Venice: September 1642, 1-15

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 26, 1642-1643. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1925.

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, 'Venice: September 1642, 1-15', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 26, 1642-1643, (London, 1925) pp. 138-149. British History Online [accessed 21 May 2024].

. "Venice: September 1642, 1-15", in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 26, 1642-1643, (London, 1925) 138-149. British History Online, accessed May 21, 2024,

. "Venice: September 1642, 1-15", Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 26, 1642-1643, (London, 1925). 138-149. British History Online. Web. 21 May 2024,

September 1642, 1-15

Sept. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Ceffalonia. Venetian Archives.
127. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Proveditore of Cephalonia, to the Doge and Senate.
Many letters from Venice have brought word that the parliament of England has undoubtedly prohibited currants. The distress of the people here on this account is extreme. They do not know what to do, especially the poor, being destitute of the very necessaries of life for the rest of the year if this fruit is not serviceable to them, after all their labours. The crop is considerably smaller than last year but the quality superb. Private convenience would permit the exaction of their own credits, and they would not wish to increase them any more.
The injury and loss which may result to your Serenity from this are also likely to be considerable because the recovery of debts will be impossible and the farming out of the duties will be most difficult, especially of the two principal ones, of imports and exports and of wine.
Cephalonia, the 22nd August, 1642, old style.
Sept. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
128. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
A small Dutch ship, sent these last days towards York by the queen of England with military provisions, returned recently to these waters, having escaped from the pursuit of two large Parliament ships, who followed it, as well as another Dutch ship of war, which was going with the Princes Palatine towards the royal camp, and served them as an escort. This ship withstood the attack with great vigour. By good fortune it took refuge in a port of this state and three days after the fight we hear that it resumed its journey in safety and landed the two princes, Maurice and Roberto, on the coast of Newcastle. Prince Charles, the eldest of the family, having arrived unexpectedly from England last week, states that he only came to hear with his own ears the account of Ro, who treated of his affairs at the Imperial Court, without any success. Some say it is to take the queen back to that country, but appearances bear out what the wisest think, that these are all inventions and that he has torn himself away from the king, in order not to interest himself in the war, if one is waged with the parliament, showing clearly that he wishes to preserve his neutrality, with his Majesty's consent, leaving his two brothers to take his share in a matter in which he does not wish to take part personally.
Ro the ambassador, who has little desire to return to the royal Court unless the present aspect of affairs changes, suggests to their High Mightinesses, although he has no letters of credence for them, the adjustment of certain differences of old standing between the merchants here and those of England, so as to have this pretext for remaining some time longer in this country, free from the observation of those who watch his proceedings with remarkable closeness, and who seem more eager than they need be. When visiting me recently he told me that if he was compelled to leave here and go to England, to see the unhappy state of affairs there, the first thing he would do would be to place himself between the forces of the king and the parliament, to pray God to appease those troubles or else take away his life, so that he might not feel them.
The Hague, the 3rd September, 1642.
Sept. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
129. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In conformity with the declaration reported the king left York on Tuesday in this week with a following of 1500 horse and of a few bands of infantry, the remainder of the forces which have been promised him by his supporters not having been able as yet to unite with him and because others are engaged in many of the counties in upholding his cause against those who oppose it, who are not a few. On arriving at Notingam and perceiving at a glance the scant inclination of the people there to follow his fortunes, he made up his mind not to make a halt there but to push on to the town of Coventry, which is the chief town of the county of Warwick, with the idea of subsequently unfurling the royal standard in that place, and on being joined by the troops whom he is expecting, to pursue the course of arms in accordance with his opportunities (pro seguir a misura della occasioni il corso dell' armi). But on arriving within a short distance of the town he found the bridges closed and the people there not less contumacious than the others, with a determination not to permit him to enter unless on the condition that he would not bring inside the walls the warlike forces accompanying him. The king refused to agree to this and filled with resentment he tried to force a way in with a bomb. The garrison, for its part, having evaded the perils of this first blow, sallied out from the town and attacking the royal troops without any compunction, they threw them into disorder and compelled them to retreat in manifest rout, with the loss of three pieces of artillery and of some soldiers as well. After this unfortunate incident his Majesty betook himself once more to Notingam and more precise information of the steps he may decide upon amid the trials of this state, is awaited with impatience.
