Venice: January 1642

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 25, 1640-1642. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1924.

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'Venice: January 1642', Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 25, 1640-1642, (London, 1924), pp. 267-286. British History Online [accessed 21 June 2024].

. "Venice: January 1642", in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 25, 1640-1642, (London, 1924) 267-286. British History Online, accessed June 21, 2024,

. "Venice: January 1642", Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 25, 1640-1642, (London, 1924). 267-286. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2024,

January 1642

1642. Jan. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
311. To the Ambassador in London.
Letters from his Majesty about the violence done to the despatch have not yet arrived and we must wait, in order that we may see what is to be done. In the mean time you must await further orders. We enclose sheet of advices.
Ayes, 109. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
Jan. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
312. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Scottish Commissioners here have demanded many noteworthy conditions before permitting the 10,000 men promised for the defence of Ireland to cross. These were all promptly granted by the Lower House. First, the leaders and officers are not to be under the English general who takes part with the force ; the troops are not to be scattered but kept in one body ; 30,000l. sterling to be paid to the commissioners for the first pay ; a portion of the goods of the rebels to be assigned to Scotland for their services.
The majority of the Upper House, suspecting the Scots of cherishing ambitious designs to take advantage of this emergency to become masters of that island, have not as yet agreed to all these requests. They stand fast to the opinion that the Scottish troops must take orders from the English general like the rest, and that to rid themselves entirely of all misgivings, the Scots ought to be supported by an equal number of English troops.
They have held lengthy debates in parliament on these questions and the despatch of the Scots is suspended until these differences can be adjusted by mutual consent. Two days ago they ordered a universal fast and prayers to implore Divine guidance in this matter, which is considered of consequence.
Meanwhile the rebels have profited by being let alone to achieve considerable successes. They have attacked and taken the town of Tridat, (fn. 1) an important position which will also facilitate the capture of Dublin. On this occasion they slaughtered 600 of the soldiers with barbarous cruelty, took many prisoners and put the rest of the enemy's force to flight, subsequently capturing their baggage and munitions, including a large quantity of arms and money. They are now diligently prosecuting the siege of Dublin.
The parliament of Ireland, which has been assembled because of these disturbances, has sent six commissioners to the rebels with orders to find out what the leaders want and to make proposals for an accommodation. These envoys were received with every sign of respect. The commissioners expressed their willingness to come to terms on condition that the public exercise of the Catholic faith should be restored in Ireland, as it is practised in the dominions of other Catholic princes. That is, the religious wear their habit ; the churches officiate freely ; the bishops and all other ecclesiastics are restored to their ancient dignities and property ; that the Calvinists are absolutely banished from Ireland and only Protestants allowed, with the express obligation to support at their own cost the ministers whom they consider necessary for the exercise of their sect. That only Catholic lords be admitted to the Council in that kingdom, the Protestants being totally excluded ; that their parliament shall not be dependent on that of England or the Irish called upon to obey anyone but the king, their lawful master ; finally that it be declared that the parliament of England is as much subordinate to his Majesty as the Irish parliament professes to be.
With this reply the rebels dismissed the commissioners, declaring that unless all their demands were granted in full they would not lay down their arms, but will continue boldly in their course until they have conquered by their invincible sword those rights which they have not been able to obtain by negotiation. They handed to the commissioners a scurrilous paper containing all this, and the commissioners handed it to parliament, which sent it to the king by a deputy who reached the Court on Monday. We are waiting to see what effect proposals so free and of such importance will have on his Majesty and on the parliamentarians. But everyone agrees that the Lower House will not accept them because they are aimed at the religion and authority of the parliament itself in its most essential parts.
Although the Upper House and many of the Lower did not approve of the remonstrance about the past disorders in the government, and it was decided not to print it, yet the authors of this invention have at length succeeded in having this done, in their anxiety to make it known to the people and the hope of advantage. The king, on his side, has taken the step of issuing his reply, vindicating the prudence which guided his past actions.
In order to hasten the succour for Ireland his Majesty went to parliament last week. (fn. 2) He laid stress on the unhappy condition of the present times. He said he heard the Lower House was discussing the question of taking from him the ancient prerogative of compelling all subjects to serve him in the event of war. He expressed his indignation at this and that it was unlikely in any case that he would consent to it, with the intention perhaps of inducing the members to drop the idea.
Struck by this and full of envy, the Lower House represented to the Upper that for his Majesty to take note of what is proposed in parliament before it is fully established, is an attack on their liberty, asking that House to join with it in pointing out this indiscretion to the king and asking him to avoid such things in the future. The king seems now to show more determination than in the past, and he sent a severe and unpleasing answer, indicating that he would not tolerate any longer the licence of their behaviour.
Rumours are still about that many ministers ill affected to his Majesty will be changed. Yesterday was the turn of the Lieutenant of the Tower, who gave his Majesty serious offence in the matter of the imprisonment of the Lieutenant of Ireland. (fn. 3) In fear of losing their offices and other misgivings the parties concerned are seriously perturbed and protest roundly that they are ready to take the most extreme measures to avoid the danger with which the king's anger threatens them. Thus the turn of affairs here remains more doubtful than ever, and it seems unlikely that a way out will be found without bloodshed.
Lord Fildinch recently presented a memorial to the king asking for the money he needs to set out for his embassy to Venice. The amount comes to 20,000 crowns. But his Majesty is in no position just now to show such liberality, while at the same time he is not pleased with Fildinch's conduct, as he has not supported the king's interests in parliament. I learn on good authority that he has decided to send in his stead Baron Dandovert, (fn. 4) who will start, I am assured, as soon as the severe weather is over. He is a man of most noble birth and character, has great influence in parliament and is son of the Earl of Baxsier, a great lord and a councillor of state. The king has not yet informed me of this decision, although the baron himself has been to see me ostensibly on a private visit, though he did not say that he was selected to go to Venice.
