Venice: May 1648

Pages 56-60

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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May 1648

May 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
127. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 5th May, 1648.
Enclosure. 128. Advices from London, the 23rd April, 1648.
The final decision of the Scottish parliament is still awaited from Edinburgh. The majority still incline to the royal name, but there is much opposition and many difficulties to resolve. The English deputies have not yet received a reply to their requests, notably that for sending back the troops which came from England.
In London there has been a riot of the apprentices, who also seem to incline to the royal side. They roughly handled and disarmed some companies of soldiers and would have sacked the houses of the mayor and sheriffs. These escaped the danger that threatened their persons by retreating to the Tower. The two Houses sent some cavalry to disperse the disorderly crowd, which was easily done. (fn. 1)
Disturbances incline to increase in the provinces also and the king's partisans to multiply. For this reason some of the more moderate and weighty of the parliament are contemplating an agreement, and would like to make one with his Majesty on moderate terms.
A rumour is going about that Lord Inchquin, not seeing any help coming, is also in negotiation to declare himself of the royal party.
May 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
129. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen of England has heard that the Duke of York, acting as she has frequently urged him, has escaped from London. It is not yet known where he has taken refuge, but they hope he has gone to Wales, where many are under arms for the king. (fn. 2)
The other news of those parts is in the attached sheet.
Paris, the 12th May, 1648.
Enclosure. 130. Advices from London, the 30th April, 1648.
This week the king's party and interests have received a notable relief. Lord Inchquin has declared for his Majesty in Ireland. (fn. 3) He states that in common with the parliament of London he took the covenant and this provides for the maintenance of the king in his rights. He is therefore bound in conscience to support him and to join those who share this opinion. In Ireland only Colonel Jones is left for parliament, shut up in Dublin, with the whole of the surrounding county hostile, and as it is very difficult for him to receive assistance from England, he cannot hold out long. The Houses in London were much incensed at the news and had a little son of the earl put in the Tower. (fn. 4)
In Scotland also the generality incline to war and they state already that more than 23,000 have been enrolled. Their parliament has decided to send a deputy to London to make three definite demands and to obtain a positive answer : (1) that the king be set at liberty and they confer with him in person about the terms of peace. (2) that the Presbyterian religion be established everywhere. (3) that Fairfax's army be disbanded, which consists of Independents for the most part. The English commissioners at Edinburgh are labouring with money and promises to mitigate the severity of these resolutions, and are trying to foment division and to keep the preachers on their side.
The riot of the London apprentices is not quite appeased, and when the mayor and sheriffs made enquiry about the authors of it, they were notified that their houses would be pulled down if they dared to touch any of them.
May 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Munster. Venetian Archives.
131. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at the Congress of Munster, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of York, second son of the king of England, has arrived in Holland. He escaped from England in a small fishing bark disguised as a girl and with a single companion. (fn. 5) The Princess of Orange, his sister, went to see him at once, but he has not yet appeared at the Hague. The generality in the Provinces are not pleased at his arrival in these parts, because they say that the flight of those of the royal blood adds to the strength of the parliament, since it leaves the other side without leaders.
Munster, the 15th May, 1648.
May 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
132. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 19th May, 1648.
Enclosure. 133. Advices from London, the 7th May, 1648.
The Duke of York has fled from London at night. In the evening after having supped and walked in the garden he went to bed, but dressing again he went down a secret staircase and found horses ready. His route is not yet known, but the general opinion is that he has crossed to Holland, and there is a report that he has arrived there disguised as a girl. On the morning the news came parliament was extremely disturbed, considering his designs and interests of importance. It took various steps to pursue him and to find out who had a hand in it, but so far without result.
The agreement of the Irish with Lord Inchquin for the royal party is for complete liberty of conscience for Catholics and Protestants alike.
