Venice: June 1643

Pages 278-291

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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June 1643

June 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
267. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen of England is making an appeal for some assistance from this quarter, and they give her greater hopes than in the past.
Paris, the 2nd June, 1643.
June 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
268. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
General Essex left for the army with all his officers last Saturday evening without being able to obtain more than the 47,000l. sterling reported. All this has not yet been sent to him, but they are forwarding it by instalments with the utmost diligence. They are trying to devise a way of raising easily the taxes imposed, to establish a fund which will suffice for the regular payment of this army. Although these taxes are very heavy and unpleasant for the whole people, who are not accustomed to it, yet they will have to bear them and more, since they themselves, by their own work have contributed towards it, being shut up in this city which no one can leave or enter save by four ways, all well guarded.
When the general left parliament charged him strongly to march and give battle, but he did not seem much inclined to this, expressing the fear that he would find the soldiers unwilling, as they have not been paid all that is due to them. Since his absence from the army the king has had the good fortune to receive the succour from York. This has given his Majesty too many cavalry, and as he cannot keep them all with him, owing to the scarcity of fodder, he has sent a part to reinforce Obton. This arrived very opportunely, when that commander was at his weakest, and gave him fresh courage. Accordingly he gave battle again to the parliamentary forces which followed him into Devonshire, gaining a considerable victory, (fn. 1) the parliamentarians losing more than 3000 infantry. Their commander the earl of Stanford, escaped with some companies of horse to the capital of Devonshire, abandoning his guns and 5000l. in money, which the royalists captured.
Some leading gentlemen of the counties of Wilts, Somerset and Dorset ill-treated by the parliamentary troops, have united and gone to offer the king, in virtue of their connections, a levy of 10,000 men of those three counties, if he will give them a leader with a corps d' armee, which will assure them unity. His Majesty accepted the offer, thanking them, and sent the marquis of Erfort with 2000 horse ; but parliament, hearing of this, sent to stop it, directing that arms should be collected and well guarded, so the outcome seems doubtful.
Divisions still persist in the royal Council, to the serious peril and prejudice of his Majesty. On this side they flatter themselves that the councillors who urge peace do so, not from a desire to have it at any price, but in order to maintain these divisions. The party has been strong enough to persuade his Majesty to a fresh humiliation. Two days ago he sent a very courteous message to parliament. He said that God, favouring the justice of his cause had put him in a position in which he had nothing to fear. This appeared from the succour which had reached him and from the victory in Devonshire. But knowing full well that all victories must result in losses, he offered once again his willingess for peace, and pressed for a reply to the earlier message. When the letter was read in parliament, there being nothing in its wording to attack, they referred the matter to commissioners, declaring that there was no time to attend to a reply, but it was necessary to devote it all to the means of raising the taxes, a much more pressing and necessary business. The messenger has been put in prison for having passed without a trumpet, in order to put a stop to too frequent missions of this kind, which the leaders of the party do not like, as they sometimes find a difficulty in persuading those who are less fanatical.
The resolution to counterfeit the great seal has not yet gone to the Upper House for approval. They are treating of a much more important matter, indeed of the first consequence. After a great many secret consultations by the leaders of this party, which I reported with the suspicion that they were plotting against the queen, it was proposed in the Lower House last Tuesday to accuse her of high treason, for having induced the king to make war against the state, and having procured assistance. This was carried, and the accusation was at once taken to the House of Lords. The Commons asked the Upper House to unite with them in drawing up the articles of accusation and the process, in which they are determined to obtain a rigorous sentence. Stupefied at such an audacious proposal the Lords held their peace, and without any one venturing to open his mouth they rose immediately, and the deputies of the Commons departed. When the resolution was voted some of the members threw aside all respect and even objected to giving her Majesty the title of queen of England. But as it is necessary by law to give the condition as well as the name of the accused, they could not find any other title which would not bring in the House of Bourbon. Where this complication of things and this audacious presumption of subjects will end no one would presume to prophesy, and the most enlightened are clouded by such extravagant excesses and the only thing clear is the extreme feeling against the royal house and a line of conduct that indicates that the end of these affairs will not be reached without a change of the government or the total destruction of the kingdom.