Captain John Furd, an Englishman, has been here about an invention for managing galleys with only half the usual number of rowers, yet with the same speed and safety. He is willing to impart the secret to your Excellencies on condition that he receives the reward he asks, and that the Senate is satisfied. I enclose a copy of his paper. He offers to send someone to Venice without cost to the state to demonstrate his invention.
No letters from Italy have reached this Court for two weeks. The constant bad weather, which has wrecked a great number of ships, has prevented the couriers from crossing the sea. It is feared that the barques taking the letters to Antwerp for Venice have been wrecked.
London, the 3rd January, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 313. 1641, the 31st Dec., in London.
Captain John Ford, an English gentleman has an easy and inexpensive devise for making galleys of all kinds go as quickly and as well with half the rowers usual, without hurt to the galleys. He begs your Excellency to offer this for him to the republic. He undertakes to make a demonstration at his own cost. If he is successful and the devise is adopted he is to receive 10,000l. sterling. He hopes that if he secures the same result with a quarter of the rowers his reward will be greater.
Jan. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
314. Thadio Vico, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador is losing patience and declares, as usual, that he will leave soon. He says he perceives that their intention is to deal with this question apart. The Palatine will not be able in this way to obtain what is justly his due. Their object is to drag things out so that in the end the treaty will be detached from the general conference and abandoned by everybody. Nevertheless proper measures will be taken to secure that this cause shall be decided either by a universal congress or by arms. He lets it be freely understood that as regards the Spaniards, England will not yield an inch of territory, and as regards Bavaria, if they hearken to proposals for some suitable arrangement, by reason of the Lower Palatinate, yet they will not, on that account, allow the electoral dignity to go after his death.
Vienna, the 4th January, 1642. [M.V.]
Jan. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Haya. Venetian Archives.
315. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Cogneus is here on behalf of the Queen Mother. He has some secret matter in hand, of more importance than appears on the surface. The idea gains ground that under the pretence of negotiating with the House of Orange the establishment of the marriage with England, he is engaged in instituting himself into the confidence of the Princes here in order to discover what are their real feelings with regard to the Cardinal de Richelieu personally.
The ordinary ambassador has left for England furnished with good instructions to answer any proposals for an alliance between England and these States.
The Hague, the 6th January, 1642.
Jan. 9.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
316. To the Proveditore of Cephalonia.
Order to exact the fines decreed by the laws for excessive plantations of currants. If the fines are not paid he is to have the currants uprooted.
Ayes, 139. Noes, 0. Neutral, 13.
Jan. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
317. To the Ambassador in London.
We appreciate highly the king's action in the matter of the intercepted letters. You will express this to him in a suitable office. With regard to the despatch of the Sieur de Visden to our republic, we suppose that the decree is issued for its opportune execution, since you do not write to us to the contrary, and the letters sent by express by his Majesty have not reached us yet.
We wish to have information about the condition of Henry Hider and what consideration he enjoys, if he has any partisans and favours in England, if he is the chief or agent of the Company of merchants or has any other charge, with such other particulars of note as may serve to enlighten us about him personally.
Ayes, 109. Noes, 0. Neutral, 5.
Jan. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
318. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The removal of the Lieutenant of the Tower has increased the misgivings about his Majesty's intentions in the minds of those who have hitherto conspired against his authority and have given rise to fresh warnings to the people ivhose licentiousness unsettles the public and private quiet.
The very day that the new officer was introduced to the Tower, the Lower House, moved by interested parties, represented the person appointed to the Upper as an unquiet ambitious man, condemned aforetime to the extreme penalty for his misdeeds, (fn. 5) and in the interests of safety and for the general satisfaction everyone should stir himself to prevent the charge of this great city being left at the mercy of one not to be trusted. They asked the peers to unite with them in making these representations to the king and beseeching him to select someone else agreeable to the people.
The Lords replied that as the disposal of offices was solely a royal prerogative they could not interfere with his appointments. Deprived of their hope of conspiring together for the same objects, at which they were exceedingly incensed, the most fanatical threw off all bounds and burst forth into a strong invective not only against this choice, but against the Upper House as well, declaring roundly that they would tell the people that the Lords were plotting against their liberty and persuading them to take arms to defend it. With this the conference was broken off. The report of this dispute spread immediately to the city and the suspicions that the appointment of the lieutenant covered sinister designs was also circulated, and the apprentices or shop boys of London, were deliberately stirred up by such reports. These with the connivance of their masters, Puritans for the most part, provided themselves with arms and proceeded on Monday in great numbers to the Houses of parliament, where, in any case, they show themselves every day. There with loud cries, they demanded the removal of the new lieutenant, whom they described as a Papist, threatening the most extreme measures if this was not granted. His Majesty, being informed of this, decided to change the lieutenant, in the hope of appeasing the riot. But the apprentices having achieved their first intent so easily and persuaded that a like success would attend the rest of their incautious desires, instead of returning home, increased in numbers more and more, and made fresh and more important demands. These were : the removal of the bishops and the exclusion from parliament of the Catholic lords, and they threatened not to cease their tumult until these demands were fulfilled. Later they forced their way into Westminster Church and tried to demolish the altar, the organs and the royal tombs as well, and not satisfied with this some even proceeded to the royal palace, where with fresh shouts they made the same demands and committed other insolences elsewhere.
