Venice: February 1650

Pages 135-141

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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February 1650

Feb. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
385. To the Ambassador Contarini.
The Ambassador Morosini in France reports that privateers are arming in Toulon with the flag of the king of England. You are aware of the mischief that has been done by the privateers of Portolongone and have made the necessary representations on the subject. With this fresh incentive you will have to revert to the subject so that clear and resolute instructions may be issued to the effect that the ships and goods of our subjects may be respected. This is due to the relations which exist between the republic and that crown and to what we have the right to expect from the declarations which have been so often repeated with the utmost emphasis.
Ayes, 99. Noes, 2. Neutral, 32.
Feb. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
386. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses sheet of events of London.
Paris, the 9th February, 1649. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 387. Advices from Chester, the 26th January, 1650.
The Marquis of Ormond has set out for Limerick after having burned some villages to prevent the parliamentarians, whose army is still in winter quarters, from having the benefit of them. Lord Brughil has taken Dungarvan, where besides 6 pieces of artillery he found a quantity for other munitions of war. The Irish Catholics, on their side, have captured Aniscorti castle with its governor, Capt. Todde.
The treaty between the Scots and the king of England makes steady progress, but his Majesty will not conclude anything without the consent of the queen, his mother, to whom he has sent with all speed the proposals made to him.
Feb. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
388. To the Ambassador Contarini.
Commendation of his efforts to obtain a copy of the orders issued by the Levant Company about the agreement. Meanwhile the Senate is sending to the republic's representatives a copy of the letter of the Company's secretary to Salvetti and of Contarini's letter of the 23rd October.
Ayes, 134. Noes, 0. Neutral, 4.
Feb. 14.
Collegio Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
389. The Resident of the King of Great Britain came into the Collegio and presented a letter, which was read. He then said :
The king, my master, has sent me to express his affectionate regard and his desire to render his friendship perpetual with the rest that is contained in this paper. He handed this in and it was read.
After the reading the doge said that they had listened with sentiments befitting their regard for his Majesty. They appreciated the confidence and wished his Majesty all consolation, and the Resident would always be welcome as his Majesty's minister. The Resident thanked the doge and after making the usual reverence, departed.
Charles D. G. King of Great Britain, etc. to Francesco Molino, Doge of Venice and to the Most Serene Republic.
Refers to his immense grief caused by the murder of his sainted father of blessed memory, of which he has thought fit to send particulars and has no doubt of their sympathy. The villainy has already shown its roots and these will spread unless a remedy is promptly supplied. Asks credence for Thomas Chalegreo, sent as his Resident for the maintenance of the friendship that has endured so long.
Dated at the chateau of St. Germains, the 26th August, 1649, and the first of his reign.
I am ordered by the King of Great Britain, my master, to hand in these letters, in which he expresses his desire to perpetuate the most ancient friendship between his progenitors and this republic. I should not have tarried so long if my journey had not been delayed by some special charges from his Majesty to communicate to the Courts of Savoy and Florence, which I have discharged as soon as possible in order to come the more quickly to my principal business.
King Charles II, my master, has sent me on purpose to give you an account of the horrid treason and parricide committed against his father by the barbarous violence of an unbridled army and rebel populace, who have trampled under foot the crown, the mitre, religion and all the laws. All these villanies have been committed under the stimulus of envy and avarice, as they know that under a well regulated monarchy they are unworthy and incapable of the rank and station to which their blind ambition aspired. Knowing that under a pacific government they had no hope of advancement their desperation ultimately changed into bestial rage and they had recourse to civil war to realise their aims. First then they took the Scots their enemies into their pay. But this was done secretly and by some of the principals only, paying the price of a shameful war. And here began the decadence of our English nation which with this first public victim was sacrificed to the rebellion and the popular name, though it was repugnant to the better and more prudent part of the English nation. Finally by popular and tumultuous assemblies assisted by armed forces the rebels struck the last blows. It was as if Judas had returned to life. All these things being arranged the Scots were again called in, although the king had not a few faithful subjects there, and now the English are trying to associate with those whom they formerly regarded in secret as enemies. The terms were dishonourable because the Scots refused to help the English rebels unless they submitted to their yoke. This glorious servitude has been bought by the English, who have made themselves slaves to the Scots at the price of 1,200,000 crowns down. This golden gate being opened, the Scots immediately entered England and penetrated into the most secret places of the church and the republic, with their Presbytery, a new monster, which was never known by Catholic antiquity, which consists of barely 100 deacons and about as many priests, all the rest being pure laymen. This monster, although quite incompatible with the meridian of England, with the monarchy, or any just aristocracy, has been set up in place of the episcopal hierarchy, which has been preserved in England for so many centuries without interruption. They have thus confirmed the saying of the late King