & que je suis,
Hauts & Puissants Seigneurs,
Vostre très-affectionnée amie,
Brussels, le 18. Feb. 1660. [N. S.]
To the right honourable the council of state appointed by authority of parliament.
Vol. lxvii. p. 42.
The subscribed embassador of the lords the states general of the United Netherlands, finding, that several men and ships belonging to several ports of this commonwealth, do yet daily seize ships and goods belonging to subjects and inhabitants of the said United Netherlands, and bring some of them up also in places of this commonwealth, findeth himself obliged to represent again to their honours, beseeching, that without any further delays a positive resolution and order may be taken to prevent such excess in the future; and that the ships and goods so piratically taken may be restored to the true owners, and especially a hoy, called the White Swan of Vleeland, the master, Peter Hansen Boy, laden with wines and chesnuts, which hath been taken by that famous pirate captain Welch, with a small frigat set forth out of Dunkirk, and brought up at Fowy in Cornwal, as is more fully expressed in the annexed letter. Given this 9/19. Feb. 1659/60.
At the council of state at Whitehall.
Thursday, 9. February, 1659.
Vol. lxvii. p. 4.
Upon reading a paper from the lord embassador of the states of the United Netherlands, concerning a seizure of Dutch vessels by ships of this commonwealth, and particularly the White Swan of Vleeland, taken by captain Welch:
That the committee, formerly appointed to consider of the Dutch papers, do meet tomorrow in the afternoon at two of the clock, and prepare matter for a conference to be had with the said embassador upon this and the former papers.
W. Jessop, cl. of the council.
Mr. Longland, agent at Leghorn, to secretary Thurloe.
Vol. lxiii. p. 126.
Seing the tymes at hom ar so ful of changes, your honour has bin very prudent in sequestring yourself from publik bisnes. Somtymes 'tis better to be a spectator than an actor. Althoh this last scene has bin tumultuous, and ful of troubles; yet, God be thanked, ther has bin no bloudshed. By this tyme my lord Fleetwood and my lord Desborow may have seen theyr errour in pulling down that government and familly, which had bin a sure shield and buckler for their own greatnes, as also for the liberty and safety of the whole nation; but that action wil be repented of at leysure.
Althoh thos places in the duchy of Millan taken by the French in thes warrs ar restored
to the Spaniards; yet 'tis believ'd by most in Itally, that the peace is neither cordial nor
durable; but that each party does alredy begin to seek advantages against the other. I do
believ, if the government wer settled at home, England might hav very good conditions
of peace from Spain, and keep Donkirk stil. But if our state has an inclination to part
with Donkirk, I wish they would exchange it for Oran, a port of the Spaniards on the
coast of Barbary near Argier, whereof the Spaniard makes no use at al; but to the Inglish
it would be very advantageous for many occasions, which I hav formerly hinted unto your
honour. We understand the Duch are sending a fleet into thes seas, consisting of 16 in
20 sail of men of war, and supposed, their design is to destroy the Algier men of war. I
lately met with a book here, cal'd the Antiquity of Toscany, which is collected out of
papers hid under ground abov seventeen hundred yeares, now latly found and publish'd,
which being ful of very ancient curiosityes, I thoht it might be worth your honour's view.
Wherfor I hav desyred my kinsman Mr. Parker to send you a book, the rather it being
so suitable with the present state of our country; for kingly government was expell'd
thence, and a commonwealth setled with much pollicy and prudency about the tyme of the
Trojan war, in which state they continued about 800 yeares, til they wer subdued by the
Romans. The citty, so often named Volterra, is stil extant within 25 myles of this place,
upon an exceeding high hil, which this author shewes to be built by Noah. If I er in
troubling your more serious thohts with this book, pray attribut it to the respects I owe,
and the great esteem your wisdom and prudency has gained you with al men, especially
Right Honourable, Your most faithful servant,
Leghorn, 13. Feb. 1659.
Extract of letters delivered to Mr. Love, &c. at a conference, February 14. 1659. with the lord embassador Nieupoort.