The number of English subjects, in addition to foreigners, who are now crossing the sea daily to escape these perils and calamities is so great that London and many other places have lost their most comfortable (piu commodi) inhabitants. Accordingly parliament has resolved to announce to all that unless they return within a fixed time all their goods will be confiscated, with other penalties as well, at pleasure.
A letter written by Sir [Balthasar] Gerbier, master of the ceremonies, to the secretary of state with advices and comments on these matters has been intercepted. He was summoned to answer for this, but after hiding himself for some time he secretly crossed to France, with the king's permission, in the character of a gentleman with an honorary mission.
A courier has arrived thence bringing news to the Resident here of the death of the King Louis XIII and the succession of his son, fourteenth of the name. He promises that a gentleman will come over very soon, to inform his Majesty.
London, the 5th June, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
269. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The disaster suffered by Don Francesco de Melo against the French at the very beginning of the present campaign has dissipated the sluggishness of the Dutch and the Prince of Orange in particular hopes to profit by the occasion. His Highness had embarked troops for Flanders and it looked as if he was going to move from the Hague towards Breda on the 26th ult. The French Ambassador Tullerie, who arrived there on the 24th, in a long conference with the Prince, did his utmost to induce him to make this move. He had orders to announce in the General Assembly the death of the king and the succession of his son. After that he was to proceed to the army. Meanwhile the States had sent 4000 infantry and 3000 horse to surprise Gheldres ; but the enterprise failed as the garrison was warned by the inopportune firing of a musket. So the Dutch had to retire in disorder, but without loss.
Melo is doing his best to collect the remains of his unfortunate army. Cantelmo is in the district of Vais to reinforce the most ticklish posts, and intends to unite his forces between Malines and Ist. Guasco has gone to Bruges to resist any attempts of the Dutch in that direction.
After long disputes the Dutch have agreed to elect deputies for the congress at Munster, allowing the Province of Holland to nominate 3, whereas the others only have one each.
Stricland, deputy of the parliament here, is sighing for letters to adjust his disputes and to restore him to the esteem he enjoyed at the first. These have been sent to him by sea, so it is probable that they have reached him by now.
An ambassador of Congo has touched at the coast here, on his way to Holland about matters of trade.
London, the 5th June, 1643.
June 9.
Esecutori contra. Bestemmie. Reg. Sentenze, 30. Venetian Archives.
270. Sentence of Pietro Foscarini da Leze and Francesco Corner, Esecutori against Oliva called Zuechina living at S. Giovanni Bragora for having lodged Thomas Peri, an Englishman, sailor, and other Englishmen, without the bulletin, and against the said Thomas, to a fine of 5 ducats each.
June 11.
Collegio Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
271. The Secretary of England came into the Collegio and spoke in the terms of a paper he handed in.
In the absence of the doge the senior councillor Zaccaria Sagredo replied : The republic deeply regrets to hear of the disturbances in England and the troubles of his Majesty, to whom we wish every consolation and peace. We thank him for the communication and respond most cordially.
I have not spoken to your Serenity of the civil troubles of England thinking such news might prove distasteful to an allied and friendly prince while the insolence of the people was only too widely known. But now it is finally disclosed that the conspirators are utterly averse from any good and just accommodation and are trying by false slanders to take away the king's honour and deprive him of the obedience of his subjects, stirring up the unsuspecting people and embarking them on an impious and barbarous war against their legitimate sovereign, I consider it necessary to vindicate the honour of my king. I protest before God and your Serenity that his Majesty has no other design than to maintain inviolate the prerogatives which God has given him and to preserve in their purity the fundamental laws of his realm. He therefore feels sure that Heaven will favour his arms until he has reduced the rebels to obedience. Meanwhile nothing distresses his Majesty so much, after the troubles of his own realms, as to hear of the disturbances of Italy, and especially that the republic is involved at a time when he is in no position to offer help, his arms being unfortunately occupied elsewhere. But the republic may always count on the good will which she has experienced from his predecessors in similar circumstances. I have particular instructions to assure your Serenity that his Majesty has nothing more at heart than to preserve the ancient relations he has always enjoyed with this republic. The interruption of the currant trade should not affect this nor any other irregular act of parliament done without his consent and consequently invalid. The republic need not be surprised if those who have thrown off obedience to their natural prince show such scant consideration for his allies. I shall always be ready to employ my weak powers for the restoration of this trade as to promote all other interests of the republic, knowing full well that I can do nothing that will please my king more, and I shall endeavour by loyal and devoted service to insinuate myself more and more into the good graces of your Serenity.