The earl of Northampton is labouring at the siege of the castle of Warwick, but with scant hope of a favourable issue. Word has come that 6000 men sent by parliament to its relief have entered the fortress without opposition, and accordingly everyone predicts that Northampton will be obliged to give up the attempt, and these first efforts of the king will end in failure. The unfortunate result of these greatly diminishes the credit of his party while it raises that of the rebels and makes it increasingly apparent that the people here are united in a single desire to bring about the ruin of the royal house and disorders in the kingdom as well and that it will prove a difficult matter to find a medicine capable of dissipating humours which have now become both malignant and universal (fa sempre piu palese che conspirino in un sol voto questi popoli nel procurare mall' hori alla casa reale non meno che disordini al Regno etiamdio e che malagevole sia per riuscire di trovare medecina atta a dissolvere humori resi hormai e contumaci e universale).
Parliament on the other hand, profiting by the success gained in these encounters, is greatly enheartened and cherishes confident hopes that it will maintain the greatness of its present state. It is increasing the army with all its might ; several companies of cavalry collected in the country by parliamentarians are turning up here at every moment and all are well mounted. It remains established that next week General the earl of Essex will march with the bulk of them, and he announces that he will proceed straight for the king, on the assumption that he will find his Majesty weak and in no condition to refuse any demands however prejudicial they may be.
Meanwhile, to secure himself against any move from the county of Kent, which with praiseworthy sentiment has declared for his Majesty, Essex has unexpectedly despatched considerable forces thither, caused the natives to be completely disarmed, and made himself master of Dover castle and of all the most ticklish posts in that district. These measures have relieved them of the fear of any attempt at a dangerous movement from that quarter and have deprived the king of a prop upon which he relied more than on anything else as a support for his plans to harass the party of the malcontents.
In this city they have searched all the houses of the Catholics and Protestants, taking away their arms, and from some the money and plate found there, which have been taken to the Guildhall on the pretext that they were destined for his Majesty's service. Although this is false, yet it serves as a fruitful means for providing for the support of the troops and other expenses.
No respect has been shown to the Resident of Florence, as the ministers forced an entrance into his house while he was absent in the country, carrying away his arms and contemptuously opening all his boxes. (fn. 1)
They have treated in the same way many lords of the highest nobility, the dukes of Vendome and Epernon in particular, who are respected here as the kin of his Majesty, although with more reserve. They also searched the apartments of the Imperial Resident.
So far this search has not extended to the houses of the ambassadors. God grant that they will always observe this moderation and give me grace to escape from this painful situation, in which my purse has suffered irremediable loss as well as my health.
Parliament has issued a proclamation intimating that all those who assist or serve the king under any pretext whatsoever will incur the penalty of treason against his Majesty and the state as well, and will be punished severely accordingly.
The fortress of Porsmoud still holds out for his Majesty. Colonel Gorin, the governor, has recaptured the bridge and has dislodged the enemy, so the first hopes of parliament for its speedy surrender are disappearing.
In the ecclesiastical assembly in Scotland the partisans of the parliamentarians here, as a counterblast to a manifesto of the nobility, have issued a decree of much importance, in which they declare that moved by true zeal for the worship of God they will be ready to assist that party which will join with them in reducing the liturgy of the Anglican Church to the forms of the Scottish, which means abolishing the order of bishops and forbidding the use of ceremonies which the Protestants have always practised. The government there has informed his Majesty of this decision, inviting him to come to an agreement with the parliament here, make up his mind to the union of the two churches, and to re-establish Calvinism in the whole island with uniform rites.
An express messenger has arrived here with this news, and commissioners are expected from Scotland with the particulars of this Council and powers to introduce the business. All men of understanding recognise that this is an attempt on the part of the Scots to return with their army to England and under the pretext of religious zeal to assist the seditious and also to secure other important advantages for themselves in the present disorders of the kingdom. This new development causes great apprehension to the Protestants aimed as it is at essential matters affecting their consciences.
The insurgents of Ireland, on the other hand, have sent letters to parliament protesting that they will cross to England to uphold the royal authority by the force of their arms, and they have caused similar offers to be presented to his Majesty, promising that whenever he chooses to give the order they will start on the road to come and serve under his flag. Thus England is menaced from every quarter with the fire of long and ruinous civil wars.
The Palatine Princes, Rupert and Maurice, cast anchor at last in the waters of Newcastle on Saturday. They brought money, munitions and arms sent by the queen to his Majesty. On the journey from Newcastle to York Prince Rupert's horse fell and he dislocated his shoulder. He has not been able yet to proceed nearer to his Majesty. It is said that the king contemplates giving the prince the command of the cavalry if the unexpected checks which his arms have received give him the opportunity of prosecuting his designs against his disobedient subjects.