The king, on his part, ordered them by proclamation, to go home, under most severe penalties. Later on he summoned to the palace and to parliament the soldiers of the trained bands to prevent worse disorders, but as these troops are for the most part the masters of these very apprentices, the latter do not fear punishment from them and constantly devise further mischief. Many colonels and officers who served recently at York offered their services to his Majesty, who accepted and thanked them warmly. They are present at the palace, and two days ago a slight encounter took place between them and the apprentices. But they are dealing cautiously with these last to avoid provoking more dangerous disturbances. The most prudent members of parliament regret these riots deeply fearing that the disorder may produce considerable derangement, but those who place their hopes of self preservation in trouble approve and secretly foment the movement to keep it alive. Thus amid these different passions no one would venture to foretell the outcome.
Meanwhile in the Lower House they are diligently seeking how they may best lead into the utmost danger those ministers who are most in his Majesty's confidence and suspected of opposing the other party. Of these the Earl of Bristol and his son are the most threatened, and we expect to hear of some severe measures very soon.
The king's reply to the remonstrance of the Lower House has been printed, but does not find that credit among the people that the justice of his cause and the need demand. I am preparing a translation of both these papers to send to your Excellencies.
The king has shown some resentment recently against the Earl of Newport because he heard that at a banquet, while his Majesty was in Scotland, and the conversation turning upon secret orders of parliament that he should be carefully guarded, the earl intimated that this was of no consequence, but it was necessary to secure the persons of the prince and the queen. Newport has tried to put himself right with his Majesty by protesting volubly that he never made use of so hardy an expression, but as the king would not accept his excuses, the earl had recourse to parliament. That body, by means of commissioners, has requested his Majesty to make known the individual who accused Newport. The king replied that he would make known in writing what he considered proper, and it is believed that as many of those who support the party opposed to the king are interested in this affair, the incident may have unfortunate consequences.
Twelve bishops were sent to prison yesterday by parliament to the Tower for having with much freedom protested in writing the nullity of the acts touching their ancient rights, concerning their presence and vote in parliament. (fn. 6) This event has greatly perturbed his Majesty because of the loss of these votes which were always favourable to his interests, and also because the incautious way in which these prelates have spoken increases the general hatred against them, with danger of more pernicious consequences to the whole hierarchy.
The despatch of the 10,000 Scots to Ireland is still held up by disagreements, the Scots demanding in addition to the conditions reported that two fortresses be assigned to them in the country for a retreat and security. This only serves to increase the suspicion of ambitious designs on the part of that nation and obliges them to proceed with caution.
Meanwhile they spare no efforts in this city to forward the levy of 10,000 English for that defence ; but the aversion of the people to go there makes progress slow and affords further opportunity to the Irish to push on with their successes and establish their party. No decision has been taken yet upon the proposals reported, as the new crises here have left no room for attention to other matters.
His Majesty has made strong representations to the Imperial Resident here for the satisfactory termination of the affair of the Palatine, cutting short all further delays. He protested that if they put off a final decision he will recall the Ambassador Ro and cut short the negotiations altogether. He obliged the minister to send a courier to his master with this declaration.
The bad weather having ceased the courier of Antwerp has arrived, and I have received your Excellencies' letters of the 30th November with your instructions about the currant trade. My representations have stayed the haste of those who were interested in prohibition, and they now say nothing about it, so I hope the matter will entirely fall through. They only considered their own interests without caring about harm done to the interests of princes or to the comfort of the subjects of both parties. In any case if a fresh move is made I shall not fail to do my duty ; and I know that the customs officials here are ready to do their share, which is important.
London, the 10th January, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
319. Thadio Vico, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador met all the electoral deputies this week. I understand that he spoke very strongly, so much so that most of them were in considerable perplexity and particularly on the question of the electoral dignity. He pointed out to the deputy of Bavaria, in the presence of all the others that even if his sovereign embraced some arrangement about the alternative vote, that vote must in any case go to the Palatine after the death of Bavaria, otherwise it would not be an alternative vote but a continuation of possession. To this the Bavarian ambassador made no reply.
Vienna, the 11th January, 1642. [M.V.]
Jan. 15.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
320. The Secretary of the King of Great Britain came into the Collegio and said :
My king has heard with deep regret the incident of the intercepted letters and naturally wishes to show his feelings, express his regard for the republic and give satisfaction immediately he arrived in London. Owing to the fault of the couriers and the difficulties of the road the letters have only just reached me, and I have had to defer this office until their arrival. He then presented the letters which were read.
The doge replied, His Majesty's prudence and regard have atoned for the outrage to the despatches of our ambassador, which was to be condemned on every account and was worthy of correction and punishment. A reply will be sent to his Majesty's letters, and we always rejoice in his most upright intentions, to which we sincerely respond.
The Resident then said : An action of great indignity has occured at my house. A door was broken open by the sbirri and their captain and one of my servants roughly used. This is contrary to the intention of the republic for the treatment of foreign ministers. I therefore ask that those guilty of such audacity may be punished.
The doge replied : We have no definite information ; this is the first we have heard. It is quite likely that it was necessary for the law to take the necessary steps ; however, we will make enquiry, always with the desire to gratify and honour those who serve his Majesty.
Jan. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
321. To the Ambassador in England.
His Majesty's letters about the despatches were handed in at the Collegio by the secretary with the office, of which a copy is enclosed. We forward our reply which you will present to his Majesty at a special audience, assuring him of the republic's appreciation and esteem for his prudence.
