Venice: September 1647

Pages 12-17

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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September 1647

Sept. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
23. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 3rd September, 1647.
Enclosure. 24. Advices from London, the 22nd August, 1647.
Fairfax has put a garrison of 3,000 men in the Tower. The guards of parliament, who consisted of the militia of London, have been removed and replaced by two companies of foot and one of horse from the army, who are entering daily to garrison Westminster. In the Houses there is a great dispute between the Presbyterians and Independents as to whether the enactments during the absence of the Speakers should be annulled. This indicates sufficiently that the parties are still incensed against each other and that the present calm is artificial and cannot last long. There is a rumour that Fairfax means to disarm the citizens of London, a very difficult thing to do, and which would prove harsh to the populace. The mayor and sheriffs have lately invited Fairfax to a sumptuous banquet. He did not accept, possibly because he did not feel entirely safe. They had prepared a rich present of a basin with its ewer of solid gold both full of gold Jacobus. Possibly they will decide to send it to his house. In parliament Fairfax had the place assigned to foreign ministers and to the king's children.
In Ireland parliament's affairs are in a deplorable state, and they cannot help them or send relief.
Fairfax has not yet gone to find the king who is uncertain, as usual, as to the course he shall pursue in the present upheaval. In Scotland they apprehend a new war between that nation and the English because all that has happened in London is against their covenant, and the Presbyterians being predominant in that country, they cannot suffer the subjection of their party in the other. Accordingly they have summoned the estates to Edinburgh, who are gathering from all sides. To prevent any moves from that direction the English have sent some companies of horse to Carlisle.
Sept. 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
25. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I have heard from Smyrna of the receipt of my despatch which was sent with the letters of the French ambassador. They arrived in time and the captains, on learning of the treatment of their countrymen here, received the final impulse to send them all away, and they subsequently sailed off to the unspeakable resentment of the Turks, who have often seen their efforts fail, though this is the worst failure of all. There were 22 ships in all, most of which arrived in the course of last month, three very large English ones, one the Margherita, which had come from Venice, and almost all of them carried at least 30 guns.
The merchants who were sent from here on this affair of the ships, arrived two days after they had sailed, and they were forthwith embarked with the same capigi who had brought them on three very well armed frigates to pursue the fugitives and bring them back. But after eight days they returned without having been able to catch them. They have not yet arrived here and although there is some idea that there may be trouble, it seems to me that things have quieted down very satisfactorily since no act of violence has been committed against the consuls. There were only some threatening words uttered and after the news arrived of the sailing of the ships the dragoman of the English was imprisoned, but he has since been set at liberty with securities, and in the end I believe that it will all tend to the extraction of money. But it is really quite impossible to express how greatly the Turks have been astonished and dismayed.
The English Agent, moved by the danger, sent to inform me of the departure of these ships and express his satisfaction. He represented to me that since he believed that in any encounter that might ensue the six ships would be taken by ours, he begged me to have a pitiful consideration for them and to let the Captain General know the violence that had been used in taking them by force, and he hoped in any case that your Serenity would not be disposed to consent to their loss, and that possibly some prince would interpose for their release. I replied that I was always anxious to perform every good office, but it would be very difficult to persuade the Signory that what had been so clearly foreseen and what I had indeed predicted, had happened unexpectedly and by violence. The Agent answered very modestly, but he told me quite clearly that your Serenity's fleet could prevent ships from coming and those which sailed from Venice could be obliged to give sureties that they would not enter within the Castelli. All the same great violence has been used and the injury done must have been correspondingly great, so that it seems impossible for these nations not to show resentment, and if this happens, there will no longer be any restraint here.
A French ship which arrived from Smyrna on the 13th ult. reports that 6 large ships, taken on hire, have arrived at Scios, where there are four others, two English and two Flemings, arrived from Alexandria with troops. They expect to have 26 ships in all.
The Captain Pasha reports an action on the 23rd ult. in which he drove the enemy into Tine, after which he withdrew to Scios. He declares that the successful result of the engagement must be ascribed solely to the six ships which were sent from here. This only serves to add fuel to their wrath at not having been able to get those at Smyrna.
It is stated that an ambassador from England has arrived at Smyrna (fn. 1) The merchants maintain that he comes with all the prerogatives. The old ambassador announces that he has not been sent by the king and tries every possible means to deprive the new comer of credit. I asked the French ambassador how he proposed to behave on the coming of this new minister. He seemed doubtful, but I will watch his procedure and act for the best.
The Vigne di Pera, the 4th September, 1647.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Sept. 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
26. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 10th September, 1647.
Enclosure. 27. Advices from London, the 29th August, 1647.
News has come from Ireland that General Preston, who was besieging Prin, has been defeated with great slaughter. Colonel Joas, governor of Dublin for parliament, collecting troops from that place and others in the neighbourhood, fell upon Preston so suddenly, that, although the latter was greatly superior in force, he was beaten in his own trenches. 5,600 Catholics are said to have been left on the field. They lost their guns, of which they are very short, and their baggage. Many officers have been brought prisoner to Dublin and Preston got away with difficulty. (fn. 2) The news has much gladdened parliament.
