State Papers, 1651


History of Parliament Trust



Thomas Birch (editor)

Year published



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'State Papers, 1651: July-September', A collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, volume 1: 1638-1653 (1742), pp. 193-198. URL: Date accessed: 21 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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A recapitulation from the English ambassadors at the Hague of the proceedings of the treaty with the States General.

Vol. ii. p. 255.

Upon Friday the 20th of June, the last day allotted us for our continuance, we having had publick audience in the assembly for taking our leaves of them, and also acquainted them, that early the next morning we were to go to our ships at Goree, at twelve of the clock that night the Gressiere from the assembly brought us the said paper, dated the same day, only in Dutch, and the Lord's day after sent us another copy in French, when we were on shipboard and under sail. The matter whereof hath been sully answered by our former papers; yet because they do in this paper most grossly mistake matter of fact in the proceedings upon the treaty, and ground themselves therein upon many untruths, this answer might have been given thereunto, in case we had had time.

As first to that they say, that they have given us a satisfactory answer to all our propositions, and would have made the same appear unto us, if we had not declined the debate thereof:

The contrary hereunto appears by our two last papers sent unto the assembly, containing the matter of our two last debates, whereby it clearly and fully appears, that (saving to our eighth proposition, which was never in dispute between us, being but a general) they had not given us satisfaction to any one of our propositions, and that we were so far from refusing to debate them, that our dissatisfaction did arise and was declared to be upon the debate we had had with commissioners. And if by refusing to debate they intend after Thursday night, our last paper shews the contrary, and that the refusal did arise on their part; so that we know not their meaning by that expression, unless it were, that we should decline any treaties upon our own propositions, or upon the treaty of 1495; and submit the treaty wholly to their own thirty six articles, and in such order, as they brought them; which not only comprehend in them many things altogether new, but in most of the articles, which they pretend to be grounded upon the treaty of 1495, much new matter is involved; and notwithstanding these articles were not brought unto us until three days after our ships were arrived for our transportation into England, and almost six weeks after they had received our propositions, and notwithstanding our continual pressing them for more speedy prosecution.

And for the reasons produced by them to prove, that we declined treaty with them, the same will appear also to be untrue. As first, that from the second of March, new stile, and 22d of April, old stile, we undertook to follow the old treaty, which appears to be impossible, in respect that at that time we had received a revocation, and declared as much to them; and that we had no power to treat, nor had we any treaty with them, until the time of our recontinuance the 10th day of March, old stile, and the 20th of May, new; and did not then undertake to treat upon the old treaty, otherwise than as our propositions were grounded upon the same, as appears by our paper; and we have ever since pressed them to treat with us upon our own propositions.

And as to our desires on Saturday, that our propositions might be first answered, and then to go forward to the old treaty, and afterwards to new matters to be propounded on both sides; inferring thereby, that we had receded from the method, that we ourselves had propounded:

It is answered, that upon their bringing the thirty six articles to us, which they said did contain an answer to our propositions, and also such things, as they did intend to propound on their part, they press'd us to proceed in the treaty upon their own articles seriatim, as they had brought them to us; which we refused to do, but insisted to have an answer to our propositions in the first place, being first delivered in; and then declared, that in the second place, so far as the shortness of the time would give us leave, we were willing to proceed to the other parts of the treaty, as well what was contained in the old treaty, as what was new to be proposed on both sides; which they then declined, and said, that they could give us no other answer to our propositions, than was contained in their thirty six articles, nor would they entertain any other debate with us, than upon those articles, as they said, in in order; whereunto we not agreeing, they said, they would report the matter of that debate to the assembly; from which time we received nothing from them until six o'clock on Thursday night, we being to take our leave the next day, which they knew, in respect we had upon Wednesday before demanded our audience for taking our leave, and likewise that we had told their commissioners as much, when the assembly had been with us on Wednesday to press our longer stay; and then upon Thursday night as aforesaid, when they were assured we could not stay, they bring us the paper of the 28th, new stile; and taking it for granted, that that was an answer to our propositions, pressed that we would go on to the other parts of the treaty, as they said we had proposed, meaning thereby their thirty six articles. But we clearly did demonstrate to them, that this was no satisfactory answer to our propositions, and did then insist to have a fuller answer thereunto, until which we could not go on to the other parts of the treaty; by which we did not intend their thirty six articles, but the rest of the old treaty, and then such things, as both sides should offer, wherein we might by that time have made a very great progress, if they had not spent all the time allotted for our being there in unexpected delay upon our propositions grounded upon the old treaty, which they had long since promised to renew. And there being then but one day left, we told them, that seeing they had made it impossible to conclude a treaty at this time upon all things both new and old, we were yet willing, to the end that something may be done upon this occasion, to conclude with them a preliminary treaty; which yet was so far from being a departing from our own path, that it was a direct prosecution of the same method, which was first propounded upon the old treaty: and all this appears in our papers, which were delivered to the assembly, containing the sum of the last two conserences, whereof they take no notice in this paper, but ground it wholly upon words, which they pretend to be spoken by us at those two conferences, which were either never spoken by us at all, or else so misapplied by them, in respect of time and other circumstances, that they are as untruly alledged by them, as if they had never been spoken.

And as to the allegation, that we desired them to make new propositions, which when they had delivered, we would not give any answer thereunto; we answer, that we did upon the 17th of April, old stile, and likewise upon the 10th of May, old stile, when we delivered our propositions grounded upon the old treaty, and at several other times before, desire, that they would deliver in such propositions, as they would insist upon on their parts, without expressing old or new; to the intent, that if need were, we might have convenient time to receive instructions from the parliament; which notwithstanding were not brought unto us, until almost six weeks after, and that our time was almost determined; and this, as likewise because they have not to this day given us any satisfactory answer to our propositions, which were so long since delivered to them, is the reason why they have received no answer to their propositions.

And as to their allegation, that we said our propositions already delivered in were the most difficult, and that the rest were easier; and that a great deal had been done; and that therefore it seemed strange to them, that when they had given us satisfaction to the hardest, that instead of going on to faciliora, we should discontinue the treaty: To this it is enough to say, that we never conceived or said, that they had given us satisfaction to our propositions; but on the contrary, at all the debates and by our papers declared our dissatisfaction therein; and in case any such expression were used, that those already delivered by us were of greatest difficulty, it was only in relation to such, as we should make out of the treaty of 95; having both in our debates and papers told them, that when these should be agreed upon, we had others of a greater and higher concernment. Much less did we intend thereby, as in that paper is implied, that their thirty six articles, which we had not then seen, were inter faciliora, and which upon perusal of them appear to be of greatest difficulty.

And as to the allegation, that in case satisfaction were given to our proposition, that then according to the trodden path and order aforementioned we could answer their thirty six articles; we have said before, that they never gave us satisfaction to our propositions; or in case they had, we were so far from promising an answer to their thirty six articles, that we denied in the next place to treat thereupon, but in that case propounded the method of the old treaty of 95, and then afterwards such things, as should be new on both sides; holding it unreasonable, that when they themselves had by their paper of the second May propounded the old alliance of 95 to be the matter of the present treaty, and that accordingly we had grounded our propositions thereupon, that we should recede from that treaty, and contrary thereunto make their thirty six articles the foundation of this treaty, which were but at present delivered to us, and many articles wholly new, and many others of them, alledged by themselves to be only the matter of the old treaty, have in them many new things likewise of great advantage to them, and that the commissioners could not at that time depart from us with satisfaction; that we would in that case answer their thirty six articles, appears by the paper we sent to the assembly upon that treaty.