The secretary has complained of the ill treatment of an alleged servant of his by an officer of the law. This is not in accordance with the facts and if he takes any steps in the matter by writing you will be able to bear witness to the respect which is always shown to the houses and persons of ambassadors and ministers of princes. If, however, away from their houses, contrary to the decrees of the Council of Ten to the grave prejudice of the peace of the city any one should be allowed, under the cloak of the authority of others, to introduce festivities and through them provide many occasions for improprieties, it is equally necessary to repress the temerity of our subjects and restrain them within the bounds of moderation and obedience. You will speak precisely to this effect and not otherwise.
Advices of the Palatine's affairs in Germany.
Ayes, 129. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
322. To the King of Great Britain.
Our republic has always held a high opinion of the prudence and virtue of your Majesty, whose singular merits rightly call for the utmost esteem and regard, which are consolidated in our hearts upon the most stable foundations. From past letters of our ambassador and from recent ones of your Majesty, presented by your Secretary, we observe the most just concern and indignation you feel with regard to the excess committed in the matter of the despatches, a thing abhorrent on every ground, which wounds the rights of princes in their most sensitive parts, when they were intercepted and violated. There is no doubt that the vigour of your Majesty's declaration will act as a set off to the enormity of the offence, while the promptitude with which you have afforded satisfaction diminishes in us the great resentment which we felt, but serves to increase even more our appreciation of your remonstrances, in the assurance that we shall see results to correspond. We shall readily listen to Lord Fildin, and your Majesty may be certain of the desire of the republic to see increasing glories realised by your person for a long while, and this we heartily wish you with God's blessing.
Ayes. 129. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
Jan. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
323. Gio. Giustinian Venetain Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Changes continue to take place at this Court and fresh incidents are constantly occuring, more and more important, with increasing danger to the royal house. After the riot of the apprentices his Majesty decided to form a corps de garde at the palace composed of the trained bands here and also to keep near him those officers who volunteered their services. The Lower House observing this new step with renewed misgivings, sent fifty commissioners to the king to represent to him that owing to the most serious dangers which menaced the members they besought him to grant them a guard of citizens commanded by the Earl of Essex. The king replied in general and complimentary terms, which did not, however, satisfy the parliamentarians. These, anxious to make known to the people their misgivings about the perils they imagined, made a fresh move, ostensibly for their security, and assembled a body of their members in the Guildhall here who are charged to make enquiry into the most important matters and then propose them to parliament. These persons, supplied with arms, proceeded publicly to the destined place giving everyone the impression that there was a plot against the liberty of parliament. By this device they redeemed their credit generally and won back the affection of the ignorant people. Shut up there in long secret discussions cussions they persuaded themselves that the king's action and his resentment were due to the advice of the queen. Accordingly they decided to accuse her in parliament of conspiring against the public liberty and of secret intelligence in the rebellion in Ireland. When their Majesties learned this the king decided to put aside all dissimulation and to denounce to the Upper House as guilty of high treason five members of the Lower Chamber and one of the Upper, of the most powerful and most factious individuals. He did this through the Attorney General, who produced the article of accusation, a copy of which I enclose. The king afterwards sent a herald to the Lower House with the same declaration, and with the demand that the alleged traitors should be handed over to him at once as prisoners. At the same time he sent other persons to their residences with orders to seal their papers, as they did.
Stirred to an extraordinary degree by this unexpected step of his Majesty parliament sent commissioners to him with orders to inform him that the accused were safe and that parliament constituted itself a surety for their persons. The king did not accept the offer and issued fresh orders to the deputies to obey his commands. They took time until the next day for their reply.
Meanwhile both Chambers met together. The Lower complained sharply that his Majesty by sealing up papers of its members had interfered with the privileges of parliament. It pointed out the need for resisting this attempt, which it characterised as violent and unprecedented. They ordered the seals to be broken and those who had carried out his Majesty's orders to be taken into custody. Not satisfied with this the Lower House denounced the accusation against these members as an infamous libel and an unlawful blow designed to put upon the Upper House the burden of approving it all, thus casting shame on his Majesty's commands (et non giuste colpe a dissegno di portare all 'Allta il decreto per l' approvatione tutto in onta dei commandamenti della Maesta Sua).
When the king was informed of these insubordinate and disrespectful actions, he came out of his chamber immediately and proceeding to the guard room said in a loud voice, My most loyal subjects and soldiers, follow me (vassali e soldati miei piu fedeli seguitatemi). Thus, accompanied by 500 men he descended the stairs of the palace. Finding the coach of a private individual at the gates he entered it and had himself driven to Westminster followed on foot by the persons described. He proceeded to the Lower Chamber and there forbidding any to enter at peril of their lives, he went in alone, and looking keenly round he noticed that the accused were not there according to his expectation. He then said that a very serious incident had forced him to betaken himself to that place, and this was that having accused five of their members of high treason he desired them to be handed over to him at once, and he looked for obedience in this. But no answer was given and he went out with the same following, leaving parliament greatly inflamed.
Arrived back at the palace again the king commanded the heralds to try every means to take these men, but without result. On the following day he went to the Guildhall, where he was received in state by the magistrates in the presence of a great crowd of people. He said he had gone there to put an end to a false report, maliciously spread abroad, that he thought of changing the religion. He asserted his determination to maintain the one professed by Queen Elizabeth, established by decree of parliament and strictly observed by the late King James, his father. He declared that he would steadily maintain the privileges of the people and of parliament. He afterwards proceeded to dine at the house of one of the sheriffs. (fn. 7) On the way many cries were heard loudly demanding liberty of parliament. This made an impression on his Majesty and it affords just grounds for apprehension to those who sincerely desire the good of the royal house and the quiet of this kingdom.