June 12.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
272. To the Secretary in England.
Enclose copies of the office of the English secretary and of the reply given him. This is to serve for information and he is to assure his Majesty of the affectionate esteem of our republic and of our desire for the tranquillity of his dominions. Acknowledge receipt of his letters.
Ayes, 112. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
273. That the Secretary of England be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
We learn with the deepest regret of the troubles of the king of Great Britain, whose quiet and greatness we desire so much, and we pray God that he will repair these disorders. We are equally desirous of being of some service to his Majesty, who has preserved his perfect friendliness to us, to which we respond with affectionate regard and all sincerity, and we shall be glad if this is reported by you in a full and lively manner.
Ayes, 152. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
June 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Ingilterra. Venetian Archives.
274. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Although it is several days since General Essex reached the army, we do not hear that he has it ready to march, but rather that being mostly quartered in Reading for security and comfort considerable mortality is being suffered from malignant fevers, with other most violent symptoms, which are the forerunners of the plague, the sole but irrevocable calamity which is lacking to fill the measure of this kingdom, once so happy and fortunate. The general has sent some of the regiments away from there, to remove them from this peril, and to entrench themselves against the neighbouring royalists, while he renews his demands for money here, pointing out that unless these are fully satisfied it is impossible to induce his sickly and undisciplined troops to march.
The king is also entrenched with his army in the country round Oxford awaiting the opportunity for an engagement. The queen is to leave York next Monday with 3000 foot and 1000 horse, to join the troops at Niuvarch, and thence proceed to reinforce her husband, leaving the care of Yorkshire to Newcastle, who at present is besieging Fairfax at Liz. If he is unable to take it soon he intends to burn it or destroy it in some other way. But it may be doubted if an incident which I will report will not delay her Majesty's march or divert it.
Colonel Gorin had taken up a position with some troops of horse at Wechfild in the heart of Yorkshire, in order to enlist infantry. After Fairfax was defeated and shut up in Liz he considered himself safe from any attack. But Fairfax's son having unexpectedly gathered a small force of the people of the country, surprised him, destroying most of his force, capturing 1500 of them and the commander himself. (fn. 2) His life is in danger as he betrayed the king and then the parliament in the defence of Portsmouth. To reinforce Fairfax junior Cramuel, a parliamentary leader, is now advancing with 6000 foot and 1000 horse, while Popon has received orders from parliament to proceed to Cornwall to succour the earl of Stanford, defeated by Obton, as reported.
The marquis of Erfort, who was to help carry out the offer of certain gentlemen to raise 10,000 soldiers in the counties of Wilts, Dorset and Somerset, is at Salisbury and making good progress. He is on the alert to turn back if Essex should attack the king, as he can easily do by making a small detour from that place. But his men are causing great destruction there, the district being generally notorious for its disaffection to the royalist party.
On Monday Colonel Fildinch, who surrendered Reading, suffered the extreme penalty at Oxford. If the soldiers themselves had not tumultuously demanded vengeance against him, the king would not have ventured to have the sentence carried out because of the support he had in the royal Council. The indignation displayed by parliament at his death indicates the certainty of an understanding with him.
On Saturday the question of counterfeiting the great seal of the realm was put to the vote in the Upper House. There were 23 lords present, but ten left to avoid giving an opinion. Of the remaining 13 only three definitely agreed, the others wished the king to be informed first ; so it was not carried. This has caused more annoyance than anger in the Commons, who have no doubt about carrying their point, either by the removal of the reculcitrant lords or by acting without their consent, as has been done with other decrees. To keep both these ways open they enlarge upon the abuse of the king's seal, by which, they say his Majesty has given under the same date permission to some lords to plunder the hostile country, contributing a portion of the gains to his Majesty.