And as to the mistake alledged to be on our part, that we were tied to a present answer to their thirty six articles; there was no such thing insisted upon or alledged by us, we not at all objecting to the time, wherein we were to give our answers. That which we objected was, that their answer to the matter of our proposition was conditional, and held forth, that they did not grant our propositions, unless we did grant their thirty six articles; as appears by our paper put in at that conference, whereby likewise we shew the unreasonableness of their desires therein, that for granting two of the articles of the old treaty granted unto them, which are of greater advantage to them than these two can be to us, but likewise divers new things of far greater concernment to them.

To the expedition they pretend to have used in this treaty beyond what they have done in other cases, wherein they imply, that this treaty hath been on foot but six weeks, and to what else depends on it; it is answered, that the treaty begun on the 20th of March, and ended not until the 20th of June, during all which time they had not any liberty of themselves to have propounded such things, as they thought sit on the behalf of their own state, but were by a paper of the 17th of April last, old stile, and divers times since, desired by us to propound such particulars, as they would insist upon in this treaty; notwithstanding which, and their paper of the 22 April/2 May, whereby they said their commissioners were then ready to make such propositions on their part, as might serve for making the said alliance; we received no propositions from them until the 14th of June, old stile, when they knew our ships were come for our transportation three days before. And although they do upon all occasions, where they have a mind to draw things into length, make use of their constitution, as that the assembly or States General cannot proceed but upon such instructions as they first receive from their provinces; yet we have had in this treaty sufficient experience of that pretence; for notwithstanding that they did upon our delivering in our paper of the 17th of April, old stile, for a consederation of the two commonwealths, assert, that they would not give any answer unto that paper without consulting with their province; yet within five or six days after they did of themselves give us an answer thereunto by the paper of the 22d of April; whereby the ancient alliance of 95 was propounded by them to be renewed as the matter of this treaty, and to be corrected and amplified as the time requires; and yet afterwards, when we gave in our last propositions upon the tenth of May, old stile, grounded upon that alliance, according to their own desires, they alledged, that they could neither give answers to ours, nor make any propositions to us, without having new powers given to them by their superiors in their several provinces; and accordingly would not give us any answer unto ours, or make any propositions, though grounded upon that alliance, untill they had received new powers from them: and it seemed strange unto us, that the assembly, who could of themselves propound the ancient alliance, as the matter and substance of the treaty, could not proceed upon the dependents, without such new authority; or that the assembly should pretend want of authority for the prosecuting those things, which they themselves had propounded and declared that they would do. And yet further, when they had in the case aforesaid received their instructions from their superiors in their several provinces, viz. the thirty six instructions, and had delivered them unto us; they could afterwards, without consulting their superiors, recede from the same in the most material things, as they did by the paper, which they delivered in unto us the night before we took our leaves; in both which cases the time of their doing this is very observable, viz. when they were assured, that we had no power to treat further with them upon what they offered.

And as to their dissatisfaction concerning our coming away, we conceived, that we had said enough therein to their commissioners, whom they had sent twice to us about the same; as that the parliament had now thrice sent their agents and ministers unto them; and that as they were no ways bound to send unto them at all, so was it in their own choice and power to limit the time of their abode. Neither were they therein surprized, we having always from the first day of the treaty told them, that our time was limited and but short; and that therefore a slow proceeding on their part would render the treaty fruitless; and that they had cause rather to take it as a great expression of love and friendship in the parliament, that they alone had so often and for so long time intended and prosecuted these matters of joint and equal concernment unto both states; and that when the commonwealth of England is out of possession of what they ought to enjoy by the treaty of 1495, and the Netherlands in the full possession of what is of greatest advantage unto them by that treaty; that yet the commonwealth of England should be content in this friendly and amicable way of a treaty, to seek and expect from them a performance of what is done on their parts.

July 1, 1651.

From the council of state 8th August, 1651.

To the governor of the isle of Wight and the rest of the commissioners of the militia there.

In the possession of G. Duckett esq.