James, "No bishop, no king." Thus they soon proceed from attacking the bishops to strike at the king. At once the life of the innocent and heroic prince is exposed to the highest bidder, and like a lamb he is sold for 1,200,000 crowns. The English butcher first bought him in the North, but soon after he was sold again in London, which has always been the hydra of the whole rebellion, this excellent king being reduced to tiny pieces, for as these villainous rebels themselves relate, his Majesty's servants satisfied them by buying at a very high price some drops of his precious blood and some portions of his hair and beard. They did this not only to show their loyalty but to rescue these sacred relies from the hands of the vulgar, already intoxicated by that generous sacred blood. Then, I shudder to relate, that royal trunk, glorious through martyrdom, was exposed on several occasions in the royal palace at a fixed price of a lira of your money. It remains doubtful if the fury of the rebels will stop here, as they refused the ceremonies of a legitimate burial to the body, though a bishop was ready to perform the office, as is customary. But God will not leave unavenged the blood of this innocent prince, thrice, in a manner, bought and sold. The cruelties of these traitors to this prince when he was alive surpass all belief. These villains have not yet been able to supply a horrified world with any plausible reason why they involved their king in such miseries or ruined their country with a war in which there were 40 pitched battles and at least 300,000 persons slain in the three kingdoms. What wonder then if my master, the king of Great Britain, is now preparing to avenge his father and to deliver his people from a heavy servitude. Everything constrains him to take such a course. But the weapon must be supplied by foreign princes. If they refuse to render him prompt assistance, it is to be feared that this example, certainly unexampled, will prove fatal to all idle spectators of this public violence. What people will fear to rebel when they see how easy it is to reduce the best of kings and see the sudden fall of an empire so firmly founded all without the punishment of the malefactors in the face of all the Princes of Christendom? France and Spain, realising the effect of this failure are already beginning to lend an ear. They see their interests are affected by domestic dangers and know from experience how contagious the mischief is. The danger to the Christian religion is shown by the sects which have sprung up in the new empire, to the number of fifty all of which may be professed to-day in England with the utmost liberty. So also by the burning of the sacred liturgy by the hangman and at the same time the publication of the Alcoran, translated from the Turkish, so that the people may be imbued with Turkish manners, which have much in common with the action of the rebels. The church of St. Paul, comparable with St. Peters at Rome, remains desolate and is said to have been sold to the Jews as a synagogue. The choir will be profaned by the voices of the infidel as soon as they receive possession from the troops of soldiers, horse and foot, who have been lodged there. All this is being done in the once celebrated city of London under the specious titles of purity of the gospel and liberty of the people. This party of the Independents has destroyed even the appearance of religion and all law.
Such is the catastrophe which has overtaken England. The people there have purchased a most vile servitude at the price of 160 million crowns extorted in various taxes and tributes, and of the life of a prince who was ruined by his own innocence and virtues. If he had turned the arts of the rebels against themselves or had even permitted the experiment to be made, he might have been to-day powerful and secure. But he preferred to maintain his integrity and to die a martyr rather than to sacrifice in the smallest degree to a sacrilege, which is always fatal. With a spirit truly royal he steadfastly disdained to submit to the populace in any way by deed or act. He lived an object of glory and envy and died so, but with so much virtue that he lost only his life, through the atrocious villainy of his own countrymen. It will be a disgrace to all the peoples of his age if these regicides remain unpunished. If this becomes a precedent it will be the ruin of all public magistrates. The soldier will see that the general can have no power over his army except by the consent of his men, and soldiers are already attacking their generals and showing them that they cannot command, much less punish, unless their men are willing to obey. We have learned this mad doctrine by hard experience in the presence of all the princes and republics who think themselves safe. It has cost an inestimable price. These detestable rebels are the dregs of the English people. Not satisfied with cutting off that anointed head, inviolable by all laws, they have deprived the royal house of the succession, abolishing the name of king, and banishing the most distressed queen, already in exile and in need of everything, condemning as traitors both her sons and all loyal subjects. Many are in prison ready to be sacrificed to this Cerberus. Whenever was a monarch called upon by the vilest of his subjects to defend himself before a tribunal of his own vassals? Or accused of high treason against his subjects, although this charge was unanimously rejected by the leading men of the realm, rebels as they were? Or afterwards condemned and executed before his own palace in the metropolis of his kingdom, as if in contempt of all monarchs and princes and a reproach to all Christendom? Regard for personal convenience or fear of these parricides are motives unworthy of princes. But the Divine vengeance will never fail this most just cause. If soldiers are lacking to fight the parricides there will be a noble army of martyrs and although one prince has fallen to the fury of the rebels, there are many others of the same royal race, all great and powerful. Who can believe that Providence will allow this abominable treason to extirpate all the royal branches and uproot the foundations of a monarchy that has endured nearly 2,000 years and remained firm in spite of the numerous and considerable changes throughout the world?