East Cowes, February 8. 1659.
Vol. lxvii. p. 19.
I Have not written to you of late; but now, having this special opportunity, things lying so, I thought good to give you notice, that so you may represent it to the embassador, as things worth his taking notice of; and if not speedily remedied, will turn very prejudicial to that state, and not beneficial to ours, only to some particular men, which are takers and buyers; one under colour of a Swedish commission, which is indeed but a copy bought from another man; the other under colour of buying from the schippers at a supposed small rate, both which are very prejudicial, and will be more, if not speedily prevented. For if this compounding for and buying of ships be permitted, you will have here the sea full of Swedes commissions, (which is indeed but a copy that is here) and also of Portugal commissions. For no sooner is a ship taken, but one or other is buying of her, under pretence for the schipper; and small vessels will be set out, which need not go far to sea to take prizes, money being so ready for them; which is a great encouragement. For I hear, in the west country, some open boats are out only with nine men in them, moneys being so easily had for what they can catch. This man, Mr. John London, having already taken three or four, and compounded with all of them, one of them being here in this harbour, brought in the last night laden with wines and brandy, as they say. I think in my judgment a good course would be to send down a special warrant, to arrest the ship, the man of war, Mr. John London, and the pretended captain, which is a Frenchman, and the prize in the name of the owners, or my lord embassador. Her name I know not, neither can I inquire her at present, the post being ready to go; but by the next you may expect it. But send down the warrant, before the ship be disposed of, and the frigate gone to sea, to do more mischief. There is also a states man of war with a fleet under his convoy, of Amsterdam, named Gillis Matysen Campen. In his voyage from Rochelle he hath retaken a ship, which was taken by a French man of war; and here are also pretended buyers of the ship, and much diligence is used to get the ship from him. They have also sent to London for a warrant to arrest the ship; so that I have advised the captain to wait, and go out of command, which he is now doing, as also to use force against all men, that shall by violence come aboard to make arrest upon the said ship. God send peace, and more trade, or else we are all undone, and must of necessity turn men of rogues, &c.
Extract of a letter written at Cowes in the isle of Wight, the 8th of February, 1659.
Vol. lxvii. p. 17.
I Could not but salute you with these few lines. By my former I did let you know of a man of war, that was set out here by John London, who hath taken four Dutchmen: one of them he hath at present brought into this harbour loaden with brandy and Graveswyne. The schipper's name is John Johnssen Leo, of Flushinge. If there be not a present course taken with these, many more will be presently set out. The man of war hath a Swedish commission. The chief actor, Mr. John London, is at present in the city of London. If he can or may be found, and laid up, and an order sent down to arrest the prize man of war, and captain, by what name soever he shall be called, because every day they change the name of their captain, and master, it will do well in this business. Remaining, &c.
Extract of a letter written at East Cowes, 10th February, 1659.
Vol. lxvii. p. 18.
In my last unto you I did advise you the state of buissnes here as to the manne of warre. And now here inclosed I send you a letter to the lord ambassador from the captaine. I suppose, if my lord ambassador move the supreme authority, that some course may be taken with our frigate for the suppressing of such men. Therewithall I send you the names of such men as he hath taken. Marin Pieterssen, of Flushinge, sould at Garnsey for 5000 gilders, as I am informed; Diriek Diricxen Leake forced ashore and plundered, and the ship beate in peices. A galiot hoy taken and sold at Falmouth for 1500 gilders. Jan Janssen Leeun, of Flushinge taken, and remaining here in the harbour, and, as they say, sold for 7000 gilders. So, with my best respect to you, I rest, &c.
At the council of state at Whitehall.
Tuesday, February 14. 1659.
Vol. lxvii. p. 54.
Mr. Love makes report, that according to the council's order he and Mr. Challoner had a conference this day with the lord Nieupoort, embassador from the states general; and that they received from him several extracts of letters concerning Dutch ships taken by one captain London, on pretence of a Swedish commission, and sold in the ports of this commonwealth. Ordered, that the same be referred to the committee of the council, to whom the former papers exhibited by the said embassador are referred, who are desired to consider of the whole affair, and to confer with the lord embassador thereupon, and particularly upon the articles and proclamation for preventing of piracies, and to report their opinion to the council with the first oportunity.
