State Papers, 1656
January (7 of 9)

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History of Parliament Trust

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Thomas Birch (editor)

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1742

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'State Papers, 1656: January (7 of 9)', A collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, volume 4: Sept 1655 - May 1656 (1742), pp. 454-462. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=55435 Date accessed: 23 August 2014.


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January (7 of 9)

Major Sedgwicke to secretary Thurloe.

Marmaduke, the 24th of Jan. 1655.

Vol. xxxiv. p. 713.

Right Honourable,
Your letters to admiral Goodson and major general Fortescue by the Marston-Moore, who arrived here the 15th instant, came to my view, wherein I cannot but observe your cordial love and affection to us, and this design we are now upon; and although we have written to his highness as touching our state and condition, which I know will, if arrive, come to your view, as also well knowing admiral Goodson hath given you a large and true relation how things stand with us, yet be pleased to suffer me to add these few lines to your honour's consideration.

You cannot but be thoroughly acquainted with most of the workings of providence towards this design since first set on foot; I would not be over despondent in my thoughts, yet I must profess I am not able to discover or make out to myself, what God intends in this business; only this I willing to believe and hope, God may lay us low in the dust, and humble our souls before him, and if thereby he may be pleased to prepare our spirits for some more glorious carrying on to an end his work, it will in the issue be a mercy. But hitherto God hath torn us, and scattered us, and yet seems not to bind us up, or heal us. Did you but see the faces of this poor small army with us, how like skeletons they look, it would move pity; and when I consider the thousands laid in the dust in such a way as God hath visited, my heart mourns. I know this work could not be expected to be carried on without loss of many mens lives; yet if God shall sweep us away, as if he would take no delight in us, what may we think ? Many of us are frequently saying, if God should take them away in the face of their enemies, it would have been an honour to them and their nation; yet it is good to fall into the hands of the living God.

The sick and low estate of our army puts us upon much trouble in our actings; it is certain we have enemies both of Spaniards and Blacks in the island, and they watch for an opportunity of our men; as for planters we have not above one family settled, if one amongst us, neither do I expect any from our English colonies, till God give health amongst us. Here hath come down to us from many of the windward islands divers people, with intentions of sitting down with us, but at their coming hither, either fall sick and die, or are so affrighted and dismayed, as that although to their much impoverishing, yet will not be persuaded to stay with us. Many women, that came down to their husbands, finding them to be dead, have sold themselves for servants to be gone upon other plantations rather than abide with us, though we have offered them any encouragements to remain here. Divers small merchantmen, that have been with us, that are gone to most of our English plantations from hence, have carried I know sad and dismal reports of our sad condition, which makes me fear we can expect but few to come to us.

As for our present condition in respect of provision, we all, both fleet and army, are wholly supplied out of the common magazine of English provisions, and they are not so apt to keep here as in other places. I pray God they fail us not, when we come most to make use of them.

Our ships I know the admiral hath given a full report of them; yet I know they are very much subject to be extremely damaged by the worms, and are already somewhat defective therewith. As for the nature and quality of those eight ships came with me, I knew not of them till we set sail in the Downs, and then was sensible of the truth, which the admiral writes.

As for our seamen, they are the best in health, though some die, and some are sick, in so much that we need a good recruit fully to man our ships as men of war.

It is possible you may expect I should declare my thoughts as touching his highness's affairs in this present design. It hath often not a little troubled my thoughts in the consideration, that you could not but have far better and higher thoughts of our present state and condition than it was, or is, as by your letters appears, believing us seven thousand strong in our army; but how it stands with us, you now fully understand; by which you cannot but know the army can afford no assistance to our present prosecution of any design; it is a mercy, if in a capacity to maintain this island. What recruits come in the next ship I know not. It is certain if God send the ships to us, it will be a gallant addition to your sea forces, and bring us, with the blessing of God, in a capacity to deal with any forces of the enemy, that are either here or may be expected; but I cannot imagine we shall, without a considerable addition of soldiers, attempt any thing upon any considerable place on shore, I mean Carthagena or Havana, without which we do little. It is true we may with our fleet, and a few soldiers, waste and burn towns and places of inferior rank; but that can effect or produce little profit, unless God cast in some considerable ships into our hands. You cannot but think, that all the considerable places in the Indies are as strongly fortified, and forces drawn in as much possible can be, and we know Carthagena and Havana have a considerable strength in them; therefore this is, I think, that either a considerable fleet and army must be sent forth, that may in a way of providence effect the bringing in of such places, or else I fear the lingering of the war in this course will so exhaust treasure, with so unreasonable returns, as will make you soon weary; or thus, if you think meet to proceed by degrees, it were doubtless best to begin upon the main as high eastward as the Spaniards are seated, and so take and possess the country down Ryo de Hatch and so to Santa Martha, which is thought might be with ease effected. So the country being reduced, you thereby starve and block up Carthagena, who have much of their trade, and most of their subsistence, from these parts.

