Venice: July 1647

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Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 28, 1647-1652. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1927.

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July 1647

1647. July 2.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
1. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The affairs of England are in the attached sheet. The condition of affairs there leaves a very serious suspicion that Fairfax and the army have taken possession of the royal person for no other purpose than to bargain for their own profit.
Paris, the 2nd July, 1647.
Enclosure. 2. Advices from London, of the 20th June, 1647.
More detailed news has come from the army about his Majesty's conveyance from Humby. When the troops learned the intentions of parliament about disbanding, they were far from satisfied and demanded full payment of what was due to them, an act of oblivion and liberty of conscience for the whole country. 1,200 horse under certain officers (whether Fairfax consented is uncertain) were despatched from the army to Humby, and in spite of the resistance of the parliamentary commissioners they insisted on speaking with the king. After various questions and answers about the safety of his royal person, they took him with them. It was expected that they would take him with them and march on London, but by order of Fairfax himself, the king was escorted to Newmarket, where this cavalry is guarding him. Fairfax protests to parliament that he did not consent, indeed that he took care that certain incidents should not happen which might cause offence to the Houses. As a matter of fact the army has not left Cambridge, and they are not all inspired by the same motives, some preferring the public others private advantage.
The Houses, having recovered from their first alarm, have sent commissioners to the army and they are negotiating about satisfying them, every means being tried to please the leaders, or at least to divide them and win over a part. In London the terror has been extreme. Some members of parliament fled, others had their most valuable property taken away, and they were momentarily awaiting the fury of the soldierly and a sack. His Majesty's children who were in a country house (fn. 1) not far away, were fetched to London at once for greater safety, and the most efficacious orders were issued for the defence of the city.
July 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
3. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 9th July, 1647.
Enclosure. 4. Advices from London, the 27th June, 1647.
The Earl of Laderdagne has delivered a sharp speech in parliament, in which he complained of the lack of care shown in the custody of the king and asked that the Houses shall issue orders that, after the army is satisfied, his Majesty shall be restored to his former state, at the disposition of both parliaments.
The commissioners who went to the army and to Gen. Fairfax have made various proposals to satisfy the troops, but they have not yet been able to arrange terms. The officers and men all seem of one mind, and there is little hope of dividing them. Although in different quarters they have collected into one corps and giving themselves a rendezvous at Cambridge they set out to march on London, and are now not more than 20 miles away. The king is still at Newmarket, guarded by 1,000 horse, but they talk of bringing him to the army. What parliament fears most is the intention of Gen. Fairfax, as although he shows submission to the Houses and writes with protests of obedience and respect, his action belies it. The first demand sent to him by parliament is that the king be put back as before in the custody of Colonel Rossiter, and brought to Richmond, only 7 miles from London. The Houses were beginning to enlist troops, but the Council of the city pointed out that this tended to civil war and that it would be better to content the army and above all to pay what is due to it, partly in large amounts in cash and partly by securities to pay the remainder. This view was adopted and they sent to make the offer. Meanwhile the deputies of the army itself have appeared in London, and have demanded in the first place the punishment of 16 of the Lower House by whom they consider themselves offended, accusing them of various offences, with some of the Upper House also, and they threaten to name others.
July 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
5. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In addition to what the enclosed sheet contains news has reached the Court by express of the 7th, that parliament in dread of the approach of the army has expelled ten or twelve of both houses, of the most seditious and obstinate and precisely those whose punishment the army demanded. So everything was disposed for the king's advantage, and for his re-establishment on honourable terms and with tranquillity. So soon as this happens, besides appropriate offices with the queen of England and her son I will ask permission to raise levies for the coming autumn and winter, as one can have more confidence in this than in the late popular and disorderly government, and if it is granted your Excellencies will be free to use it in such way and at such time as you may decide in your wisdom.
Paris, the 16th July, 1647.
Enclosure. 6. Advices from London, the 4th July, 1647.