W. Jessop, clerk of the council.
A letter of intelligence from the Hague.
Samedy, le 21. Febr. 1660. [N. S.]
Vol. lxvii. p. 50.
La Hollande a avisé, qu'il sera à propos de faire au sieur Friquet ministre de sa M. Imperiale une response sur son dernier memoire, en termes fort civils; ainsi toutefois, que l'estat ne soit point engagé par-là en ce qu'il desire.
Copie de la creance du sieur Downing envoye extraordinaire d'Angleterre a esté veue; et est resolu, qu' à la veue de l'original d'icelle creance, on luy donnera audience; mais il ne se haste pas encore.
Pour la ville de Munster estant fait une nouvelle petition de 10 à 12 mille ryxdalers, et cela presenté à la Hollande, alle là simplement overgenoomen.
Lundy, 23. dito.
Le sieur ambassadeur de France a notifié, que la paix avec l'Espagne est publiée, quoyque l'on n'en sache pas encore tout le contenu. Puis a parlé de la paix au Nort; en a recommendé l'avancement; et qu'icelle faite, celle d'avec Boloigne suivroit bien; et que pour cela on veuille venir en conference avec le sieur Downing, et luy pour achever la paix de Roschild, et sans cela, que la France employeroit les moyens, que Dieu et la nature luy auroit donné, &c. L'on a authorizé les deputés pour examiner cecy, et en faire rapport. Bref, ce que dit l'ambassadeur de France, ne convient pas avec ce que la Maire a escrit, ny avec ce que le sieur Friquet a dit.
La Hollande a avisé touchant Munster, qu'en doive préallablement escrire à l'evesque. La Hollande a recommendé l'equipage de 48 navires, ce que la Zelande a overgenoomen. Des 20,000 ou 29,000 ryxdalers pour la garnison de Copenhagen, n'a pas esté rien dit encore.
Sur un memoire du resident de Groot sera encore escrit aux estat d'Ostsrise de venir icy sur l'affaire de la defension.
Mardy, le 24. dito.
Le sieur Downing a fait sa proposition en Anglois, toutefois l'a donné en Francois un peu plus au gré de l'auditoire, comme insistant encore sur les concerts (h. e.) conventions de l'année passée. Toutefois on auroit bien aussi desiré, qu'il auroit fait mention de la paix en Prussie; cependant aura esté dit, que pas un membre de Hollande ne voudra escouter ou prester l'oreille à traiter icy, ains qu'il faille achever en Dennemarc; à quoy aussi les deputés de cest estat en Dennemarc par l'ordinaire d'aujourd'huy ont donnée asses bonne esperance.
L'on a fait dispute, et debatté l'affaire de l'equipage des 48 navires; ceux de Hollande le veulent faire sur le last et reilgelt. Ceux de Zelande veulent introduire les præmia et les cruyssers.
Vers la princesse royale sont deputés les sieurs de Wimmenum et d'Amerongen le cas d'Orange.
L'on aura resolu touchant Portugal de ne traiter, que sur le sondement de l'instruction, que porterent les sieurs ten Hose et de Witt il y a deux ans.
Mecredy, le 25. dito.
Cest après diner s'acheveroit de former et arrester l'instruction pour les sieurs de Wimmenum et d'Amerongen, à trouver la princesse royale. Pour le personnage, qui iroit vers le roy de France, on l'a remis à la disposition de la princesse douariere. Mais à bien considerer la lettre de la princesse royale, c'est celle-cy, qu'il croit affectionner mieux le bien de son fils que celle-là.
La Zelande a faite instance touchant la response, qu'on donnera à l'ambassadeur de France.