Parliament is incensed at the coming of these princes and much more at the arrival of these military provisions. They blame the Prince of Orange, suspecting that he has accommodated his Majesty with money and favoured the conveyance of the munitions. In consequence of these suspicions they have taken a curious step in the selection of an individual who, in the capacity of gentleman of the parliament, (fn. 2) will proceed to-morrow to Holland, with instructions to make representations to their High Mightinesses complaining of the procedure of the prince and to warn them that these succours supplied to the king are contrary to the obligations of friendly relations, and that if the transport of further munitions or money is permitted, orders will be issued from this quarter to the earl of Warwick to treat as enemies the Dutch ships which pass through the English Channel. There are some who think that this person will not be admitted by their High Mightinesses, to avoid any slight upon the sovereignty of his Majesty, nevertheless they assert that this expedition takes place by secret arrangement with them, in order to afford them a just pretext for putting a stop to further help for the king, and for opposing the demands of the Prince of Orange. The marriage of the prince's son with the English princess has brought to that house, mingled with the greatness, anxiety of mind and a strain upon the purse of the father.
It is said that the king has sent commissions to the earl of Arundel, who is just now at Antwerp, to proceed to Spain in the capacity of ambassador extraordinary. The reasons for this have not yet transpired, nor the instructions for his embassy, which for many respects are bound to be at once interesting and deserving of much consideration.
Although the gentleman of the French ambassador, sent to France as I reported, has not yet returned, the ambassador is setting out to-day for his Majesty. He came to tell me about his journey, declaring that if he found the king unwilling for him to remain on at his post, he will take leave and proceed to France in conformity with the orders he holds from the king, his master. He gave me to understand quite frankly that he disliked having to leave in this way. He told me further, that to make manifest the zeal shown by him in the interests of the prince here, he had held long conferences with the parliamentarians and had persuaded them to permit him to make his Majesty a fresh offer of an accommodation. He will make the proposal and if the king is disposed to accept his mediation, he will take up the task with all sincerity and with hopes of a successful issue. He informed me that on this side they demand a general pardon, with guarantees that they shall enjoy it, the preservation of religion and also of the privileges of parliament. These are the usual pretexts with which they have justified all their past demands and their present action. Those who are acquainted with the astuteness of the parliamentarians consider these fresh projects a device for the purpose of making a show to the people, by the conspicuous means of the ambassador, of their willing disposition towards an accommodation and to provide a further justification for their demands under the cloak of religion and liberty so that if they are not accepted the fault will rest with the king and he will have the blame for these troubles.
A person in the ambassador's confidence and who sees all the letters of the king, his master, informs me that France has no liking for the further spreading of Calvinism in England, and she is no better pleased at the great predominance which parliament has acquired over the king's authority, as she suspects that in progress of time the Huguenots of France may be fomented by the Puritans here and that the example of parliament in shaking off the yoke of monarchy may instil similar ideas among the French people. This same individual assures me that once this ambassador, so distasteful to the king, has gone, the Most Christian will make an effort at mediation by means of a more acceptable minister, or in some other way, to adjust these differences and to establish the king's authority on a basis of solid permanence by means of negotiation.
Perceiving from the results that my offices have proved efficacious in persuading his Majesty not to give his assent to the bill forbidding the importation of currants, the directors of the Levant Company have procured a fresh order in the Lower House which limits the prohibition to 3 years only. The interested parties hope that in the interval your Excellencies will reduce the duties and grant them the other unjust demands which they prefer, because their agents at Venice have given them to understand that this pressure will induce your Serenity to give way and satisfy them. I am trying my best to thwart this last attempt and will write to the Secretary of State, and, if necessary, I will speak to his Majesty.
London, the 5th September, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 6.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Rettori. Venetian Archives.
130. To the Proveditore of Cephalonia.
In the affair of the currants, which is the foundation of the prosperity of the people and of the revenue of the island, our chief aim is always to promote the trade, with offices performed in England. Although the parliament there has certain unfavourable intentions, the king is of an opposite way of thinking.