They are pursuing the accusations against the queen with great energy. The commissioners appointed to draw up the articles of accusation put down 35 on paper, but finding some unfounded they are reducing the number, so that I hear there will not be more than 17 or 19.
On Wednesday the last day of the month, set apart each month for a general fast and prayers, at the time when the people were in church, a report circulated of the discovery of a great conspiracy in the city, causing a confusion without example. Parliament met at once and speedily ordered all the posts to be reinforced and the arrest of two members of the Lower House. (fn. 3) Their activities and suspicions are still at work without anything being brought to light, which shows that it is an invention of the seditious for the furtherance of some designs which has not as yet transpired.
The five Scottish lords sent by the king have reached Edinburgh without mishap. They have had commissioners appointed for them by the government there and presented a declaration of his Majesty, pointing out the deplorable condition of Ireland, and asking them to send help to the Protestants against the rebels. Finding that the object was to weaken them of troops and other forces, the Scots declared that it did not behove them to do this, but the parliament of England. If they received advice and facilities from that body they would not fail to take the matter into consideration.
The assembly of parliament in that country has been arranged for the 22nd June, old style, without his Majesty's permission. They call it an Assembly, out of modesty, and announce that it is not to last more than forty days. Meanwhile they are preparing money and men, ostensibly for its safety.
More moderate letters were sent to the Deputy Stricland in Holland for the settlement of his quarrel with the States. But these are not so ready to bend, both from the offices of the king's resident Bosuel and because the Prince of Orange is away, whose satisfaction and consent they consider necessary. The offices of the Ambassador Tullerie have resulted in orders for the levy of fifty companies to increase the Dutch army. They are also providing a great quantity of barques for transporting the cavalry. Nevertheless with the lateness of the season, and the shortness of money with the States it is unlikely that they will undertake a siege of any importance, in spite of the increased advantage to them from Melo calling to Cantelmo to help him against the French.
The Sieur de Gressi is here, sent by the Most Christian to inform the king here of the death of his father and his own succession. He has orders, so they say, to remonstrate with parliament through confidents of that crown, about the expulsion of the Capuchins. But they care nothing about that here, having already given offence by the seizure of their goods.
London, the 12th June, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 13.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
275. The Senate's decision of the preceding day having been read to the Secretary of England, he said :
His Majesty will value this declaration of your Serenity very highly, and it will go to confirm his regard and sincere friendship. The doge said, we desire extremely that God will give peace and quiet to his Majesty's realms, so that he may enjoy his crown in tranquillity, as we desire him all prosperity and felicity. After hearing this the Secretary went to write down what had been read to him.
June 18.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
276. The Secretary of England came into the Collegio and said that a letter had been sent to him from the Queen of Bohemia, which he presented. He added that if there was any defect in the forms it must be excused from the use of the French idiom.
Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, to the Doge of Venice.
Two of her younger sons (fn. 4) were making a little tour in Italy with a few attendants, to see the country. She regrets to learn that they were at Venice incognito, without paying their respects to the doge. She wrote telling them to perform this duty, but as they only made a very short stay at the towns they visited, her letters did not reach them before their return to Paris. Apologises for this lapse and hopes the doge will excuse it. Compliments.
From the Hague, the 18—28 April. 1643.
June 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
277. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
There is no sign yet of any effective march by Essex ; sickness troubles the army more than ever, while he is constantly asking for money to pay it. In addition to this the earl of Warwick is pressing for great sums to pay the naval forces. So they have been obliged to apply again to the Council of the city of London for advances. But instead of the satisfactory reply they expected, they received a very unpleasant one, not only openly refusing, but asking how so much money is consumed without advantage.
