Venice: February 1649

Pages 86-88

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


February 1649

Feb. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Munster. Venetian Archives.
233. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador to the Congress at Munster, to Michiel Morosini, his colleague in France.
The Dutch Ambassador extraordinary Pau was to go by way of Calais, in order to reach London as quickly as possible and prevent the death of the king of England of which periculum in mora.
Munster, the 5th February, 1649.
[Italian ; copy.]
Feb. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
234. Michiel Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen of England, seeing the danger to which the king is exposed of being beheaded the king has despatched Varenes with all speed with the object of staying the execution. At the same time his Majesty has intimated to the said queen that he hopes for peace in a few days and will then command the despatch of 40,000 combatants for the relief of innocence and to establish the respect and obedience which are due from his people to their prince.
Paris, the 12th February, 1648. [M.V.]
[Italian ; deciphered.]
Feb. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Munster. Venetian Archives.
235. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador to the Congress of Munster, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Munster, the 19th February, 1649.
Enclosure. 236. Advices of London of the 5th February, 1649.
The king of England has on three different days been taken before the judges appointed by the military for his trial. They omitted to read a letter presented by the French ambassador, and both his guards and judges treated him throughout as a private individual, never taking off their hats or paying him any kind of mark of homage or respect. He took exception to the judges as having no authority over their sovereign, without whom and still less without the concurrence of the House of Lords they could not pretend to any form of parliament ; nor did he make any other reply to the charges which were read to him. They took four days for consultation, in order to pass sentence without admitting further defence. But in the mean time it is thought that the Dutch ambassadors may arrive. Even greater hopes are entertained of a breach being effected in this democratic body by the Scottish commissioners, who insist with great earnestness that this case must not be pushed through without taking the sense of their parliament. It may be they repent, though tardily, of the abominable example they afforded two years ago by selling their king to the English for a few pounds sterling.
Feb. 22.
Bibl. S. Marco. Cl. VII. Cod. 1923.
237. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at the Congress of Munster, from Domenico Condulmier, his Secretary at the Hague.
Their High Mightinesses have offered their condolences to the Prince of Wales upon the violent death of the late king of England, and at the same time their congratulations upon his succeeding to the royal dignity. He is now accorded the title of Majesty by all, has an apartment in the palace of the Prince of Orange, lives of his own revenues, like a king, eats alone and no longer with his sister, as he used when he merely bore the title of prince.
The Hague, the 22nd February, 1649.
Feb. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Munster. Venetian Archives.
238. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Munster, to the Doge and Senate.
The poor king of England has at last lost both crown and life by the hand of the executioner, like a common criminal, in London, before all the people, without any one speaking in his favour and by the judicial sentence of his own subjects. The accompanying narrative gives the particulars. History affords no example of the like. It is a shame to all contemporary sovereigns, who for the sake of revenge against each other about trifles have allowed themselves to be confronted by so imposing a spectacle, of the worst possible example.
The Prince of Wales, at the Hague, immediately assumed the royal title, although the kingdom has pronounced him ineligible, and denounces as guilty of treason any one who calls himself king of England. The States sent their condolences by a deputy from each province. In reply the king merely said that his sole comfort amid so many disasters was to find himself among them, through whose help he looked for his restoration, under God. They at once recalled the Ambassador Pau, and some wished to recall the ordinary Joachimi as well, so as not to give any sanction to their proceedings, but on second thoughts, as the ambassadors of Spain, France, Portugal and others remain, they have ordered Joachimi to do the same, especially as the Commonwealth (commune), as the English government now styles itself, has informed the States that all their merchants and goods will be treated over there like the native English, and that they mean to form a government resembling that of the Provinces in every respect, both ecclesiastical and civil, a thing easier said than done.
The States were to compliment the new king on his accession, but they are not yet agreed among themselves what to call him. Meanwhile he is drawing up letters to acquaint all the powers of Europe with the tragedy, and to ask for help. The Grand Chancellor of Denmark, Ullufelde, is being sent to Holland, France and Spain, to support his interests, as he is Denmark's cousin. All commiserate his misfortune and his innocence, although those who unite to avenge it may be few in number.
Munster, the 26th February, 1649.
Enclosure. 239. Last speech of King Charles on the scaffold, together with other circumstances attending his death. (fn. 1)


  • 1. Printed in Whitelocke's "Memorials," Vol. II, pages 512-516, ed. Oxford, 1853.