Venice: July 1648

Pages 65-69

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 1648

July 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
154. Michiel Morosini and Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Enclose sheet of events of England.
Paris, the 7th July, 1648.
Enclosure. 155. Advices from England.
It is many months since affairs have been so happy and prosperous for the royalists in England. In addition to the 8 ships reported as having gone over to the king we hear that all the rest of the fleet has done the same and is impatiently awaiting the arrival of the Prince of Wales. The troops assembling in Scotland to invade England have now mostly entered the country and so far have advanced without opposition, while the army of the North is increasing daily. There is also a report that the governor of Vich has sent to tell parliament that he cannot answer for the king for more than four or six days, which has obliged parliament to meet and decide to move the king to a house near London.
The insurgents in Kent have been scattered by the attack of Gen. Fairfax, who has left some troops is that county to preserve order, while he has gone towards Essex.
July 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Munster. Venetian Archives.
156. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at the Congress of Munster, to the Doge and Senate.
Fourteen English ships have arrived at the Brill commanded by gentlemen of the counties of Gent and Exes who have risen in favour of the king. (fn. 1) Ten more are expected and it is announced that they intend to unite and make themselves masters of the mouth of the Thames to besiege London from the side of the sea. Others believe that under the pretext of waiting for their consorts they are expecting the Prince of Wales from France to carry him to Scotland or to some part of England where he may put himself at the head of an army in favour of his father. Meanwhile the States have refused to give audience in public assembly to the deputy of parliament who has arrived at the Hague, (fn. 2) to prevent this fleet of English ships forming in the ports of Holland. They have, however, nominated commissioners to hear his commissions privately.
I will inform Salvetti of the orders given to the General at Sea, to allow English merchant ships to leave Constantinople without being stopped.
Munster, the 12th July, 1648.
July 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
157. Michiel Morosini and Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Castelli writes from Bristol that he found two ships fully equipped at that port and another ready to sail next week. He also found the men ready, and to prevent desertion 150 soldiers were already embarked and he hoped that for all three ships there would be 800 men on behalf of M. della Valetta. If this is so he will have achieved the impossible.
The sheet from London is attached.
Paris, the 14th July, 1648.
Enclosure. 158. Advices from England.
Gen. Fairfax in dealing with the insurgents in Essex fought many engagements, with loss on both sides, but more severe for the parliamentarians who left many prisoners. By order of the Houses the general advanced within sight of Colchester, intending to besiege it, for which the Houses had provided him with guns and munitions of war. The governor made a sortie and returned successfully with a considerable quantity of cattle. The castle and town of Pembroke are also besieged by the parliamentarians. After making a breach they attempted an assault, but were vigorously repulsed with the loss of many men.
July 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
159. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has obtained leave to get his ships away. From what I learn the Vizier wanted 20,000 reals for allowing all the eight to go outside the Castelli, but the chief motive has been the hope that if these go out the fleet of your Serenity will allow the entry of two or three which are at Smyrna, on their way here, because the Grand Vizier and all the other magnates are always in want of silken and gold cloth. The ambassador sent to me two sea captains with a Jew dragoman to ask for a passport to allow all the ships of his nation to come in and go out. I told them that being a prisoner I could not promise anything about coming in. The ambassador later on sent his dragoman grande to press for a passport. I seized the opportunity to try and encourage confidential relations, but I represented that allowing ships to come in was the affair of the Captain General and I could not interfere save with great circumspection. Apparently this satisfied him.
I have wondered what motives had the most influence in inducing them to give the ambassador permission for the ships to leave. It seems most likely that there is some secret understanding between the Vizier and the ambassador. The latter might have promised the use of the ships as transports, or the Captain Pasha might use them as an escort. Accordingly I sent the secretary to tell the ambassador in confidence that I heard rumours of the intention of the Turks to use these ships in the way suggested, and I was sure he would not countenance this. He said he had experienced many difficulties in the matter, and the ships had been detained so long because the Vizier pretended that they were to be the enemies of the enemies of the Grand Turk. But he had always maintained that he had come here to be the friend of all the princes who were friends of his king. He gave me his absolute promise that if any violence was done to the ships at the Castelli, they would turn back and he would go on board and take such action as he considered best. Once they had got to sea he had no doubt but that they would go straight on their voyage as merchant vessels upon which nothing was to be admitted that had anything whatsoever to do with war, and that if this was not found to be the case your Excellencies' fleet might do what it thought fit.