Some have been apt to think, that if the money spent in the design had been laid out in lying upon the coast of Spain, it might have brought the Indies to have bowed to easy terms; but that I wave.

Sir, I hope God is with you in your counsels, and will manifest his presence in mercy with you. It is possible you may count me of a despondent spirit. I must acknowledge I am at present possessed with many various thoughts, and searchings of heart; yet this I must affirm, and it is true, never man heard me yet discourage the work, but have, do, and shall, to the uttermost I can, encourage and strengthen the hearts and hands of any imployed in this affair. I have been thought too bitter in reproving the despondency of mens spirits to this business.

I shall, according to the talent God gives me, be willing to improve what I can, or have, to the carrying on to an end the work I am imployed in. I acknowledge my abilities weak, and I am an unfit person to manage what is expected from me; and I must profess, had I not thought to have found men of greater and higher abilities here than I do, I should not, nor durst not have accepted this employ so far beyond my poor abilities, of which I am now more sensible than ever.

Let this be my request to you in your attending this business; send men of approved godliness, and of sound and solid judgments and able parts, which are extremely wanting amongst us.

Sir, be pleased to pardon my prolixness. I hope we are remembred by you in your most serious thoughts. I beg at the throne of grace God may guide your counsels, as in this affair, so in all weighty business he employeth you in. I am, right honourable,

Your most faithful and affectionate servant,
Rob. Sedgwicke.

Vice-admiral Goodson and major Sedgwicke to the protector.

Jamaica, January 24, 1655/6.

Vol. xxxiv. p. 721.

May it please your highness,
Your commands, and our duty, make us bold to present these to your highness. We hope the letters sent by the Augustine, and other conveyances, are arrived long before this. It is no small trouble to us our being so much streightened in opportuninities, of more frequent giving account to your highness of the state and condition of your affairs here in these parts.

We humbly crave, that we offend not in our plainness and naked laying open before you, how things stand with us at present, although we should have accounted it a mercy to have our letters and lines filled with more pleasing subjects; but God is wise and faithful in his crossing our earthly expectations.

As for the condition of our army thus; after major general Fortescue's death, and col. Carter being also dead, the command of the army naturally fell upon col. Doyley, and indeed the most capable, and the best fitted for the employ, whom we invested with the command of the army, and settled a council of war, (a thing not before known to this army) col. Doyley president, in which way hitherto they have acted and governed.

It hath pleased God yet to go on sorely and sadly to visit us with his hand of affliction, and yet he is just and righteous, although he consume and lay us in the dust. Why doth the living man complain? yet our portion is filled with sad complaints and bitter lamentations for the the slain of the people. The numbers of the army are much lessened since our last letters; the whole not extending to three thousand, many of them sick and weak, the best and soundest much abated of their strength and vigor, and God goes on every day to shorten our numbers. We die daily not less than fifty every week, which is much considering our small numbers.

As touching the state of this island in respect of provisions, it is capable of rendering as comfortable supply as any island in the Indies; yet such is our army's condition as they neither can, or have made any, or very little improvement thereof. We have as much as in us lay endeavoured to persuade, and encourage to planting of such provisions as are most natural to these parts. Formerly some small thing was done that way; but the unseasonableness of the weather, and mens so much falling sick, as not being able to weed what was planted, it is most ruinated, and it is generally thought, though all that was planted had been preserved, it had not been three days provision for the whole army. We were some few days before the arrival of the Marston-Moore, putting the army afresh upon planting, and tending thereto sent them in writing all the encouragements that possibly we could propound; and on that very self same day we sent to them, the whole army made their addresses to their officers, to supplicate the president to treat us about their going off the island, which was presented as a supplication to us to carry them off, the whole body of the people longing and breathing after a kind of deliverance, by being redeemed from the present apprehended misery in being detained here.