L'on se tient piqué de passage dans la proposition du sieur Downing, ou il parle de tel roy des roys du Nort, qui a adheré à cest estat en la guerre d'Angleterre, reconnoissant bien, que c'est une retorsion sur ce qui est dit dans la response donnée au sieur Cojet, que la Suede n'a pas adherée à cest estat durant la dite guerre.
Jeudy, le 26. dito.
L'ambassadeur de France a presenté un memoire cy-joynte en faveur du sieur Morus.
Quant au different entre les princesses d'Orange, il se fait ouverture d'accorde, la royale offrant de ne vouloir pas avoir le lord Jermyn; et la douariere offre de rapeller le comte de Dona; si que le sieur Gent, Swaneborg, et Stavenisse iront voir la princesse douariere, pour favoir, si encore elle desire le voyage de sieur de Wimmenum et d'Amerongen.
Touchant Munster, sont arrestées des lettres à l'evesque; mais il sera encore parlé aux deputés du conseil d'estat.
La dispute d'entre la Hollande et Zelande n'est pas encore finie touchant le last et veylgelt, et les premies des cruyssers.
Des affaires du Nort, ny des propositions de François et Anglois, ne se parle pas encore.
Vendredy, 27. dito.
L'on a encore eu beaucoup de debat touchant l'equipage de 48 navires; mais encore sans conclusion. Ceux de Zelande l'attachent tousjours à leurs cruyssers; qu'ils veulent avoir mis en mer. L'on ecrivra aux admirautés pour venir icy là-dessus.
Il y a eu un memoire du sieur ministre d'Espagne, pour et sur l'interim d'Outre-Meuse.
Quant au sieur Cojet, l'on a mis son memoire entre les mains des deputés pour ces affaires, sans aucune apparence de venir avec luy en conference.
A paper of the Swedish commissioners to the most illustrious council of state of England. Most humbly.
Vol. lxiii. p. 27.
Most Illustrious and most Excellent Lords,
It cannot seem improper for us to recall into the memories of this honourable council, with how great care and circumspection from the very beginning of the friendship happily closing between the two kingdoms, it was provided, that no remora or scruple at all might remain hereafter in minds so well reconciled. For whereas our subjects complained, that they were not equally dealt with, and rewarded for the good offices done to this most most glorious commonwealth in the late war betwixt England and the Netherlands by the command of our crown, which even then did exceedingly favour the advantages of England, whilst that very many of their ships of most huge value, some bound directly hither, others following, as their business and convenience led them, according to the law of nations, the harmless freedom of commerce through those seas, were by the men of war of this state in hostile manner taken, ransacked, most notoriously misused, and to the irreparable damage of their affairs detained half a year for the most part, nay some, one, two, or three years longer, insomuch as neither yet are they all restored, although long since absolved by the sentences of the judges after an hearing on both sides, the rest being in the mean time after the aforesaid vexations set free slowly, upon the continual supplications of our ministers both ordinary and extraordinary sent hither ever and anon to that purpose: For this cause, I say, and presently in the first consederacy made betwixt these kingdoms four years since at Upsall, after it was abundantly provided against all injuries hereafter to be feared from the subjects of each state, to wit, that the authors of such injuries, unless upon admonition they amended their fault, should be accounted as public enemies, and being delivered up into the power of the commonwealth, beside a just and plenary satisfaction to be made, should be most deservedly punished immediately after, and even in the same paragraph the restitution of ships comes next to that former caution; and satisfaction as soon as possible, and without delay, to be made to the party aggrieved for loss and damages lost and received in the said war; which satisfaction is tied into the restitution by the copula tive particle, as not to be divided from it, and necessary following. And afterward in the second confederacy renewed with our embassador a year and a half ago at Westminster, whereas for the most part satisfaction was given as to the first part of the former agreement concerning the restitution of the ships, that which remained behind, to wit, the making good of damages sustained upon that occasion, was more articulately concluded and determined. That three commissioners constituted on both sides, consulting together thereupon, should make an estimate and indifferent judgment of those things, that (which only was intended, and which both parts most desired; they are the very words of the confederacy) satisfaction might be given to the party injured according to what is good and right, 2. Summarily; 3. Without any appeal; 4. Without forms of law; 5. Without delay; 6. Fully and really. Excellent words indeed, and conditions most proper for increasing of mutual good will betwixt friends and confederate states. Hither therefore, most illustrious lords, (which hath been the cause of so large a repetition) we have desired, that your commissioners deputed according to the confederacy for this purpose might