In the matter of the passports I have experienced the troublesome character of this nation, on the question of their form, but finally I succeeded in persuading the ambassador to accept the form in which they were drawn.
The Vigne di Pera, the 21st July, 1648.
[Italian : deciphered.]
July 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
160. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The embarcation in England amounts to 180 men, and they are waiting for a few more to make up the complement of the ship. So Castelli writes, who will have to remain there a while longer.
English advices enclosed.
Paris, the 21st July, 1648.
Enclosure. 161. Advices from London, the 9th July, 1648.
On the 6th inst. the leaders of the English merchants together with some of the citizens presented a petition in parliament representing the misfortunes of the kingdom caused by the multiplication of heresies, superstitions and schisms, which are causing risings in many counties, the revolt of warships and the total ruin of business. They petition the Houses to remedy these disorders and above all to establish a good peace with the king by means of a personal treaty, maintaining the privileges of parliament and the people, establishing religion as is proper and disbanding the army after paying what is due to them. They were told that matters were already so disposed as to bring about some benefit, especially for examining the offers of his Majesty.
Colchester is blockaded by the troops of Fairfax, who has lost a good number of his men, which prevents him from pressing it as he would like. The army of Wales has done serious injury to the parliamentarians and that of the North becomes stronger daily.
July 25.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
162. To the Ambassador in France.
With regard to the offer of Irish troops by the Marquis of Ormonde, it seems to us excessive more particularly in the number of the troops which he proposes.
Ayes, 119. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
July 28.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Corti. Venetian Archives.
163. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses sheet of events of London.
Paris, the 28th July, 1648.
Enclosure. 164. Advices from London, [the 16th July], 1648.
On the 14th inst. a petition was presented to the mayors of the city and a similar one to the Commons there (sotto li 14 del corrente fu presentata supplica a' maggiori della citta et altra simile alli communi di essa), both signed by 60 officers of the same, asking that all the militia in the suburbs may be united with that of the city itself and that his Majesty be allowed to come, on a promise of security, while the personal treaty with the king already reported would receive no prejudice. (fn. 3) The requests were granted, but as regards the king's coming they wished to know first what security it was proposed to give.
The besieged at Colchester have defeated and slain a number of parliamentary soldiers in a bold sortie. We hear that the royalists have captured Lincoln, taking many prisoners. (fn. 4) The Duke of Buckingham and the Earl of Holland with other leading lords have declared for his Majesty and collected a body of 1,000 horse. The fleet has left Holland with the Duke of York, taking the Prince of Wales, who is going to throw himself into one of the English counties.
July 31.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Munster. Venetian Archives.
165. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador to the Congress of Munster, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince of Wales, the duke of York, his brother, the Palatines and other English gentlemen are all in Holland, in much doubt because they cannot place entire confidence in the English fleet. It has been found that among the great number of sailors and officers there are many who take sides with the parliament. What they will decide to do remains a matter of considerable speculation.
Munster, the 31st July, 1648.


  • 1. The ships in the Downs revolted on the 27th May, O.S. This report seems to agree more nearly with Clarendon's account (Hist. of the Rebellion, Book XI, page 137), than with the view more recently taken, v. Oppenheim, Administration of the Royal Navy, pages 248-50.
  • 2. Isaac Dorislaus. The Committee of both Houses decided to send him on the 17th June, Cal. S.P. Dom., 1648-9, page 132.
  • 3. Petition of the Common Council of London with another from the officers of the London trained bands, presented on the 5th July, O.S. Rushworth : Hist. Colls., Pt. IV, Vol. ii., page 1176.
  • 4. Royalists from Pontefract entered Lincoln on the 29th June, O.S. Id., page 1174.