From fear that the Scots may invade the realm parliament has decided to send the army to the frontier. This has shown a reluctance to go and demands a great sum of money, and because this cannot be found promptly, they threaten a sack and to disarm the citizens. Upon these reports the mayor and sheriffs had recourse to the two Houses and obtained leave to have the chains ready in the streets, which had been removed, and that the people should be all ready under its leaders, arms in hand, to resist any attack the soldiers may make.
May 19.
Cinque Savii alla Mercanzia. Risposte. Venetian Archives.
134. John Obson, English merchant, petitions for your Serenity's approval of his choice as English consul in this city. He was selected for the post by the Trinity House in 1646. From what he says he had to go to Zante on his affairs, and left Michael Frances as his deputy. Frances has recently left this city and Obson now wishes to exercise his office. The French, Spanish, Dutch and others have consuls here and we think the permission may be granted.
Dated the 19th May, 1648.
Vicenzo Correr. Savii.
Nicolo Foscarini.
Andrea Pisani.
May 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
135. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen of England desired that the Duke of York, who has landed in Holland, should be permitted to come to the Court. She has not yet been able to obtain this as France has no wish to burden herself with this charge or to arouse the suspicions of the parliamentarians. Meanwhile the queen here feels dissatisfied, not having been able to draw any assistance from here, although it would seem that the royal interests in that island are taking a more favourable aspect, as your Excellencies will learn from the attached sheet.
Paris, the 26th May, 1648.
Enclosure. 136. Advices from London, the 14th May, 1648.
Since the escape of the Duke of York the Houses have been in a state of constant agitation owing to the bad news which reaches them from every quarter. Colonel Fleninghen in Wales, having collected troops to fight the royalists has been slain at the first encounter and his troops defeated. (fn. 6) The royalists thus remain masters of practically the whole country without opposition. The Houses are urging Gen. Fairfax to go in that direction, but the army desires a great deal of money and it is equally dangerous to abandon London itself. The whole county of Essex has taken arms for the king and has sent a written demand to parliament requiring his Majesty's release from prison. Some parties of royalists who were scouring the country towards Scotland, have thrown themselves into Varvich and Carlisle, occupying those important places which are the keys of the frontiers and the kingdom.
The Scottish commissioner (fn. 7) bringing the demands of the parliament there has arrived in London and presented his proposals to the Houses, announcing that he has instructions to wait a fortnight for his answer, and then to go in any case. The Houses have since discussed these emergencies and most of them have decided that it behoves the state to have a king who governs in harmony with the Houses, but they have not decided how, by what particular means they shall reach this end, and whether they shall have for king the one who is prisoner or the Duke of Gloucester his third son, eight years of age who is in their hands.
May 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
137. Gio. Battista Nani and Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. della Valetta has heard from London that the colonel (fn. 8) has obtained permission from the Lower House as well, though without letting them know that it was for your Serenity, but that it might be for other princes for the requirements of Italy and elsewhere, as at the first intimation of levies for the republic several merchants hastened to point out the harm that might be done to the trade in the Levant. The colonel reports that he has overcome all difficulties, that he hopes to embark some on the 27th inst. and if so the gentlemen sent from here will be found all ready.
Paris, the 26th May, 1648.
May 28.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
138. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Captain Pasha remains within the Castelli. He only took two small Patignotti ships with him ; but they are in daily expectation of his demands for the ten English and Flemish ships, which are still being detained in the port here.
The Vigne of Pera, the 28th May, 1648.
[Italian ; deciphered.]


  • 1. On the 9th and 10th April, O.S.
  • 2. He escaped from St. James' palace on the 21st April, O.S., and crossed to Holland.
  • 3. On the 3/13 April.
  • 4. William O'Brien, aged about ten at this time.
  • 5. Colonel John Bamfield.
  • 6. On the 29th April, O.S.
  • 7. Not a commissioner. Col. Marshal brought the letter with the demands of the Chancellor of Scotland, which were read in the House on the 3/13 May. Rushworth : Hist. Colls., Pt. IV, Vol ii., page 1100.
  • 8. Sir James Bannatyne, who obtained a warrant to take out 800 men. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1648-9, pages 115, 127, 184.