Venice: January 1648

Pages 36-40

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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January 1648

1648. Jan. 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
71. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 7th January, 1647. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 72. Advices from London, the 26th December, 1647.
General Fairfax, in the name of the whole army, has published a declaration in which he defends its action, refusing to obey the order of parliament for disbanding the superfluous soldiers unless they are paid what is due to them. He asks for money for their present pay and for the assignments of past months, and protests that if they are not satisfied the army will return to London and quarter itself in the houses of those who object to paying.
The king has written a very sharp letter to the Houses accusing them of being averse from peace since they refuse the conditions he offers and do not allow personal negotiation, which he has suggested as the sole means of attaining peace. The Upper House has appointed Lords Denbigh and Montagu to take to his Majesty the four articles reported. The Lower House has decided to send its own deputies with them, but has not yet appointed them. The commissioners of Scotland asked that these articles might be communicated to them before being sent, but this was refused, and they were told that Scotland could propose the conditions which she thought appropriate for herself.
There has been some suspicion in London of a serious conspiracy, that the royalists meant to stir up a number of people at night and cut in pieces the leading men of parliament. Some arrests have been made, but they have not yet discovered anything definite. They have accordingly issued an edict that those who have borne arms against parliament must depart for three months and remove from the city and from the country at a radius of 20 miles round it.
Jan. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
73. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In the instructions of the 2nd November your Serenity charges me to try and arrange for English levies. After the exchange of several letters with those parts, a Colonel Walter Warsopp has come to me from London, with whom the Secretary Suriano treated when he was over there two years ago, when parliament refused leave. He now asserts that he has it. As regards terms he asks 4l. sterling a head to take the men to the place of embarcation. The other terms differ little from those arranged with others, and I could probably get him to consent to some reduction. But four points have prevented me from proceeding without authority. First, the permit he showed me to take out 2,000 men is from Gen. Fairfax and some private magistrates, not from the Houses, without which there is no security, nor is there with it with their present sudden changes. In this connection I have been told that when some one asked parliament for leave to make a levy for your Excellencies, for services he had rendered, it was refused, those interested in the Levant trade opposing as usual. I hear that parliament has sent a minister that way, (fn. 1) possibly considering the ambassador at the Porte a royalist, but I am not sure of this.
The second point is that the permit is only for supernumaries, who are to be disbanded, but Fairfax has declared that these will not be dismissed unless they are paid.
The third is that he will only undertake the mere levy, so that ships must be furnished at the cost of your Serenity, and if by any chance the men could not be collected, a very heavy expense would be incurred without remedy.
The fourth is that he gives no cautions except at London, where your Serenity has no minister, and there being scant justice and no correspondence I do not see what security there is. I therefore refer the matter to your Serenity, and Warsopp has returned to London to wait for his answer. To save him a fruitless journey I urged him to wait for M. della Valetta here to see if he could arrange with him, but he did not seem inclined for a subordinate service.
The news of that kingdom is in the enclosed sheet.
Paris, the 14th January, 1647. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 74. Advices from London, the 2nd January, 1648.
The Scottish commissioners have published a long manifesto against the English parliament in which they declare that the peace terms to be proposed to the king do not meet with their approval, because they undermine the royal authority, which the two kingdoms swore to maintain intact and inviolable in their covenant. They therefore demand somewhat peremptorily that the king shall be allowed to come to London to treat in person and that the army be disbanded, for as the state no longer has any enemy, it is only a burden. This first indication of a rift between the two nations causes considerable anxiety to the London parliament, and so they have decided to consider this manifesto seriously. They have not on this account neglected to send the four articles reported to the king. They were taken by two members of the Upper and four of the Lower House with orders to wait ten days for his Majesty's answer, leaving at the end of that time whether they had the answer or no. The Scottish commissioners have taken the same road to urge the king not to sign these articles and to offer the services of themselves and their country.
The Houses are still making a thorough enquiry into the conspiracy which they suspect, but of which no trace has been found. This makes it probable that it was a mere pretext for doubling the guards and for expelling several suspected persons from London.
For the billeting of troops who live at discretion in the country parliament has issued an edict which while justifying the retention of an army, prescribes various regulations to prevent the people from being taxed to excess.
Jan. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
75. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I have performed the offices about the ships with the French ambassador as instructed. I have been unable to do so with the English, owing to the interruption of communications, for the reasons reported.