Parliament and the city of London have sent deputies to the army and to Gen. Fairfax to learn his intentions and direct him to keep 40 miles from the city, to avoid occasioning want or tumult. Fairfax and the chief officers answered this in writing, first justifying the action of the army itself and its desire for peace and the public welfare, and adding 8 demands (fn. 2) : (1) that the army be satisfied and its honour vindicated against the statements made about it ; (2) that parliament may not be continued beyond a certain limited time and that 4 members of the Upper and 8 of the Lower be removed from it ; (3) that in future parliament shall be convoked by the king and its members freely elected as usual by the boroughs and counties ; (4) that the people shall enjoy their privileges and freedom as in the past ; (5) that those in prison for having served the king be examined and if they are found guilty, punished ; if not, that they be set at liberty and compensated ; (6) that an account be rendered of the money raised in the kingdom since the king left London up to the present time ; (7) that consciences shall be free and enjoy the privileges of the kingdom, because they do nothing against the state ; (8) that the king be set up again and his prerogatives preserved, and that his children and servants be likewise re-established, with a general amnesty.
These proposals have caused parliament extreme perplexity and confusion particularly from another declaration made by the army for the re-instatement of the royal person. News has come that the king has left Newmarket and is said to be marching to Richmond or to Hampton Court, where parliament asked him to go, but it is thought that he will not separate from the army, the vanguard of which is expected at Hepar, (fn. 3) not more than a league from London, where notes have been scattered on behalf of Gen. Fairfax, that if the mayor and council of London intend to resist they will have cause to repent. He has also notified parliament that if the persons named are not expelled and punished, he will come straight to the city. The disturbance is thus considerable and many are flying, the Earl of Pembroke, who was one of the leading men, taking refuge with his family in Holland. The Houses are beginning to cajole the king and have already sent him a present of three coaches with sumptuous liveries for his royal person. The leading men who followed the royal party and who made their peace with the Houses under the pressure of necessity have gone to meet the king and have been restored about his Majesty. The very important province of Wales has also declared for the king, and the other counties are wavering, all being equally tired of the violent and disorderly government which the Houses made sensible to every subject.
July 16.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
7. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Captain Pasha is trying to arm galleys and galeasses. He also seems to have a strong inclination for the ships which are at Smyrna. According to the news I have received recently these have moved away from the docks and are lying at anchor so that they may be able to escape easily if any violence is attempted against them, owing to the warnings which have been sent to the captains : yet I cannot change my opinion that the most strenuous efforts should be made to convey prompt succour to Canea.
The Vigne di Pera, the 23rd July, 1647.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
July 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
8. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 23rd July, 1647.
Enclosure. 9. Advices from London, the 11th July, 1647.
At the demand of the army for the punishment of some of their members accused of having committed several crimes and outrages in their government, parliament has decided that eleven of them shall be suspended and expelled. This satisfaction has completely won the heart of the soldiers, and Fairfax, holding a council of war, has decided to satisfy the Houses and go 30 miles away from London. Fairfax himself sent the news by letter to parliament, where it caused immense relief because it removes the cloud that seemed imminent over London, and gives time for negotiation and for remedies.
When the army was near the city many soldiers deserted and entered the city with a disposition to favour parliament, which also tried to conciliate many officers who were already demobilised and living there, so that they reckoned to have 10,000 soldiers in case of need to resist force by force. Meanwhile they are raising the largest sum of money possible, not only to render themselves strong but to enable them to satisfy the army, as they consider this the best means for disintegrating it and dissipating the cloud.
The army itself proposed to the king three places to which he might go and he has chosen Windsor. The hopes of the royalists are accordingly waning and it looks as if what has always been feared will prove true, namely, that Fairfax and the army will bargain for their own interests at the expense of the king.
July 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives.
10. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Resident of England has made a great commotion about the release of the king, demanding assistance in money and declaring that all the Cardinals ought to contribute and raise a tax among themselves. Nothing more has been heard about the successes of which he made so much, and in Ireland matters are going somewhat unfavourably, there being divisions among the Catholics themselves. It appears that although the letters have been received at Lyon for the 50,000 crowns to be remitted to that kingdom, orders have arrived from Paris that the money is not to leave France, but that they shall send goods, and so the payments are delayed.
Rome, the 27th July, 1647.


  • 1. Syon House. See the preceding volume of this Calendar, page 281.
  • 2. The Declaration of the Army of the 15/25 June.
  • 3. Presumably Hyde Park.