Henry Hider, an English merchant, carried on a flourishing trade in that island, but being put on his trial for fraud in the customs, he was found guilty in his absence and sentenced to banishment. There is no doubt that if he did not commit the offences which were charged against him and his return might prove of benefit to the trade, it would be a matter of justice to recall him. We forward a copy of the sentence and a report of his operations in the Morea. If with his return all that trade in our islands could be restored and this were achieved by a sound security which would not worsen his condition or diminish his good will, we should desire the course of justice to proceed with a vigorous march, the more so if the advantage of our subjects were also served (se con ritorno si restituerebbe tutto quel negotio nelle isole nostre et la maniera per una sicura cautela, che non peggiorebbe la condition di lui et di affetto. desiderando noi che la giustitia cammini con piede vigoroso et tanto piu se vi si accompagnato il servitio dei sudditi).
Ayes, 99. Noes, 1. Neutral, 9.
Sept. 8.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
131. To the Ambassador in England.
Acknowledge his letters. Among the things which he reports it is worthy of attention whether the French ambassador's decision is really to depart, or if this is merely an excuse and as an opening for negotiation. Perceive the advantage of his efforts about the currants in the purchase of ships and in the orders for the purchase of the fruit in our islands. Have every confidence in his action. Owing to the insecurity of the route he has permission to engage an escort, the cost of which will be allowed to him, for the journey to Germany. Enclose the usual sheet of advices.
Ayes, 152. Noes, 1. Neutral, 4.
Sept. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
132. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen here announces that she will return to England very soon, fixing the time at three weeks. For this purpose she has sent her gentleman to the army to ask the Prince for a strong convoy of Dutch ships to escort her, with this opportunity now that the fleet of the parliament has its attention distracted as it is intent on providing itself with food. The generality attach little credit to the announcement, because from what they know of her Majesty's movements they see clearly that it is more in order to give some credit to the proceedings of her husband than because her project can be carried out in such a short space. It is very certain, and is openly acknowledged, that her departure, whenever it takes place, will by no means be lamented by the people here. They are badly impressed by her proceedings and by the unjust opinions expressed by the heretic preachers here against her. They also hate her for her free use of the Catholic faith and because they want the Parliament to win everywhere.
An English commissioner named Stridland arrived here unexpectedly, a man reputed able and experienced in state affairs. He is sent to the States by the parliament. He brought letters of credence to the government, which were received without difficulty, and he himself was admitted soon after, not into the full Assembly, but to a chamber near here, to meet three deputies. To them he made repeated remonstrances on behalf of his principals about the assistance in munitions, officers and convoys of ships supplied to the king to their hurt of late, as well as a supply of ready money contributed to his Majesty by the Prince here. He made strong representations so that these Provinces should abstain from acting thus in the future and not show themselves so partial to the royal side to the prejudice of the parliament. The States have not yet given him their answer, for lack of time to decide on such an important matter, since he only made his representations the day before yesterday. To render his office more acceptable he covers it with a show of zeal and good intentions, urging the prompt sending of the embassy already arranged, for composing their differences, and protesting vehemently that the parliament fervently desires a just accommodation with his Majesty and therefore he prays the States not to foment him by fresh assistance, but rather to interpose with their friendly offices.
The States and the entire people apparently incline to support the parliament. They boldly promise the commissioner a favourable and pleasing answer, although with respect to prohibiting the sending of provisions of war it will not be an easy matter to secure, not because the government inclines to refuse, but because the merchants here, in their greed for gain, send all kinds of military munitions without measure wherever there is plenty of money to pay for them, and the States do not know how to prevent it.
Meanwhile the queen, knowing the inclination of the government to grant the requests of the other side, bears it with less anger than patience ; but she does not dare to complain publicly of the wrong and has not tried so far to have the commissioner dismissed without a favourable answer, to avoid exposing herself to the ignominy of a repulse, and of making herself hateful for good and all, without gaining anything. She does all she can by her representations to the Prince, pointing out the lack of friendliness of their High Mightinesses but it is thought that even this will not help her much as the Prince can scarcely devote himself to thwarting a matter in which the feelings of the government here are unanimous.
The Hague, the 10th September, 1642.
Sept. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
133. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king remains at Nottingham. He displayed his flag there on Tuesday in last week with the object of inducing those who are disposed to favour him to take service under the royal colours. There are no materials for forming a sound judgment as yet on the advantages he may derive from this last step. Everyone is waiting to see whether the acclamations of the people to serve him will be followed by an equal readiness to act, under such urgent circumstances.