This week parliament has not given any incitement to Essex to move, but rather to halt and to send here several companies of horse, as he has done, to increase the advantages the rebels expect from the imaginary conspiracy they talk of, of which I send details, as well as of other exceptional acts of violence. This conspiracy rests upon nothing but the report of an ordinary individual sent to some members of parliament while they were at church on the fast day. From this arose the extraordinary sitting of parliament, the strengthening of all the guards, the arrest of two members of the Commons, and the appointment of commissioners to make an enquiry. All these things by exciting confusion and alarm among the people have tended to irritate them more against the king and to encroach upon his authority. The commissioners have met for some days in the Guildhall and examined many persons. Finally, on Tuesday, the Houses of Parliament being surrounded by numerous squadrons of infantry and cavalry, they brought the process to be read in the Lower House. In this they show that the king, under the great seal of the realm, had given commission and authority to be used by two members of the Commons named Valer, to form a Council of War in London of 20 persons. All his confederates are mentioned, in the Upper and Lower House, from whom they may be selected. This body might decide the moment for distributing patents for levies, raising money secretly or publicly, and at an appointed time his Majesty would approach London with his army to foment the massacre of the most zealous defenders of the public liberty. Although masked the business did not lose its appearance of being a concoction, all the same the royalists having their names published while surrounded by so many guards did not feel safe, and complained protesting their innocence and ignorance of such a design. But fearing that the sitting, which lasted from sunrise to sunset on that day, would not break up without their experiencing the utmost wrath of that body, everyone began to speak personally in his own defence. This was not in rain, as they received a pardon on condition of taking oath that they had no share in the business. Having thus reduced to submission those who might oppose a decision prejudicial to the king, they had gained the first step which carries them a long way to the last and most seditions which they are nearing step by step. Accordingly, besides voting a thanksgiving to God for the discovery of the conspiracy, they voted for the formation of a covenant in which persons of every sort will be obliged to take a solemn oath to devote their goods and lives to all that the republic thinks necessary for its service. Those who refuse, whatever their religion or sympathies, will be driven from the city and their goods forfeited, movable and immovable. Thus either by force or voluntarily they mean to make themselves masters of the goods and lives of all.
The counterfeiting of the seal and the charges against the queen have not been presented, so that they may be carried through more certainly by means of this advantage. In the opinion of most sensible men this has been the sole motive for the invention of this conspiracy. There is no longer any bridle for violence and the rebels will win glory and reward for the most detestable actions.
A leading member of the obscure family of Martin has undertaken to raise a regiment of cavalry. Having no money of his own, he has distributed very suitable permits to the soldiers to help themselves to this and to horses also wherever they find them. So various troops are going about robbing stables and houses as well. Not satisfied with this his greed has carried him so far that he has dared, with 300 of these soldiers to go and break the gates at Westminster where the crown, sceptre and the royal robe for the king's coronation are preserved. Some lords of the Upper House, hearing of this, hastened thither before the things were taken away, and tried to stop it, in which with some difficulty they succeeded. But when the affair was brought before the Commons by this same Martin, they did not blame his action by their votes, indeed they caused possession to be taken of everything and an inventory made directing new keys to be handed over to the Chamber itself and taking the old ones away from the ancient custodians. (fn. 5) In Westminster church these same troops broke the organs and choir stalls, as not being in keeping with Puritanism. They also smashed an epitaph because it gave the title of Majesty to the queen. In short it looks as if this is an irreparable scourge, since all reasonableness being lost everyone conspires for the destruction of the kingdom and its greatness.
News has come that viscount Obton has set out with his men to join the earl of Erfort, and then to unite their forces with the king's possibly with some intention to advance while Essex still hangs back, but further confirmation is awaited, as of the queen's departure. Meanwhile the earl of Wster has gained some advantage over Waller's army, which advanced to prevent such a junction.
The Sieur de Gressi, sent to his Majesty by the Most Christian, has not been able to obtain his passport amid these great agitations. The matter has been before parliament, and it was suggested in the Lower House that with their present suspicions of France, his credentials should be opened to see if he has authority to treat of other business than compliments, excusing the action by the necessity that parliament should be informed that he possesses the character of a public minister. However, the proposal was not seconded. But the minister increases instead of diminishing suspicion, as he says roundly that France will not suffer the king and queen here to perish, whatever the cost.
The offices of the king's resident Bosuel with the States have delayed a reply to the deputy of this parliament upon the letters sent, as reported. The Prince of Orange overtaken at Bures by gout and the yellow jaundice (gialura), has halted his army for some days. This and the great shortage of money makes the Ambassador Tullerie suspect that they have no inclination for great enterprises. He has been to urge his Highness to take advantage of the present opportunity.
The differences between the king of Denmark and the town of Hamburg have been adjusted. The latter is to pay the king 250,000 reichs thalers.