Meanwhile parliament assembled, and the Lower House informed the Upper of the attempt made by the king on the preceding day, asking it to unite in order to obtain reparation for the alleged violence. With the assent of both Houses the session of parliament was suspended for five days, and they decided that in the interval the conferences begun by the commissioners should be held in the Guildhall. These commissioners threaten to proceed to strong measures detrimental to his Majesty's interests and wise men are apprehensive that we shall soon see here unheard of happenings, as the parliamentarians as well as the bulk of the people are working themselves up to defend the liberty and prerogatives of parliament which they pronounce to be assailed by the attempts reported (li quali protestano di passare a vigorose risolutioni contro il servitio di Sua Maesta e restano giustamente adombrati li piu prudenti che habbian ben tosto a qui vedersi mustruosi successi grandemente caldi facendosi conoscere li parlamentarii non meno che la maggior parte del popolo al sostenimento della liberta e prerogative del Parlamento i quali pubblicano violentati da' scritli tentativi).
The king, on the other hand, shows great spirit. He has strengthened the garrison in the Tower and had the guns mounted, but as he is destitute of money, and perhaps of wise and loyal advice, the end of this thorny incident remains doubtful. It may easily make a great breach in the greatness of these princes and in the happiness of the whole kingdom as well.
In this city they are keeping constant guard. The lowest of the people are provided with arms and the London shops have been shut up for the better part of three days. All the trained bands stand to arms. Today the commissioners of the Lower House have issued an order forbidding anyone under severe penalties from attempting the arrest of any member of parliament soever, which means protecting those accused by his Majesty. Thus disobedience and disrespect become ever more and more manifest as a consequence of more audacious decisions.
The French ambassador has renewed his efforts for an accommodation. The queen in particular has refused, as she does not consider his offices sincere. A person at Court, moved by his zeal, has urged me to intervene, but while expressing the sincere desire of your Excellencies and my own for the highest good of their Majesties and their people I let the matter drop, as I did not think it proper to meddle in a difficult affair where success was unlikely.
London, the 17th January, 1641.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 324. Articles of High Treason and other disorders against Baron Kimbolton, Mr. Benzil Holis, Sir Arthur Aslerig, Mr. John Pim, Mr. John Ambdem, Mr. William Strode.
Seven Articles. (fn. 8)
[Italian, from the English.]
Jan. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
325. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have your Excellencies' letters of the 12th, 20th and 27th ult. this week. I have reported the king's feeling about the opened packets and his desire to give redress. He expressed his sentiments spontaneously last week, when I paid my respects for the new year. He assured me he would soon be sending his ambassador to Venice with special letters and instructions apologising for the incident, and he hoped this would suffice to satisfy your Excellencies. I learn, however, that the ambassador will not leave before they see the turn of present events. It should be possible to form a judgment about this inside a month. God grant that it be in favour of these princes and of Christianity as well. Among those accused of treason by his Majesty are the two who opened my letters. (fn. 9) If his Majesty cannot bring them to justice still less will he be able to punish them for the outrage done to me.
The information sent about Obson's affair will serve to guide my action. Two days ago I had here the two members of parliament interested hi the 3300 ducats sequestrated by Benicelli, and who demanded letters of marque against Venetian subjects. (fn. 10) They asked me to have their case delegated to a special corps of judges. I told them that as the justice of all the republic's courts was unimpeachable, they might rest assured that if right was on their side judgment would be in their favour. I said that Obson's account was biassed, possibly in order to delay payment of his debts. I advised them to direct their energies against him and to give up trying for things that are never done. They seemed convinced, and assured me they had letters from the king to your Serenity about this affair, in which his Majesty certainly takes some interest.
As regards the Palatinate all efforts are now directed to obtain from the Austrians by negotiation all that is possible for the benefit of the Palatine family. But since little or nothing is to be expected of Bavaria or of the Spaniards, so there is no indication that if the negotiations of the Ambassador Rho prove fruitless any vigorous decisions will be taken in this quarter. The confused and changing state of affairs at home and in Ireland, the lack of money and the numerous debts contracted over past events do not allow them to think of sending armies elsewhere, or even to think of making alliances with other princes against one power or another in order to obtain the restitution of the Palatinate. Some of the merchants trading to the Indies have proposed, as I wrote, to arm a squadron of ships at the cost of individual merchants, to make expeditions in those parts against the dominions of the Catholic king. But this idea has encountered serious difficulties and there is not likely to be any decision on the subject soon. This is all I have to report about the intentions and powers of this crown in the present scurvy and rotten state of affairs.
London, the 17th January, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 23.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
326. To the Ambassador in London.
We wrote to you last week about the complaint of the secretary of England at the treatment of an alleged servant of his, when he was amusing himself at a certain mercenary ball which really deserves to be called a vicious resort of scandalous men. We have made a careful enquiry into the matter and find that this is really the case, because the house where these dissolute proceedings went on is a long way from the usual dwelling of the secretary. We have thought fit to add these particulars so that in case of provocation you may be in a position to state the truth, and render everyone certain of the desire of the state to see the ministers resident here content.
We enclose a memorial presented by the secretary for the release of a merchant and the restoration of a bale of silk detained at Curzola. We have ordered an enquiry to be made, and we shall always afford his Majesty's subjects all justice and consideration, as you may testify if the subject is raised by ministers or others.