We have received information from Scotland, that the Scots army, that could by no means be provoked to fight in Scotland, have (upon occasion of our army being marched into Fise, where they are now in good condition) marched southward, with intentions to come into England, upon the borders whereof there is a good party with major general Harrison and others appointed to rendezvous, to joyne with, to give them impediment in their van. And we doubt not, but a sufficient party of the main army will be speedily and seasonably upon their reare. And we are informed also, that the Scots themselves have no great opinion of this their design, but prosecute this, because they have no other game to play; and yet to make the best they can of it, they have sent their agents into severall parts of England, to stir up their party, and with commissions also to their considents to give them command; of which we have therefore thought fit to give you this notice, and desire you to have your meetings frequent, and a watchful eye upon any, that shall come into your county, and make application to any of the disaffected party; and that such as you shall have just cause to suspect, be disarmed and secured; and that you be also careful to suppress any the first tendencies you shall perceive towards any insurrection; and to that end you are hereby impowered to raise and call together any part of the forces of the late militia (being such as you can conside in) the officers and soldiers whereof are hereby required to observe and obey the orders you shall give upon this occasion for the service, and you are to certify to the council the names of such as you shall find refractory thereunto; and what for the safety of your country you shall do herein.

Signed in the name and by order of the council of state appointed by authority of parliament,

Whitehall, 8 August, 1651.

Jo. Bradshawe, presid.

Instructions of the high and mighty lords the States General of the United Netherlands to . . . . . . . . . . their envoy to the most illustrious and most serene lord, czar and grand duke Alexey Michaelowitz, autocrator of all Russia, according whereunto he shall regulate himself.

Vol. ii. p. 265. I

The said envoy shall get himself ready with all possible expedition, to set out from hence with the very first, to the said place, where the said illustrious lord czar and grand duke shall then reside.

2. For which purpose the necessary letters and credential acts ad omnes populos, and of indemnity shall be delivered unto them.

3. Being arrived at the court, he shall demand audience as soon as it can possibly be done; and when admitted to the same, he shall deliver his credentials, and make his compliments to his czarish majesty after the usual way, for and in the name of their high mightinesses, giving him the following title: Most illustrious, most potent great lord, czar and grand duke Alexey Michaelowitz, autocrator of all, both the Greater and Lesser Russia, czar of Kiof, Woldomiria, Nougorod, czar of Casaen, czar of Astracan, czar of Siberia, lord of Plescow, and grand duke of Smolensko, Tweer, Jugonia, Permia, Weatka, Bolgaria, lord and grand duke of Novagrada and the low lands, of Zeningou, Resan, Polotsko, Rostof, Jareslaef, Belooseria, Udoria, Obdoria, Condinia, Wietepsky, M'stitslof, lord of all the northern lands, lord of the land of Iversky, czar of Carthalinsky and Grufinsky, and of the land of Cardadinsky, prince of the Circasses and Gorshes, heir of his father and grandfather, and lord and sovereign of many other easterly, westerly, and northerly lordships and dominions.

4. Besides this, he shall request his czarish majesty to be assured of the good will, intention, and sincere affections of their high mightinesses towards his most illustrious person, lands, people, and subjects; with a declaration, that their high mightinesses are ready and very desirous to continue therein without any change or variation; wishing that his czarish majesty may constantly maintain, throughout all his czarish kingdoms and dominions, peace and quiet among his subjects, and authority over the wicked and evil-doers, and from abroad be respected and loved by his friends, and feared and dreaded by his enemies.

5. He shall further declare, that their high mightinesses, for the benefit of their dominions, crave of his czarish majesty the continuation of his friendship and correspondence, with a firm, sincere, and upright assurance, that their high mightinesses, on their part, will never be wanting therein, but will constantly contribute thereunto all that laies in their power, and whatever may any ways tend to cultivate and promote a good understanding and friendship between his czarish majesty and the honourable states of the free and United Netherlands.