Since the arrival of the Marston-Moore, in obedience to your highness's express and positive commands, we are now attending fortification, and to that end have resolved to finish a work begun in this harbour, which though small will be as much as we shall compass in some time. We also desired col. Doyley forthwith, with the advice of his council, to settle his army in such a posture, as may best tend to their safety and well being, which they, we hope, will attend forthwith, yet are hereby taken off from thoughts of planting, which we know these men never would or could be brought unto. As for the cattle of the country, they were so extremely destroyed at first, and so hunted, that they are turned all so wild, that it is difficult taking any of them. Some few are taken by the soldiers, and some by seamen, but not so much as one pound to save a meal's meat of the state's allowance. Cattle here are abundance, and if the island be once settled, may be brought into such a condition, as may highly improve and serve this island both with horses and other sorts of cattle.

As touching the state of the enemy upon this island, we can give no certain relation of them, but yet of late do know them to be more than formerly apprehended. We lately sent one of the smaller frigats and a brigantine to survey the island, to search the harbours on the north side, and to make what discoveries they could of the island and the enemy. The frigat and brigantine both are returned some ten or twelve days since, which in general report thus: They were in some harbours on the north side of the island, three especially good and large, in one of which they found many Spaniards quietly settled. Our frigat landed sixty men, the enemy only faced them, and then retreated. Our men burnt all their houses, and took some small store of old clothes and the like, and in some other places found some few Spaniards: and as they were returning on the south side, to windward of point Pedro, the frigat landing some men found two Spanish houses, in one of which he found seventeen fixed fire arms, which he brought away, and burnt the houses, but took only one Mulatto. The brigantine put to the shore to the leeward of the said cape, where faced him forty Spaniards mounted, who, as he came near the shore, marched up into the wood. The Mulatto upon his examination being demanded what the Spaniards intend to do, answered, they lay up and down expecting we would leave the island, that they might again possess what formerly was their own. Our soldiers do also in the out quarters sometimes see some few Spaniards mounted killing cattle, who sometimes wound, then kill one or two of our men.

As for the Negroes, we understand, and to satisfaction, that they, for the most part of them, are at distance with the Spaniards, and live by themselves in several parties, and near our quarters, and do very often, as our men go into the woods to seek for provisions, destroy and kill them with their launces. We now and then find one or two of our men killed, stripped, and naked, and these rogues begin to be bold, our English rarely, or seldom, killing any of them. Never was there any either Spaniard, Mulatto, or Black, that since our generals went away did so much as make any tender of a desire of a composition. Both contrary; those few Blacks we had amongst us, that did formerly belong to the Spaniards, are run from us, even all but seven or eight, that are now kept with shackles to prevent them; amongst which Blacks that run from us there were two Irishmen went with them, who, as we apprehend, are with the Spaniard, and who cannot but know our condition, and we must, and cannot but acknowledge it as a great favour from God, that hath restrained them from cutting off our men, who are in as low and weak an estate as can be thought of.

As touching your highness's advice of raising some quantity of horse, we have put the army upon it, but we fear the condition of our men, and the difficulty of attaining horse are such, that they will effect little; yet what can shall be done. The truth is, they have with much difficulty kept so many horses as will draw up their provisions to their quarters; besides the horses in this country feeding upon nothing but light grass, in three days riding are unfit for service, when with much difficulty taken.

When your highness's commission and instructions to major general Fortescue came to hand, we forthwith sent for col. Doyley, and understanding your highness's pleasure was, nothing should be wanting to the carrying on of this business, and that the commander in chief of the army should act as a commissioner, we therefore established col. Doyley commander in chief of the army, to act with us as commissioner, till your highness gave further order. We cannot but be sensible of the state and quality of the commanders in general, men of no great high natural parts, and by much and long sickness, parts and abilities much impaired and weakened.

As for the state of our fleet, we sent out nine frigats and a dogger, to lie upon the coast of the main about Santa Martha, and those parts, under the command of viceadmiral Blake; admiral Goodson then, by advice of the council, staying in harbour with his ships. The squadron that went out were commissionated to stay six weeks, who did so, meeting with little but storms and bad weather, lost two of their foremasts, split and spent many of our sails, being much tattered and torn; arrived at their time in the port, two of which frigats were before Carthagena, viewed the harbour, and saw four or five ships therein. Two more of our frigats being beaten as low as Palme islands took there two poor plantation boats, and had this information, that there went from Carthagena to Porto Bello, a little space before their being taken, two small galleons and three small frigats, which as they conceived were to return from thence back to Carthagena as soon as our ships had quitted the coast; upon which intelligence we fitted five small frigats, which went hence the 10th of this instant to lie between Carthagena and Porto Bello. In the mean time we are fitting and careening those ships with us now in harbour, and are now endeavouring to bring them all in readiness for service, those five gone over to the main being commissionated to stay out five weeks. There will be no want of endeavours to comply with your highness's desires, as touching the fleet, so far as we are in a capacity. One of our men of war being a Dutch frigat, old, and intended as a fireship at her first coming out, was so battered and shaken at her last being out, that she is now unserviceable; and this ship, that brings this, being not very convenient for a man of war, we thought to send her home. Our seamen are generally in indifferent good health, some notwithstanding are sick; we have lost more than fourscore of them in the fleet since the Augustine went from us; we shall want recruits of seamen as well as landmen.