On the day after he made this conspicuous demonstration his Majesty decided to send here four of the members of parliament who are with him, with letters to parliament and instructions to make fresh overtures for a composition. (fn. 3) When they arrived they went to their accustomed places, with the idea of executing their commissions, acting in the capacity of commissioners for the king as well as that of members of the House. But parliament insisted on the strict letter of their declaration against those who followed his Majesty's fortunes and did not allow them to enter as members, but privately, and insisted that they should state their business at the bar, which means like guilty parties. As they would not consent to such shameful conditions they were obliged in the end to discharge their mission in writing and to present the king's letter by a private hand, which is in the following terms :
Afflicted at the present disorders his Majesty wished to spare his subjects the fear of a ruinous civil war. With this object he has decided to ask parliament to select deputies with authority to treat and conclude an arrangement with others chosen by himself for settling the present differences with reciprocal satisfaction. He promises security for the deputies and complete sincerity in the treaty which he desires so impatiently. He promises to consent to all that will serve to render the Protestant religion more stable in England and to subdue Catholicism as well as for securing the execution of the laws and the confirmation of the privileges of parliament. If this last proposal is not accepted, he will have done his part and God Almighty will not consider him guilty of the blood that will be shed. He states finally that he has forces and money enough to relieve him of the fear of any violence, until such time as his people, being better informed, shall unite with him for the same objects. (fn. 4)
After the parliamentarians had listened to these laudable proposals and considered them carefully, they made their reply in very hardy fashion, to wit : that they are sensible of the present condition of this country ; they have tried by their advice and frequent instances to his Majesty to prevent these calamities, but all their efforts have proved fruitless in view of the confidence which he has placed in pernicious councillors that so long as his Majesty keeps his royal standard flying and until he has withdrawn the proclamations in which he has declared the parliamentarians traitors, as well as the earl of Essex their general, they cannot, in virtue of the laws, treat for an accommodation. (fn. 5) After causing these resolutions to be consigned to the king's deputies, they added their command to pack off without delay from this place, as they did very promptly. And now we are waiting with curiosity to learn in what spirit the king will have heard these licentious demands and what answer he will give.
From this imperious attitude men of judgment conclude that parliament, inspired with confidence by the happy issue for their arms of the last affairs, and feeling sure that the king is disposed to purchase peace at any price, are purposely intent on delaying the conclusion, with the object of reducing his Majesty to greater straits, establish themselves more firmly in command and in the mean time to enjoy those rich profits which derive to the leaders of the party from their continuance in the governance, a consideration which perhaps operates more than any other to keep this party outside the temple of peace.
It is doubtful as yet whether these proposals of the king derive from a recognition of the feebleness of his condition, and I for one would not venture to assert so much. Many believe that he is trying by this show of a desire for quiet to provide a further justification in the minds of the generality for the appeal to arms, to gain time for putting his forces in good array and increasing their numbers, for it is known that all have not yet arrived. Everyone allows that the cavalry consists of 3000 horsemen, well mounted. Of the infantry there are different accounts. It is not possible to obtain authentic information because communications are interrupted between his Majesty and this city, and parliament does not allow unrestricted liberty to individuals to send or receive letters from that quarter. Nevertheless there is a strong impression that the king is very short of foot soldiers, as the common people are enthusiastically in favour of the rebels (fermo sta nondimeno il concetto che di gente a piede provi il Re gran strettezza, il minuto popolo aderendo con furioso inclinatione ai vantaggi degli inobedienti).
They send word from Wales that when the harvest is gathered in the king will receive important succours, and from other quarters as well. Thus amid all this trickery and the changing circumstances it behoves one to leave it to time to disclose the real truth of their intentions, which are always subject to change and inconstancy. Meanwhile parliament does not slacken at all in its preparations for war, being persuaded that force alone will make easy the success of those machinations through which they hope to realise their most far reaching designs. They have sent orders to Holland for the transport of arms, since the mechanics here cannot cope with the demand, with the number of the troops, which every day it is gathering under its flag.
General the earl of Essex is hurrying on with his preparations to take the field and march towards the king's quarters. Two days ago he held a general muster of the cavalry a short distance from this metropolis.
They are pushing the siege of Porsmoud with vigour. They have begun to erect a platform on a piece of high ground which commands the town, and when it is completed it is hoped that the governor will not be able to postpone any longer his surrender of the fortress to parliament. Some other small places which remain steadfastly loyal to his Majesty, are also blockaded by the forces of the malcontents, who are harassing the opposite party in every direction.
The Prince Palatine Rupert, having recovered his health, has presented himself to his Majesty from whom, with public demonstration, he received the generalship of the cavalry. Brimful of zeal for his uncle's service, he has taken the field without loss of time and sacked some rebel villages as well as some rich houses of contumacious parliamentarians. (fn. 6) The parliamentarians as well as all those who depend on the success of that party, speak with indignation of the spirited actions of this prince, and it was proposed to issue a proclamation exiling him from England. But after the less rabid among them had reflected on what was due to his birth in respect of the king, and other convenances of state, they prevented the execution of a project so little to be commended.