6. Afterwards, at the same audience, or in any subsequent one, he shall endeavour to represent to his czarish majesty, with the strongest and best reasons, and in the best and softest manner possible, how very advantageous and necessary it is, that his czarish majesty and this republic be united together in a confident friendship and correspondence, that by the importation and exportation of all forts of commodities and merchandises both states may greatly be improved, and the inhabitants enriched, and his czarish majesty benefitted; especially considering the great strength and forces at sea, which their high mightinesses have; wherewith, and by the situation of his czarish majesty's sea coasts, they may at all times assist one another, without lett or hindrance of any other prince, potentate, or republic between them.

7. That their high mightinesses have always endeavoured and will continue to cultivate and promote such a friendship and good correspondence with his czarish majesty, and will take a particular care and study to regulate every thing in the best manner, to the end that the same may daily increase. Their high mightinesses do also hope and with, that the same may be done likewise by his czarish majesty and his subjects.

8. That their high mightinesses had sent him the said envoy to his czarish majesty, chiefly to strengthen the said friendship and good correspondence; for which purpose their high mightinesses had also commanded him to continue for some time at the court of his czarith majesty, in order to contribute, for the said end, all whatsoever shall lie in his power; and further, there to take care of, do, and manage all matters, affairs, and things, of and concerning the United Netherlands, and the good inhabitants thereof, which may happen there.

9. For this said purpose he shall in the best manner desire also of his czarish majesty assurance and a promise in writing, that the inhabitants of this republic, in the harbours, dominions, and places, that now are, or hereafter may come under his jurisdiction, for their persons, vessels, goods, or merchandizes, shall neither now nor ever be burthened with any higher tolls, imposts, licents, or any other duties, whatever the same may be called, than what they are now at this time obliged to pay.

10. The said envoy, during his stay there, shall also carefully watch and observe all occurrences, which shall happen in the Russian empire, and neighbouring countries, to manage the same in the best manner for the advantage of this republic, and to give due advice thereof to their high mightinesses by every post, from time to time and without intermission.

11. The secret affairs, that shall require it, he shall give notice of in cyphers, whereof a key shall be made, and delivered unto him, together with these presents.

12. With the ambassadors and ministers of other kings, princes, republics, and states, that are in friendship or neutrality with their high mightinesses, the said envoy shall keep correspondence, according to custom, in order to get thereby the better intelligence of all such things, that may concern, either directly or indirectly, the service of this country.

13. Further, and besides these instructions, he shall manage and endeavour to bring to bear, whatever he shall be enjoined and commanded in writing hereafter, touching any emergencies or matters that shall happen.

14. And the said envoy, during his service, shall have and receive every day the sum of . . . . . . which diet money shall commence from the day of his setting out from here, and cease at the day of his resigning up his commission, and delivering such minutes of his transactions as he is obliged to keep; and all this besides stabling, freight for waggons and vessels, convoy-money, and carriage of baggage, and other the like charges.

15. For his equipage he has allowed a sum of . . . . . . .

16. The said envoy shall not take any presents, gifts, gratuity, nor reward, neither himself nor by any body else, directly nor indirectly, in what manner, or under what pretence or denomination the same may be offered, and of what quality or how small soever they be; under penalty of infamy and inability, at any time hereafter, to hold or to have any place, office, or prebends whatsoever conferred on him, or to have or enjoy the revenue or income thereof; nay he shall ipso facto and effectually be and remain deprived of all such places, offices, and prebends, which he may be actually possessed of, or enjoy, without any connivance, mitigation, or moderation therein to be made or granted; and besides this, under further arbitrary punishment, all in conformity to their high mightinesses resolution of the 20th of August 1651. [N. S.]

Thus done and resolved in the assembly of the said lords the States General at the Hague, on the . . . . . .

Instructions for captain Robert Denis, Mr. Richard Bennet, Mr. Thomas Stagge, and captain William Clabourne, appointed commissioners for the reducing of Virginia, and the inhabitants thereof to their due obedience to the commonwealth of England.