We have fifteen good ships in harbour, one that lieth windward of this island, and one now going to surround the island again, and five that are gone towards Carthagena, twentytwo in all, besides two or three small vessels, which as soon as may be shall be brought into one body; desiring in all things as near as we can to attend your highness's commands, though we cannot but apprehend it marvellously difficult to think where to meet with the Spanish, before they either come to us, or are to leeward of us. Which way he intends down we know not, on this side the island or on the other; the seas between us and the main are a hundred and thirty leagues at least. To divide our fleet, we think, in prosecution of such a design were not convenient; neither do we think it convenient or any way safe to leave the harbour without ships, before conveniently fortified, being well assured, that the enemy on the back-side of us vieweth our harbour often; and had not a considerable force of ships staid here, we do believe the land forces had been put to some difficulties.

As for our provisions, both fleet and army subsist wholly on those provisions sent to us; only some few refreshments now and then gotten on shore, but not any thing that saveth a basket cake. Our provisions spend much, some decay by worms, and other ways, the climate being such, that our English provisions are much more subject to decay here than in Europe. We have provisions for the fleet and army for about five months, being the greatest part of them in New-England provisions, which we hope may prove good.

We are all satisfied as concerning your highness's great care in our seasonable supplies, and wish, if it were the good pleasure of God, we were in a capacity to come forth in some action, that might answer so great love and tenderness to us. We had long since attempted St. Jago de Cuba, could our army have afforded us but 500 men; but from that full intelligence we had of the strength of the place, we thought it not convenient to hazard our chief sea forces without a convenient number of men fit to land.

We daily expect the arrival of the other ships your highness is sending to us: in the mean time are fitting all those we have, which we hope will be all equipt and fit for sailing and fight in six days.

It is our desire to attend your highness's command in keeping up love, unity, and amity between army and fleet, which through mercy we have attained to in a good measure, and hope that we are all willing to lay hands and hearts together in any thing, that may conduce to the carrying on to the end our work. We hope that God, who hath in righteousness laid us low, will humble our hearts before him, and in his time raise us up to the glory and praise of his name, which we believe is engaged in this de sign. Though we have met with many humbling providences, yet God begins somewhat to smile upon us; our men are not so sickly as formerly, and some gaining strength and spirits, begin again a little to revive. Our God sit us for what work he shall employ us in.

We hope we may say with some sincerity and with uprightness of heart, that we are ready to attend the will of God in your commands, and to act and give forth our selves according to that measure of wisdom and strength, as God shall betrust us with, and shall punctually attend the letter to your commands so far as we are in a capacity.

Our prayers to God are for you, that he would manage his own work in your hands to his praise and his people's good and welfare: there is spirit enough in him, that is the God of the spirits of all flesh; and such a measure we beg for you, as may enable you to act valiantly, to do some singular thing for Christ; which whether it be to be done in these remote parts of the world or no, we prosess we know not, but are waiting and looking out to see what may be the good pleasure of God to us, and do hope in his best season he will shew some signal testimonies of his will as concerning the work we are now upon; and do sometime think, he may fling away us that are here as people unsuitable to so glorious a work, and may raise up other people of a purer spirit, that may carry it on in a more spiritual way, or make us men of another spirit. Let the Lord send by whom he please, we believe you have an interest in heaven, and hope we are the subject of your prayers: we stand in as much need thereof as ever poor people did: an anchor cast within the vale will hold; if Christ own us, we continue and conquer. Sir,

Your highness's most humble
and most faithful servants,
Robert Sedgwicke,
William Goodsonn.

Admiral Goodsonn to secretary Thurloe.

Vol. xxxiv. p. 733.