We hear with satisfaction about the memorandum offering you to send to sea any kind of galley with one half the crew that is at present customary ; but it will be necessary to have a thorough understanding about the price and to adjust the amount, to the public satisfaction, upon suitable terms, when it is made clear that we shall enjoy the benefits which he promises. In the mean time you will assure the one who offers of our gracious approval.
Advices of the progress of the Palatine's cause at Vienna.
Ayes, 127. Noes, 2. Neutral, 5.
Jan. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
327. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty has made the most strenuous efforts to get the members accused of treason into his hands, or to drive them to flight, but without success and with serious prejudice to his own interests. Incensed at the action taken by the commissioners of parliament forbidding any one to touch the persons or goods of members of parliament, his Majesty on Friday caused a herald to proclaim at the gates of the palace and elsewhere that the six members were guilty of high treason, and those who received them into their houses, afforded them assistance or other encouragement were liable to the same penalty, and promising their goods to any who should hand them over to his forces, alive or dead. He afterwards sent orders to the magistrate of London to make the same announcement in the city ; but he excused himself from obeying, declaring it contrary to the laws of the realm as well as to the liberty of the subject. He expressed regret that his Majesty was still pursuing the accused, and with this declaration assured them of the protection of the city. These on the other hand, caring nothing for the thunders of his Majesty's justice, proceeded on the following day publicly to the Guildhall, supported by numerous squadrons of the trained bands and favoured by universal acclamations, to continue the usual conferences with the other commissioners. There they devoted themselves energetically to confirming the favour of the people towards themselves and the parliament. Continuing their intrigues against the king's service they gave currency to numerous false reports, viz. that he proposed to enter the city armed, to sack it ; that a short distance from here armed bands of Catholics, stood ready to contribute to the success of this design. By such fears they have kept the city in great agitation and have rendered the name of their prince hateful to the last degree.
They next urged the magistrate of London to point out boldly to the king the dissatisfaction of his subjects with his present actions, and to beg him to dismiss from his heart his unjustified wrath against the accused, asserting that they are his loyal subjects and greatly beloved by the generality. His Majesty replied in a simple and gracious manner, and later by the enclosed paper, very affectionate towards his people, but not honourable to one so great and a sovereign prince.
Meanwhile in order to render more evident the power of parliament the commissioners are devoting the most skilful efforts so that when the session is reopened on Tuesday there may be a numerous gathering of country people as well as of citizens to assist and acclaim the defence of parliament. To this end they sent letters to the neighbouring counties relating what had happened and asking them to send a certain number of troops on that day. They made known their intentions also to the heads of the guilds and to all others, ostensibly for the sake of upholding the privileges of parliament. Incited by this the simple minded folk vied with one another in offering their services. The commissioners being thus assured of having at their disposal a body of 20,000 persons, comprising countrymen, citizens and sailors, announced that they would proceed with that following to the Houses of Parliament to discuss and decide upon that day the most vigorous measures to frustrate utterly the efforts of his Majesty, which they roundly characterise as unjust and contrary to custom.
The king, hearing of these preparations, and possibly fearing some enormity such as fanatical tongues are discussing freely at the moment, decided to withdraw to Hampton Court, and to take with him the queen, the princes, the princesses and the Palatine also, in order to avoid the perils which the disturbance might bring as well as the shame of being spectators of a licence which strikes to the quick the dignity of his name and the greatness of his royal fortunes.
Before he left he commanded all the councillors to follow him, insisting most strongly upon the presence of the Earls of Holland and Essex, leaders of the Puritan party and reputed the prime authors of these seditious movements. These, after examination of their consciences, told his Majesty that they did not consider his withdrawal either honourable or useful, but rather injurious to his interests, and they could not obey him on this occasion. They urged him strongly to remain in the city and rather devote himself to satisfying his subjects than to take any rash steps. But the king paid no attention to the representations of ministers whom he does not trust and proceeded without delay to carry into effect his original determination. Dismissing the new guards of the trained bands and accompanied by a few of the nobles devoted to him he set out on Monday evening for Hampton Court. He arrived there so unexpectedly that the princes were obliged to the inconvenience of sleeping in the same bed with their Majesties (nel letto stesso appresso le Maesta lore). From there he published the enclosed manifesto in justification of his actions. (fn. 11)
On the following day, in accordance with orders, all the troops in London were under arms and disposed about the city under their officers, while the streets were barred with great chains, and the most dangerous ones with pieces of artillery as well. 4000 horse from the country entered London together. The sailors scattered over the river in a considerable number of barques provided with artillery and other firearms, appeared in obedience to parliament. The apprentices, gathered in great numbers, also satisfied expectations, and all carried upon banners, pikes and sticks a printed paper protesting that at any price they would preserve inviolable the laws of the realm, the liberties of the country and the observance of the Protestant religion. They accompanied the members to the Houses at Westminster, acclaiming their entry by firing guns and muskets and the greatest applause for those of the six accused by the king in particular. These people remained standing there until the sitting dissolved. In it a resolution was passed by both Chambers that parliament should meet in future in the city and not in the usual place, the idea being to please the citizens and to be able to take in safety those decisions which may best secure those ambitious ends which is the object of all these disturbances.
The Earl of Essex was chosen to inform the king of this resolution considered one of great moment, and to persuade him to assent to it, but when he went on Wednesday to Hampton Court he could not obtain his Majesty's consent.
Meanwhile the king being advised of what had happened and perhaps not considering himself sufficiently safe at Hampton Court, which is an open place, proceeded yesterday with all the royal house to Windsor, 30 miles away, leaving some doubt about his intentions and whether he means to take a longer journey.