be called as to the very aim of their commission, from which, as we have by ours understood, when whether by mistake, or on set purpose, they swerved something far indeed, modestly had their recourse to your most illustrious judgment, though to the very great detriment of our affairs, as who do reckon not only days, but even hours, and daily buy that hope at a very high rate. And whereas the streightness of our term can scarce suffer the loss of one day, they indulge to themselves some weeks, that because this commission is now protracted unto a second year, they may seem to put years instead of months, or to be willing to do so; which they neither ought nor had need to do, if they had stuck to the forementioned conditions with that sincerity, which is fitting, and had sufficiently put off those personages, which heretofore they acted, while they pleaded privately those causes in private judicature, whereas now they bear the public character of performers of covenants solemnly agreed upon betwixt two most friendly kingdoms. Which nature verily those causes have so far taken upon them for the reasons before alleged, that they neither can nor ought any longer to be accounted as private business; whence they might easily have gathered, that no other answer would be given them by this most illustrious council, as neither indeed could there be given any other, than that which is conformable to the most express words of the confederacies, and unto their own decree. But they, (as we have heard) though much against the will of law and right, have a mind, that the sentences heretofore given in the causes of those ships should be placed as the rule of their commission; and because that were tolerable, they desire so far to extend them beyond their nature, that because those sentences pronounce the ships to have been detained upon just cause, that therefore they neither think, that those, which are to be restored ought to be restored, although already freed by those same instances, and are so far from allowing any thing to our men by the way of interest for the ships already restored, that they pretend that even the lucrum cessans, or gain, which might have been made by detaining them wholly there, may with justice be exacted from us; unto which end it is said, that a paper is offered already of contrary damages by an unheard of example, pretended upon our very own ships, which are already freed, which in earnest it is wonderful how it could ever enter into the minds of men endowed with so much prudence and experience (as their other actions witness). For although the authority of things once judged be very great, yet were they never of so great moment, that they could prejudice any after-covenant or transaction whatsoever, although made amongst the most private persons; but rather they receive their limitation from that which follows according to the very order of nature, which requires, as it is in a most known canon, that the latter law should derogate or take off from the former. Much less therefore can any former private sentences detract from a law so public, and so solemnly conceived; for whereas this doth bind the kingdoms themselves, it ought deservedly to be more valued than all the laws in the code of Justinian, especially seeing it doth explain our business more particularly, and expresly injoins satisfaction of charges and of damages received. Concerning which again is that frequent maxim of law, that special laws do derogate or take off the authority of laws general. What need we therefore conjectures in a thing so evident ? For whereas they say, that if our people had desired any thing further than the restoring of their ships, they should have put in their appeal, seeing in those sentences no mention is made of satisfaction of charges, by their leave, it is sufficient, that such satisfaction is not there denied, seeing by equal reason even thereupon it seems included. For that argument is very strong in law, which is called and taken from the contrary sense. And besides, that indeed was a very good and sufficient appeal, which both our ministers then here made unto your most illustrious council. As to which the examining of these things properly belonged, and that which our subjects worn out with charges and vexatious suits made to our king himself upon that occasion, who also most deservedly took into our consideration those their just complaints in the making up of the confederacy with his most serene highness, so that they both did therein give an ultimate and most definitive sentence in this affair, concerning which so much as to dispute, is in the law called sacrilege. But besides, we shall prove, that the very sentences themselves do not very much favour this their opinion. For let us grant, that they all lean upon this clause, that they were detained upon just cause: We do not dispute that justice, what or how great soever it was; but cannot two just things concur and oppose one another? and hath not that, which is just, the appearance of unjust in respect of that, which is more just ? In which almost the whole practice of lawyers consists. For seldom do men come to decide betwixt what is just and unjust, which even the unlearned