The report persists that Fairfax intends to disarm the citizens, and he has taken a great quantity of arms and munitions out of the Tower to send to the army at Quiston. (fn. 3) The king is at his house of Oatlands, only 7 miles from London. Many of the nobility have gone there to offer his Majesty their devoted service. It is considered certain that the king has made an agreement with Fairfax and that the treaty will be accepted by parliament. It consists of 40 articles which have not yet been published but are imagined to be substantially the same as those offered by the king last May, by which he will be restored to the throne, his house will be set up again in London and pardon granted to all on both sides. The bishops retained with a yearly pension instead of revenues, of which parliament has already disposed in great part. Parliament itself will be continued for two months longer and then dissolved, the king being bound to call one every two years. The Catholics will be tolerated with the pecuniary penalties practised in the time of the late king.
The Scots make serious complaint to parliament over the manner in which they have proceeded, contrary to their treaties, and ill feeling is constantly growing between the two nations.
Sept. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
28. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 17th September, 1647.
Enclosure. 29. Advices from London, the 3rd September, 1647.
Gen. Fairfax has been to the king and presented the proposals, which are substantially those reported last week, but although it will be announced that the king will accept them, it is now known that he rejected them as containing many things prejudicial to the royal honour. Fairfax has since published a long manifesto. The king has gone from Oatlands to Hampton Court. He chose one morning to be at Gion (fn. 4) to dine with his children, and there the Spanish ambassador went to see him and had audience. The king has some bishops with him and these oppose liberty of conscience, which the Independents demand, even for the Catholics. The Catholics themselves have proposed to the army by their deputies a project whereby their religion shall be tolerated and the penal laws and punishments abolished.
The report that Fairfax means to disarm the citizens of London persists. He meanwhile is making a searching enquiry for those who instigated the apprentices to the excesses against parliament reported. The two Houses have enacted that everything done after the flight of the two Speakers is null and those who cooperated in the disturbances in question shall be excluded from parliament and punished.
They have ordered thanks to God for the victory in Ireland, and rewards and pensions have been voted for the commander and subordinate officers.
Sept. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
30. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
With regard to the fight reported by the Captain Pasha in which he said the Christian ships had been their salvation, it appears that the Turkish losses were heavy, indeed it was reported by Greeks that the Captain Pasha alone had escaped with 50 galleys and that the English ships had not chosen to fight, indeed they advanced so far as to mingle with ours and were put to flight.
The French ambassador tells me he has heard from Sieur Grenouille (fn. 5) that the king of England is set up again and has already entered London. From this the English ambassador here is more convinced than ever that the one who is coming does not depend upon his Majesty. He has even written a letter to Smyrna to get a declaration thereupon, but they have not answered him. Up to the present nothing has been said to me about him.
The Vigne di Pera, the 24th September, 1647.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Sept. 24.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
31. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I enclose the advices of London. Many leading men who had taken refuge at this Court are directing their steps to that city in the hope of finding security and repose. The queen, on the other hand, more uncertain than ever of the fortune of herself and her son, is torn by the utmost anxiety and affliction.
Paris, the 24th September, 1647.
Enclosure. 32. Advices from London, the 12th September, 1647.
The fortress of Dover and the county of Kent refuse to obey the army, and other governors of fortresses claim to be neutral, and to look after themselves. Some articles have been published said to have been agreed between the king and the army, and they cause a great stir among the populace of London. In substance they are as follows :
(1) Parliament shall be convoked at Oxford and dissolved after passing a few acts.
(2) Judges shall reside in each county to decide suits, without the parties being obliged to come to Westminster.
(3) Only four shall be excluded from the general pardon, viz. Lords Newcastle, Worcester, Bristol and Digby, who shall be banished for life, their goods sequestrated for three years and then restored to their families.
(4) The King shall stay at Hampton Court until peace is completely established.
(5) Liberty of conscience shall be granted to all who ask it.
(6) There shall be an act of oblivion for everything done during the war.
(7) No parliament for the future shall last more than 80 days.
Yesterday parliament passed a resolution that the conditions of peace proposed at Newcastle shall be presented to his Majesty again. It is considered certain that the king will grant the appointments and the militia for ten years, on condition that those who followed him are set at liberty and that his servants and the domestics who have attended him so long are left to him. The one thing certain is that nothing is certain, as confusion has reached such a pitch that the most essential decrees do not ordinarily last more than a day.


  • 1. Sir Thomas Bendish ; by an entry in the Court Book of the Levant Co. he was to have sailed from England in the London on the 3rd February, O.S. S.P. For. Archives, Vol. 150.
  • 2. The battle of Dungan Hill near Trim on the 8/18 August.
  • 3. Apparently Kingston is meant.
  • 4. The king moved from Oatlands to Hampton Court on the 24th August, O.S. He visited Syon house on the preceding day. Rushworth : Hist. Colls., Vol. IV, pt. ii., page 789.
  • 5. Presumably Grignon is meant.