On the other hand parliament, bitterly incensed at the refusal to agree to their meeting in the city and impelled by other suspicions about his Majesty's intentions, is contriving to take steps utterly subversive of the whole royal house unless the king will agree to accept promptly those laws which they see fit to impose upon him. The members on his side have not the heart to declare themselves owing to the preponderance of the opposite party.
They have sent strict orders to all the governors of the fortresses on the coast not to carry out any commands whatever of his Majesty unless they are countersigned by parliament, so that in addition to the loss of his authority the king is despoiled by such precautions of the most certain means of preparing a strong resistance against the violence which anger and interest suggest.
There has been some talk among men with most experience that by taking arms without his Majesty's permission this city has failed in its obedience and loyalty and consequently has forfeited its ancient privileges. This has caused the citizens great alarm, and to protect themselves against misfortunes which a change of time might produce they have published a justification of their behaviour as being intended solely to prevent disorder which was threatened by the general suspicion about the attitude of the Catholics, and to preserve both the religion and the liberty of the country.
The French ambassador set out for Windsor yesterday with the intention of making a fresh attempt to bring about an agreement between the king and his subjects. But those who know how little credit he enjoys at the palace and the suspicion that these misfortunes are encouraged by France, cannot believe that his interposition can be either useful or sincere.
The Imperial minister here has recently announced to his Majesty the disposition of the Spaniards and Bavaria towards the restitution of the Lower Palatinate, on condition that nothing is said about returning the Upper, and that they shall receive a just satisfaction in exchange. He asked his Majesty to send instructions to the Ambassador Ro to offer the recompense which the good will of those princes to give satisfaction to this crown deserves. The office pleased the king who said he had sent instructions to his ambassador which he hoped would lead to mutual satisfaction and service. But those who observe the state of affairs in this country cannot persuade themselves that it is possible to work anything from this side to the disadvantage of the Austrians, so they hold fast to their first opinion that nothing for the benefit of the Palatine House will be gained by the present negotiations.
London, the 24th January, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 328. Declaration of his Majesty to all his loving subjects, published with the advice of his Privy Council. (fn. 12)
[Italian ; from the English ; 19 pages.]
329. Reply of his Majesty to the Petition of the Mayor and Aldermen of London. (fn. 13)
[Italian, 3 pages.]
Jan. 25.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
330. That the Secretary of England be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
The benignant disposition which our republic preserves unchangingly towards his Majesty's subjects has induced us to direct our representative at Curzola to transmit to the magistracy of the super duties the bale of silk which Triminam, master of the ship "Gatta" asserts has been detained from him. Since the action taken by that Count may have been due to his merely carrying out the laws in the exaction of the usual duties, we shall wait for more certain information about the particulars which will be contained in his letters. We shall then be able to make our decision, moved by our desire to do whatever is possible to gratify the ministers of his Majesty. In the mean time we have wished to give you this information about the orders given.
Ayes, 122. Noes, 1. Neutral, 10.
Jan. 31.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
331. Gio. Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty remains at Windsor and it is as yet uncertain whether he will return to this city or go further off, the differences with parliament being as sharp as ever. Only 200 men comprising officers and others are with him and there is no sign of any favourable inclination in Wales, the county of York or elsewhere to assist in upholding his royal fortunes, as he may have imagined. Accordingly his hopes are dwindling of being able to restrain by force the pride of the most seditious parliamentarians, whilst their courage increases to advance boldly to the accomplishment of their ambitious designs.
The French ambassador has been twice to Court and has freely offered his services to put an end to suspicion and dissatisfaction. But their Majesties believe him in complete sympathy with the opposite party and that France for her own ends wishes to encourage these troubles. Accordingly they limited their reply to generalities and gave the minister no opening to institute negotiations as he would wish.
Joachimi also, the Dutch ambassador, who arrived here last week hastened by those who sincerely desire to see these disputes settled without disturbance, went to Windsor two days ago with the intention of doing all in his power towards this laudable object, but finding the king indisposed to submit his civil interests to arbitrament, Joachimi returned unsuccessful and ill pleased.
The majority of the Upper House and the less prejudiced merchants of the mart sigh earnestly for a mutually satisfactory agreement, as they rightly foresee that if the Lower House succeeds in beating down the royal authority, it will afterwards proceed to reduce the prerogatives of the nobility as well and will take complete command of the government. Those again who in their own losses experience the diminution of trade wish to see quiet restored so that commerce may pick up and that they may enjoy their former profits.
On the other hand the members of the Lower House who are the chief architects of this machine, encourage disturbance with all their might, in the assurance of raising their own estate upon the ruins of the sovereign's authority. Thus they insist upon the punishment of many of the most faithful of their Majesties' servants, on the ground that they have given advice contrary to the public liberty, and that the government of this monarchy should be re-established by new laws.
To this end they have introduced a project in parliament, for the remedy of past disorders and those which may be feared in the future to request the king to grant to England the same advantages which he recently conceded to the Scots viz., changing the councillors, appointing others subject to the approval and selection of parliament and so divest himself of an ancient right enjoyed by all his predecessors of distributing offices, leaving them at the disposal of parliament ; and finally to remove bishops from sitting in parliament, with other important demands. If these are granted his Majesty will have nothing but the title of king left, and will be stripped of credit as well as of authority.