Vol. x. p. 6, 7.

Whereas the parliament of England, by an act (fn. 1) intituled, An act prohibiting trade with the Barbadoes, Virginia, Bermudas, and Antegoa, hath committed to this council several powers therein expressed, for the settling, reducing, and governing the said islands, printed copies of which acts are herewith delivered unto you; in pursuance whereof a fleet is now set forth, victualled, armed, and manned, under the command and conduct of capt. Robert Denis, to effect, by the blessing of God, the ends aforesaid; and for the management of that service you are jointly nominated and appointed commissioners, and for your better directions and proceedings therein, you are to follow and pursue these instructions following:

Such of you as are here, are to repair on board the ship John, or the Guinea frigot of the states, which of them you shall think fit; and, wind and weather permitting, to fail to Virginia, as captain Robert Denis shall direct and appoint.

And upon your arrival at Virginia, you, or any two or more of you (whereof captain Robert Denis to be one) shall use your best endeavours to reduce all the plantations within the bay of Chesopiaik to their due obedience to the parliament of the commonwealth of England.

For which purpose you, or any two or more of you (whereof captain Robert Denis to be one) have hereby power to assure pardon and indemnity to all the inhabitants of the said plantations, that shall submit unto the present government and authority, as it is established in the commonwealth; in which pardons you may make such limitations and ***** two or more of you (whereof captain Robert Denis *****

And in case they shall not submit by fair ways and means, you are to use all arts of hostility, that lie in your power, to enforce them; and if you shall find, that the people so stand out, as that you can by no other ways or means reduce them to their due obedience, you, or any two or more of you (whereof captain Robert Denis to be one) have power to appoint captains and other officers, and to raise forces within every of the plantations aforesaid, for the furtherance and good of the service; and such persons as shall come unto you, and serve as soldiers, if their masters shall stand in opposition to the present government of this commonwealth, you, or any two or more of you (whereof captain Robert Denis to be one) have hereby power to discharge and set free from their masters all such persons so serving as soldiers.

You shall cause and see all the several acts of parliament against kingship and the house of lords to be received and published; as also the acts for abolishing the book of common prayers, and for subscribing the engagement, and all other acts herewith delivered you.

You, or any two or more of you, have full power to administer an oath to the inhabitants or planters there, to be true and faithful to the commonwealth of England, as it is now established, without a king or house of lords.

You, or any two or more of you (whereof captain Robert Denis to be one) have power to give liberty to the inhabitants and planters, who shall have taken the engagement formerly mentioned, to chuse such burgesses as they shall think fit, and send to the place you shall appoint, for the better regulating and governing of affairs there; provided that nothing be acted contrary to the government of this commonwealth of England and the laws there established.

You shall cause all writs, warrants, and other process whatsoever to be issued forth as occasion shall require, in the name of the keepers of the liberty of England by authority of parliament.

In case of mortality, or absence of captain Robert Denis, you, or any two or more of you, have power to put in execution these instructions.

In case of mortality, or absence of captain Robert Denis, Edmund Curtis, commander of the Guinea frigot, is hereby empowered to act as commissioner with you, or any two or more of you; and he is also in the absence of captain Robert Denis to take the charge and command of the fleet, so far as concerns the shipping, according to the power given to captain Robert Denis.

And lastly, as we doubt not but you will use your best diligence and care in carrying on of this affair of consequence, with which you are intrusted, and that by your good endeadeavours it will have a good issue; so the council will take the same into consideration, that respect may be had of your pains and travel therein, and of a recompence agreeable to your service, when the same shall be compleated, and work, upon which you are employed shall be finished.

Signed in the name and by the order of the council of state appointed by authority of parliament.

Whitehall 26 September, 1651.

Jo. Bradshawe, presid.


1 Passed 8 Oct. 1650. Scobelli Collect. p. 132. Whitl. p. 474.