I have no doubt whatever that this most serene republic, which has always despised treason, will refuse to receive into its most grave and just confederation those parricides, or commend that sink of base conspirators and detestable traitors, who are already so near the precipice that their first fall will end for ever their ignominious rule. Their favour should be regarded like the plague and all other contagious evils. If all Christian princes do not make opportune provision for this there is no doubt that the poisonous breath of their rebellion will corrupt all peoples, far and near, wherever malcontents are found. But with God's help and the magnanimous assistance of Christian princes we hope that serene skies will return to England and that you will see our triumphal fires lighted with those very sticks with which we are now beaten, and that the hateful carcases of these parricides will have become food for the flames, as they deserve. In that case we and all good souls shall rejoice together and celebrate the ever memorable deliverance of our country, indeed of all Christendom. Against this plague they are unanimous.
I come in the name of my king to express his assurance of the continuation of your friendship. He feels sure also that he will experience the generosity that the republic has always shown to other princes who have applied to it in their difficulties, and without which it will be difficult for him to perfect that healthful royal medicament which he is preparing at present in the courts of all the confederate Christian princes, in order with their assistance, and above all with that of God, to secure his person against that contagious poison of treason. Let no dignity, however powerful, proud and puffed up venture to despise this misery which has obliged me to give this sorry account, for my master is an example of the instability of fortune, greater than can be expressed. A few years ago the monarch of Great Britain could lay down the law to all the world, being a prince entirely without enemies and united by marriage and by blood to almost all the Christian princes of Europe. What the king of England is now has been abundantly shown by the above narration. As my king has a mind superior to his fortune and is prepared to bear any further trials it may please God to inflict upon him, it is fitting that he should not so much ask as ratify and confirm the perpetuity of that most ancient Christian confederation and friendship which has always existed between his predecessors and this republic. I can also promise that in the future my master will show by acts of true friendship that this republic has wisely sown its benefits, in the confident hope that the harvest will prove equal to the sowing, being sown in the heroic bosom of an heroic and ever grateful prince.
Long live the king, and the most serene prince and the most serene republic.
Feb. 17.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
390. To the King of Great Britain.
Your Majesty's resident, Thomas Chiligre, in delivering his letters of credence, has assured us of your regard for our republic, of which we are convinced. He subsequently added a very full account of the distressing incidents and grievous losses which naturally keep you in a state of trouble and affliction. We thank your Majesty and beg to assure you of our reciprocal affection and regard, such as our republic has ever professed for your predecessors and especially for the late king, your father, of glorious memory, whose misfortunes have always roused in us sentiments becoming a catastrophe of such consequence. May God grant your Majesty consolation and all possible prosperity.
Ayes, 84. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
391. That the Resident of England be summoned to the Collegio and that the following be read to him :
We have heard the piteous statements made through you with sentiments becoming our regard for the kings of Great Britain, and his Majesty in particular. We reciprocate his courteous sentiments with cordial affection and extreme compassion for his misfortunes, which we have felt from the first. May God grant him consolation as he deserves and reward him by the utmost prosperity. We desire you to represent this on behalf of the republic to his Majesty, to whom we shall always endeavour to give proofs of our excellent good will.
Ayes, 84. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
Feb. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
392. To the Ambassador Contarini.
The secretary sent by the king of England as his resident has arrived here. He has given us an account of the death of the late King Charles and of all the events which accompanied it, both before and after, pointing out the propriety of Christian princes assisting the present king in the recovery of his dominions. The Senate made a courteous reply in general terms without committing itself. This is to serve the ambassador for information.
Ayes, 103. Noes, 0. Neutral, 1.
Feb. 24.
Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni, Principi. Venetian Archives.
393. The decision of this Council of the 17th inst. having been read to the Resident of England, he said :
I humbly thank your Serenity for what you have been pleased to impart to me. I will make a faithful report to his Majesty. He then made the usual reverence and went out, proceeding to the other room to take a copy of this deliberation.
Feb. 27.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Munster. Venetian Archives.
394. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador extraordinary, to Pietro Basadonna his colleague in Spain.
The Court has returned from Normandy and the Cardinal paid me a visit. He asked me if I had heard from Flanders. I said that the negotiations had been referred to the two favourites. There was no move from Spain for a conference in the Pyrenees. They expressed great astonishment at this asserting that the French ambassadors had written about it so positively to the Regent here and she had sent begging their Majesties to agree to it, in such sort that they had complied. With regard to the congress in the Pyrenees, if they desire it on that side, nothing remains to be done but to settle the place and the time and to nominate the persons. However, as this is a proposal which originated with the English, your Excellency may, if you think fit, support it rather than pose as the author, to show that you do not wish to take the wind out of their sails (per non mostrar di voler loro levare l'acqua).
Viletta near Paris, the 27th February, 1650.