Meanwhile parliament does not relax in the necessary energy to secure for itself the devotion of the fortresses most to be feared (pin gelose). To Ult, a place of consequence, the magazine of a quantity of munitions and arms, they have sent a trustworthy person to take charge. (fn. 14) When the king heard of this he also sent orders and patents to the Earl of Newcastle to throw himself hurriedly into that town to secure its obedience to the king. This nobleman arrived at the same time as the parliament's emissary. When the magistrate of the town noticed such different orders, he would not admit either, but sent an account of everything here asking for more precise instructions. (fn. 15) They sent back an order reiterating the demand to admit the parliament's envoy and directed the Earl of Newcastle to appear here to give information about the incident. It has served to increase the perturbation of the parliamentary hotheads and affords fresh cause for suspecting that his Majesty contemplates further action not calculated for the preservation of the peace. The king also is naturally much perturbed by the incident, which he considers highly prejudicial to his authority, and torn between the circumstances of the time and the most malignant strokes of Fortune, he has written the enclosed letter to parliament, full of friendliness and goodwill but also betraying his own weakness and the fears which compass him about.
By resolution they have declared traitors to parliament Mr. Digby, ambassador designate to France and Colonel Lansfort, accused of having assembled troops and incited the people to serve his Majesty. The latter was arrested by countrymen and is in prison. Against Digby they have issued orders to all the counties for his apprehension. They accuse him in addition of having warned the queen that some of the Lower House intended to take proceedings against her ; that he persuaded his Majesty to accuse the six members of treason and to leave London. They have also sent two members to the queen to ask her to declare who gave her this information that they thought of accusing her of conspiring against the state, so that the authors of such reports may be punished, which they study to represent as false and remote from the intention of parliament. (fn. 16)
More than one courier has arrived this week from Ireland. All confirm that the 1300 English sent recently have arrived safely in that kingdom. They declare that these have entered Dublin, and the rebels having lost hope, through this relief, of taking the place have raised the siege, with some loss. Numerous barques from France laden with corn have reached the ports there and have supplied sufficient provision for Dublin, which for lack of them was on the point of surrendering to the enemy.
After much persuasion the city here has at last agreed to grant parliament a loan of 120,000l. sterling to be devoted to Ireland. As the difficulties have been overcome the 10,000 Scots are being despatched and with the levies of this nation, which are being pushed forward it is hoped that the rebels will not be able to hold out any longer against such powerful forces. General Conouel, who is to command the English, has set out. He took officers with him and a quantity of provisions and munitions of war.
There is some suspicion that the Dunkirk ships which frequent the ports here ostensibly on their own affairs, are lading other provisions to take to the rebels in Ireland. This has moved them to grant permission to the Dutch General Tromp to search Dunkirk ships even in the English ports and remove any supplies which exceed the requirements of their voyage. This will lead to serious disorders, not to speak of the slight to the reputation of this crown and of the ports.
Two days ago two priests were condemned to the extreme penalty and the execution took place today, to the extreme regret of not only the Catholics but the Protestants as well, who, unlike the Puritans, abhor shedding the blood of such innocent victims. (fn. 17)
London, the 31st January, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 332. Letter of his Majesty written 30—20 January to the two Houses of Parliament. (fn. 18)
[Italian ; translated from the English ; 3 pages.]


  • 1. i.e. Drogheda, but the town was not taken, and the rebels were obliged to raise the siege.
  • 2. On the 12/14 December, a summary of the speech is given in the Journal of the House of Lords, Vol. iv., pages 473, 474.
  • 3. Sir William Balfour. Stated officially to have voluntarily resigned. His successor, Col. Thomas Lunsford, was appointed on the 22 Dec, 1641 o.s. Col. S.P. Dom. 1641-3, page 210.
  • 4. Charles Howard, viscount Andover, eldest son of the earl of Berkshire.
  • 5. Colonel Thomas Lunsford. For his violence in a quarrel with Sir Thomas Pelham he had been sentenced in 1633 to fines amounting to 1700l. and to go beyond the sea or live obscurely. Court and Times of Charles I., Vol. ii., page 182.
  • 6. The archbishop of York, and the bishops of Durham, Norwich, Coventry and Lichfield, St. Asaph, Bath and Wells, Hereford, Ely, Oxford, Gloucester, Peterborough and Llandaff. Journal of House of Lords, Vol iv., page 497.
  • 7. Sir George Garrett. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1641-3, page 241.
  • 8. Printed in Journal of the House of Lords, Vol. iv., page 501. Rushworth : Historical Collections, Vol. iv., pp. 473, 474.
  • 9. Pym, Holles and Strode were on the Committee for Irish affairs before whom these letters were to be opened. Journal of the House of Commons, vol. ii., page 302.
  • 10. Probably Samuel Vassall and Alderman Thomas Soames.
  • 11. According to Salvetti this royal party experienced the utmost discomfort both at Hampton Court and at Windsor, not being expected. Despatch of the 31st January. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962 I.
  • 12. Printed in Nalson : Collections, Vol. ii., pages 746-750.
  • 13. Printed in May : Hist. of the Long Parliament, Oxford 1854, pages 421-3.
  • 14. Sir John Hotham.
  • 15. The letter, dated 16th January, is summarised in the Journal of the House of Lords, Vol. iv., page 526.
  • 16. Lunsford was taken at Billingbear co. Berks on 13—23 January. The earl of Newport and Lord Seymour formed the deputation to the queen, by a resolution of the 19th January o.s. Journal of the House of Lords, Vol. iv. page 526.
  • 17. Thomas Reynolds alias Green and Alban Roe, O.S.B. Cath. Record Soc. Douay Diaries, Vol. ii. page 432 ; Challoner ; Memorials of the Missionary Priests, Vol. ii. pages 188-200.
  • 18. Printed in Rushworth : Historical Collections, Vol. iv., page 516.