The five English ships which brought the ambassador have arrived and are staying here, and three days ago another arrived from Leghorn. They have discharged cargoes of notable value both in quantity and quality. Great disturbances took place owing to the usual violence of taking the goods by force. Accordingly the ambassador decided to get the ships away from the quays and anchor them in the middle of the channel, with a protest that if anyone should go on board by force, they would fire their guns. In the mean time he has been negotiating for the renewal of his capitulations with some additions for the relief of the merchants in the matter of the duties and other things. It is said that he has obtained his intent at an outlay of 40,000 reals, but things have now arrived at such a pass that a promise of the morning is broken by the evening and they care for nothing but vain glory and plunder. The English merchants talk of hiring out these ships, on the supposition that this will not be forbidden, and perhaps some will be for Venice.
It is said that two other ships will soon be arriving at Smyrna. According to the information I have there were 17 ships in that port on the 31st ult., and they write me that the merchants there as well as those of Leghorn maintain that there is no danger of the Turks making use of them.
The Vigne of Pera, the 21st January, 1647. [M.V.]
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Jan. 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
76. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I will carry out the commands in the ducali of the 21st December about the English levy, which I received this week. It is true that if Valetta fulfils his agreement I do not know how I shall meet all demands, but I am much afraid that none of these levies will be realised, because the English one encounters the opposition which I have frequently reported and it is the greater because I believe the individual has left the kingdom, and it is now several weeks since I heard anything of M. della Valetta.
I enclose the London advices.
Paris, the 21st January, 1647. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 77. Advices from London, the 9th January, 1648.
The parliament commissioners have reached the Isle of Wight and made their proposal that after his Majesty has signed the four articles he shall be allowed to treat with the parliament in person. Shortly afterwards the Scottish commissioners arrived and presented his Majesty with a protest against these articles, declaring them contrary to the good of their religion and the union of the two countries. The king has asked for time to consider and give his answer.
A letter has been brought to the Lower House in the name of the officers and men of the whole army full of complaints about the edict of last week about billeting. Gen. Fairfax has also written urging them to pay the army and settle all differences with them, so that it may be in perfect accord with the interests of parliament. The same demands for pay are being made by the fleet, and orders are being issued for the collection in the counties of the money assigned to it. Meanwhile those who have furnished considerable sums have appeared and ask for assignments to be made to them and security for repayment given.
Jan. 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
78. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
When the Cardinal and I came out of the Council chamber the queen of England was waiting in the next room for the regent to come out, to back our arguments in favour of peace with her tears, as she had received the news of her husband's imprisonment. Further particulars will be found in the enclosed sheet.
Paris, the 28th January, 1647. [M.V.]
Enclosure. 79. Advices from London, the 16th January, 1648.
Upon the remonstrance of the Scottish commissioners the king has refused his consent to the four articles submitted to him, and he has insisted on the necessity of a personal conference to arrive at peace. Upon this parliament has decided that they will treat no more with his Majesty and receive no more letters or proposals from him. They have written to the governor of the Isle of Wight to make sure of his person and to keep him confined. He has obeyed without scruple, confining the king in Carisbrooke castle, giving the king only two rooms with two persons to serve him, even the chaplains being taken away. General Fairfax has sent troops to the island so that his Majesty may not be carried off by force by any of his partisans, and possibly so that he also may be able to profit by having the royal person in his possession. Parliament has commended his foresight and directed the Vice Admiral (fn. 2) to keep the island invested by sea. The Scottish commissioners, moved by these resolutions, gave gone to inform their parliament, which is to meet next March. With the rift between the two countries becoming apparent the London parliament is taking measures on the frontier to prevent the entry of the Scottish army. It is rumoured that in Scotland the royalist is uniting with the parliamentary party to deliver the king from prison, and that the Irish may also join them. Accordingly the two Houses, who have noticed the power of gold to dissipate the clouds which threaten them from Scotland, are collecting from 150 to 200,000l. sterling to present to the Scots and quiet them down.
Jan. 31.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
80. To the Bailo at Constantinople.
It is highly desirable to have friendly relations with the English ambassador. You will intimate to him and to the Resident of Holland the propriety of not giving ships to the Turks which, in going against us, would be committing an offence against all Christendom. You will not cease to keep an eye on these same ministers on any matters they are treating about or steps they are contemplating to our prejudice and the detriment of religion, dissuading them with all your might from carrying such things into effect.
Ayes, 105. Noes, 10. Neutral, 47.


  • 1. The appointment of Sir Thomas Bendish to be ambassador at the Porte had been approved by parliament on the 29th January, 1647, and he seems to have reached Smyrna in August following. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1645-7, pages 519, 570.
  • 2. Rainsborough, appointed to succeed Batten on the 24th September preceding. Rushworth : Hist. Colls. Vol, IV, pt. ii., page 822.