London, the 19th June, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 20.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
278. To the Secretary in England.
His last letters are of the 29th ult. showing the growing authority of the Lower House as against the Upper, all to the prejudice of the king.
The Secretary of England has been in the Collegio to present a letter from the Princess Palatine excusing the departure of her sons from our city without appearing in public. The doge in reply expressed his friendly feeling and regard for the Palatine House, and had a special office read to the Secretary, which will also serve as an additional proof of our regard for his Majesty as well.
Ayes, 142. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
279. That the Secretary of England be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
Gratification at the letter he read because it shows the friendship of the Palatine House for the republic, which is warmly reciprocated and has been shown on many occasions. Would have been glad to receive and honour the princes, but had no knowledge about them. Will reserve for another occasion the proofs to them and their House of the republic's cordial regard.
That a copy of the office be supplied.
Ayes, 142. Noes, 1. Neutral, 3.
June 22.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioui. Principi. Venetian Archives.
280. The decision of this Council of the 20th inst. having been read to the Secretary of England, he said :
I have not neglected to inform his Majesty in my last despatch of the cordial demonstrations that have been made to me. I will do the same at the first opportunity renewing the office in the manner in which it has been read to me and dictated by your Serenity, to whom I return most devoted thanks for your favours and for the friendlinesses which you profess to the Palatine House.
June 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
281. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Parliament informed the city of London of the conspiracy discovered in the presence of the people. The deputy adorned his account with numerous inventions, even casting doubt upon the king's sincerity in the past negotiations for peace, remarking that his request for their continuation was only intended to give employment to several people in this business, and to afford greater facilities for planning this horrible betrayal. That every subject should thank God for such a miraculous discovery. (fn. 6) A public thanksgiving was ordered, with universal public prayers, and this took place yesterday.
In order to turn the occasion to further advantage, and also to get some money out of it, this same deputy, under the pretext of delivering themselves from like attempts, pointed out the necessity of making a supreme effort to bring about eventual tranquillity with the removal of the disturbers of the peace, and to do this he asked the Council of the city for 40,000l. sterling. No reply has yet been given, as difficulties in the way of advancing money are constantly increasing. It seems that they are considering the sale of some houses confiscated from citizens suspected of favouring the royal party ; but purchasers have not yet appeared and payment will be tardy in any case.
Waller, the M.P. now in prison as the principal in the conspiracy, is threatened with the extreme penalty, as it behoves them, to sacrifice a victim to prove a fact in which few believe. To avoid the ordinary course of justice and the publicity of a trial the Lower House sent deputies to General Essex to issue a commission to try him by Court Martial. He has not done this, pointing out that it is necessary for the Council to meet, and the deputies have come back. Meanwhile, under the pretence that Waller, moved by remorse, had declared them to be accomplices, the earl of Portland, sometime ambassador to the princes of Italy, and viscount Conovel have been put in the Tower. It is said that others will soon suffer the same fate.
In accordance with a vote of the Lower House the oath for the Covenant or Association obligatory upon everyone has been printed. From the enclosed copy it will be seen how it directly excludes the king, enjoining the maintenance of the republic against him. Not many will be able to evade it in the present state of affairs.
They have also decided to convoke a synod to regulate religion. It is to be composed of ten Lords and twenty Commons, with a larger but prescribed number of ministers, who are all nominated. They will proceed in the way shown by the enclosed abstract. The object is to satisfy the majority of the people who are confused and unsettled amid the chaos of religions introduced into the country. It may be expected to introduce the most rigid Puritanism, as they wish to conform to the church of Scotland. But the wisest think that when this synod meets it will temporise, since it does not suit the present politicians, before the temporal government is settled, to offend the followers of other sects, who yet serve their cause, since the Catholic faith is the only one detested.