The commissioners of Scotland arrived in this city on Monday and had their first audience of parliament two days ago. They opened the business of uniting the two Churches of England and Scotland, and deputies were appointed to conduct the affair to a conclusion. But while this meets with the full approval of the Puritans, it gives grounds for offence to the consciences of true Protestants and it seems likely that motives of such importance may give rise to serious quarrels in England in the future on the score of religion.
Meanwhile 10,000 Scots under the command of General Lesle have crossed to Ireland and have put in successfully at Carrickfergus. The ostensible object of this expedition is to add increased vigour to the English for the reduction of the insurgents there, but speculative persons suspect that as the Scots do not find it easy to enter England on the northern side, because the frontier is well furnished with troops, and the fortresses with strong garrisons, Lesle chose the sea passage under the pretext of assisting the defence of that kingdom, so that he might be able in case of need, to cross over to these shores and unite with the forces of parliament without opposition.
The report that the earl of Arundel is going to Spain in the capacity of ambassador extraordinary is not confirmed, but I learn from a person of great credit that parliament has secretly made a suggestion to the Dutch that when these civil discords are compounded they will persuade his Majesty to connect himself with that government in the bond of an offensive and defensive alliance against the House of Austria, and the ambassador of the Catholic here, who came to see me yesterday, having also found out the same information, talked about it with apprehension and jealousy as well.
London, the 12th September, 1642.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
134. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The directors of the Levant Company are deeply incensed at the orders given by the merchants here who trade to the islands of your Excellencies for the purchase of currants this year also, of which I wrote, notwithstanding the order against it carried in parliament and the resolution of his Majesty not to give his assent to the bill. They are apprehensive that all their efforts for the reduction of the duties and the other advantages which they demand from the Senate may fall through without result. Accordingly they have set to work with fresh machinations and have obtained under the title of an ordinance from parliament a prohibition of the importation of the fruit into England, without limitation of time. They hope that under the favour of this decree, of which I enclose a copy, the merchants will abstain from laying out their money, and that in consequence the taxes due to your Serenity and the private revenues of your subjects will be equally prejudiced, and in this way it may prove easy for them to achieve successfully the objects at which they aim. This form of ordinance, although owing to the predominant power which parliament has usurped in these days they have required obedience to it in other matters, cannot be legitimately carried into execution in virtue of the constitution of the realm, unless it is confirmed by his Majesty. But at present the laws and the royal authority are languishing amid so many disorders and the interested parties take advantage of this state of affairs to oblige the merchants to suspend the orders given, as I am informed they will do, since they are unwilling to expose their capital to the jurisdiction of authority and the law. Nevertheless all appearances go to show that they will take up the matter again, when the hopes of the directors of the Company and of some hotheads who are at Venice, that these insidious devices will suffice to induce your Excellencies to give way to their unjust demands, have vanished away. The jealousy that the Dutch may take up this trade, as well as the interests of the shipmasters who sail every year with cloth to Constantinople and to the other marts of the Levant, who without their freight of currants would have to return empty to England, place the Company in the absolute necessity of restoring the circulation of this fruit. Besides all this it is not credible that the people here will put up patiently with the absence of currants, the use of which has become so familiar in this country. These considerations are recognised by the less intemperate among the merchants, who roundly condemn the whole movement.
London, the 12th September, 1642.
Enclosure. 135. Ordinance of the House of Commons, prohibiting the importation of currants. (fn. 7)
Ordered to be printed the 26th August, 1642, O.S.
[Italian ; 2 pages.]


  • 1. Salvetti reports this search on the 5th Sept. but makes light of it, and says he will take no notice of the affront. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 27962I.
  • 2. Walter Strickland.
  • 3. The earls of Southampton and Dorset, Sir John Culpepper and Sir William Uvedale. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1641—3, page 385.
  • 4. Text in Journals of the House of Lords, dated at Nottingham on 25 August O.S., Vol. V, pages 327, 328.
  • 5. The reply ibid on 27th August.
  • 6. One of the houses so attacked was at Caldecot, co. Warwick, on the 28 Aug.—7 Sept. Webb : Memorials of the Civil War in Herefordshire, Vol. I, page 131.
  • 7. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1641—3, page 378.