can do; but of two just things, which is the most just; of two unjust things, which is the most unjust. Therefore, if they were detained upon a just cause, whether shall they not seem released upon a cause more just ? for otherwise they would not have been restored. For, if they say, that they were unjustly restored, and that they would have the sentences so far repealed, they are not to be heard, because beside an unworthy counting of what they did themselves, they desire to have those things recalled, which long since have past over into the nature of a thing judged and decided; which in a law is accounted impossible: so that it cannot be believed, that these things are said in earnest, unless it be done for protraction of time, and wearying out the patience of our men. They do better, who say, that the restitution of ships was not made according to the highest rigour of the law, which is often called the highest injustice, but according to what is good and equitable. For they indeed express the very nature of the business. For the emperors do admonish, that in all things more consideration is to be had of equity and justice than of strict law, 1. 8. c. de judiciis; where (which deserves much notice) justice is diametrically opposed to strict law. And this, if at any time, is certainly most true in those judgments and contracts bonæ fidei, as they call them, that is, upon confidence of the honesty of each party; wherein, as the lawyer saith, it is unfitting to dispute concerning the titles of law; and among such kind of contracts society hath even the highest place, which, as Ulpian saith, hath a certain resemblance of brotherhood. But what are public confederacies, but the ties and societies of kingdoms, what but a most brotherly brotherhood? Wherefore, seeing in all things it is first inquired what is done before what is law, because the consent of the contractors gives law to the contracts, and their meaning is preferred before all subtilty of words, nay before the writings themselves; seeing, as it is usually said, laws are written, not in words, but in things; that form most prudently by you prescribed for the handling of those causes, that they should be finished according to that, which is good and equitable without the fashions of law, because you say, that both parties do chiefly desire it, is by us respected and venerated as the public law of the nations, and in it we all of us do with very much reason rest satisfied. For, that we may add this one thing, if equity persuaded the restoring of the ships, shall not the same persuade to repay the charges, when those two points are inseparably conjoined, that he who denies the one, seemeth to deny both of them? But what private person shall dare to divide and separate those things, which the kingdoms themselves have solemnly joined together, when neither is it lawful for either of the kingdoms so to do it against the consent of the other? Insomuch that absolutely either this must be stood to, or else the intention of our princes must be made elusory or deceitful, the very thought of any such thing being, as we believe, punishable, and coming within the reach of treason. Therefore we do again and again desire, that those very honest men may be admonished of that public office, which they bear herein, that they may not confound it with private brabbles, or cast in such anxious scruples of law into a most clear cause abounding with good belief, and so weary themselves and us with fruitless labour; but that they would only intend this, which the confederacy saith, that both parts do intend. And we do so much more earnestly now request it, by how much the loss of most precious time is more expensive to us, who in the multiplied charges of so many years have almost spent more upon this business, than can be hoped from it. And it had been much better for very many of our men, reduced to extreme poverty in this time, if they had known this from the beginning, which is now spoken. Although we for all that do never more despair of the high equity of our causes, that notwithstanding does with reason afflict us; that whereas now the time of the second agreement is almost slipt away, we are yet sticking in the very beginnings of the business; so that if we be obliged to agree the third time upon a new term, verily we are afraid, left the world should think we do but jest in a thing so earnest, and that we had a mind with such laborious machinations to effect nothing. The most perfect judgment of this most illustrious council, and their zeal so often shewn for the conservation and increasing of the Swedish amity, do in no case suffer us to doubt, but that you will praise us this piety with which we do prosecute the common business of both kingdoms, and especially this affair of so great moment. And though otherwise we are even confident, that your illustriousnesses would do all these things upon your own accord, notwithstanding the matter seemed to us of such moment, that we also thought it necessary to satisfy ourselves thus far in disburdening our own consciences. We consecrate our senses to you most devoutly. From our lodgings, 7th January, 1659/60.
Your most illustrious Lordships
Most humble servants,