General Essex has moved at last with all his army, and going straight to the point, has advanced to within four miles of Oxford. The king, to get forage for his horses, has extended his forces as far as Abingdon, five miles away, thus approaching the armies of the marquis of Erfort and viscount Obton. These have united and are 10,000 foot and 3000 horse strong. With this force they have taken Taunton, the chief town in Somerset, where they found 2000 suits of armour and 5000l. sterling. They then went to Bridgewater, a small place on the sea, and so moved on Bristol. Parliament had put to death there some of the leading men, suspected of having intelligence with his Majesty. The people showed some indignation at this, and the opportunity was considered favourable for taking that important place, if they are not diverted by the necessity of reinforcing the royal army, which is weak in infantry, in case of a battle. But Essex seems by no means inclined for this especially as Colonel Ori, (fn. 7) a man of influence, with several officers has gone over from his army to the king, and others also are offended through the appointment of plebeians to the principal offices, who are not considered trustworthy.
There are reports that the queen has left York and is at Pontefract 15 miles away, but as no letters have arrived from there this week, this cannot be affirmed as yet.
The sieur di Cressi obtained his passport, but for greater security he sent it to the general for confirmation before starting, and also asked for a trumpet, which was granted. While waiting here he has visited, under the pretence of thanking them, some of the members of both Houses, and has told them frankly that if they desire an accommodation with the king, France will take it up with a special embassy, and with all the ceremony that they may ask, but if it does not ensue, she will be obliged for well known reasons to support the queen at all costs, and she will not allow the king to perish. Not liking this tone they have given him no answer on the subject, but they have afforded him evidence of how little they care for his threats. The night before his departure some soldiers of the parliament entered the house of the ordinary French agent and searched it thoroughly, breaking open a case of Cressi that was there, leaving guards over the agent himself. On the following morning, when he was about to mount his coach, two of his servants were arrested, one of them being Colonel Douglas, who had come with him to go on to Scotland to enlist recruits for France. Nevertheless his officers obtained the release of the agent, an apology for the incident by three deputies sent to his house, and his men back, but on the understanding that they should not go with him to the king. On the same day, owing to similar suspicions, soldiers went to the house of the resident of Portugal. But he offered a strong resistance, and would not allow them to enter, and on applying to parliament he also received the same apology.
In spite of the very vigorous protests of the Resident Bosuel, the States are inclining to give a reply to the parliament's deputy Stricland, who has many protectors in that government. The Prince of Orange feeling safe, has ordered the march, but makes little progress, both because of the advanced season, and from offence at the jealousy of the, States.
Your Serenity's letters of the 25th May inform me about the league. The resident of Florence has called and shown me a copy of the same letters sent him by the Grand Duke with orders to inform his Majesty and myself. He asked me to tell him what I should do. I thanked him for the confidence and told him I had express orders to perform the office. After discussing the matter we agreed, in view of the inconvenience to the king, the suspicions of parliament, and the difficulties of the journey to ourselves, to ask the secretary of state, by two identical letters, to perform the office with his Majesty.
London, the 26th June, 1643.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 282. Oath to be taken by the subjects of the whole realm for the Covenant. (fn. 8)
[Italian, from the English ; 2 pages.]
283. Abstract of the Order of the two Houses of Parliament upon the Liturgy of the Anglican Church, (fn. 9)
[Italian, from, the English ; 2 pages.]
June 27.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
284. To the Secretary in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 5th inst. showing the increasing antagonism of the Lower House to the king. Have received information that the Dutch army is taking the field. Will look to his diligence for news of those parts and also of Don Francesco. He is to send the names of the persons selected by the United Provinces for the congress of Munster. Enclose the usual sheet of advices. Learn from France that the government seems more inclined than heretofore to give help to the queen of England.
Ayes, 152. Noes, 1. Neutral, 7.


  • 1. At Stratton on the 26th May.
  • 2. On the 21—31 May.
  • 3. Edmund Waller and Nathaniel Tompkins.
  • 4. Edward and Philip. See No. 162 at page 180 above.
  • 5. On 3—13 June the Commons ordered a search to be made and an inventory to be taken by Sir John Holland, Sir H. Mildmay, Gurdon and Marten, Journals of the House of Common, Vol. III, page 114.
  • 6. John Pym. His speech, delivered in the Common Hall on the 8—18 June is printed in the Parliamentary History, Vol. XII, pages 281—95.
  • 7. John Hurry.
  • 8. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. VI, page 87.
  • 9. The resolution for convoking a synod, taken on the 12th June, O.S. The full text is printed in the Journals. Id. pages 92—94.