Right Honourable,
Whereas I am bound to serve his highness and the commonwealth, and I can say with a good conscience I have so done since called thereto; and as grace and nature binds me to L - - - take care for my relations; and sir, it is thus with me, that since the year 49 in the said service I have not only served all my time for nought, but spent out of my own estate between four or five hundred pounds. It may be asked how others have done, whose salary have been meaner? how others have lived I know not; but this I can say, I have not spent what I have spent voluptuously, neither have lived below the commands conferred on me some years since. I bought in the fens five hundred acres of land, the greatest part in the South Level; and the last two years sowed near three hundred acres of cole seed, which was some dependance upon my family's supply; but I have heard, that by a flood God was pleased to take that away; and this also brings a great charge upon the land to the repairers of the banks, and to put another crop in the ground: what estate I have otherways if scattered abroad in the world by adventures and parts of shipping; so that I left my wife between two or three hundred pounds, when I came out. Upon these considerations my humble desires are, that your honour would be pleased to speak to his highness, that my wise may receive four or five hundred pounds out of my salary. I have invited my wise to give your honour a visit upon this account. Right honourable,

Torrington, Jan. 24, 55. In Jamaica.

Your honour's humble servant,
Wm. Goodsonn.

Nieupoort, the Dutch embassador in England, to the states general.

Vol. xlvi. p. 341.

My lord,
They are pressing seamen every where, to supply their fleet with men, being almost ready; and I am told, they have ordered 20 musketeers out of every company of all the regiments in England to be likewise put aboard of the fleet of this estate. The general Mountagu is gone into the country, to look after his domestic affairs, with an intention presently after his return to betake himself to the fleet General Blake, as I am informed, is to go abroad at beginning of the next week. There is yet no news from the West Indies. All the books, which were lately printed and seized on, are ordered to be burnt in Cheapside or before the Exchange.

The lord protector hath knighted the lieutenant of the Tower and coll. Tho. Pride, and also prick'd down those, that are to be sheriffs the next year in all the provinces. I am told, that in the city of Lincoln several gentlemen being met to see the dancing of the ropes, the roof of the house fell down at that present, and killed some 60 persons, and others hurt.

Westm. Feb. 4, 1656. [N. S.]

Nieupoort.

A letter of intelligence from the Hague.

In the possession of the right honourable Philip lord Hardwicke, lord high chancellor of Great-Britain.

Sir,
I Have received the bill of 1000 gilders, for which I give you most humble thanks. I am assured from two several places, that for a long time since, yea from the beginning, Brandenburg hath been agreed with Sweden and that he hath . . . . sua voluntate, being very glad to have an occasion in the mean time to arm himself: and I perceive, that Dantzick hath no good opinion of an alliance till such time as he hath done his business with Sweden with whom he joineth at present against Dantzick and against king of Poland Those of Holland are and remain very ill satisfied with Brandenburg in regard that he abandoneth the interest and the soul of commerce. They have reason as to Brandenburg but as to Holland itself, they have no reason, as having after the same manner rejected Bremen True it is, that the article between the Swede and Brandenburg is, and seems to be drawn up plausibly enough, that the toll in Pillauw and Memell shall be constituted mutuo consensu; and it is said, that Brandenburg will never agree, that the toll shall be raised higher than it is at present, conformable to the 16th article of the treaty, which the elector hath with the states general.

But it is conceived, that by a private article the elector hath explained, that he will agree to a toll in the Pillauw and Memell, conformable and equal to that in the Swedish ports; for otherwise the king of Sweden would have no benefit by this treaty, and by reason the elector doth delay so long before he communicates this treaty, that is taken for a sign it is not to the advantage of this state.

And seriously from all parts they advise, that all the opposition made by Brandenburg hath been only out of design; that Brandenburg was long since agreed with the Swede that Brandenburg was very glad of the occasion to arm himself, and to master his states, as well of Prussia as of Cleve, who have always very much alledged their rights, privileges, and liberty; yea the states general themselves have always defended and maintained in that the states of Cleve. But this time they help as it were Brandenburg to oppress and exact upon them, to the end to make Brandenburg to take up arms against the Swede But Brandenburg at present doth laugh as well at states general as at the said states. Yea I have advice, that in the country of Cleve he will cause new levies to be made, instead that having made peace with the Swede he would disband his troops. All this doth very much trouble states general and they do not know which way to turn themselves. But in effect Holland are so passionate for the commerce that they are like those lovers, that are blind and transported.

It is known, that formerly the embassador of states general did sollicite the protector to second by an embassador the embassador that states gener. will send to Sweden now having writ that the protector is resolved to send an embassador to the Swede yea likewise that the protector hath again declared, that he will wholly labour for a peace between the protestants, not desiring any advantage or inequality in the matter of commerce this giveth new jealousy, there being proposed, that the protector ought to be desired to pass an act of that in writing by the which the protector and Holland do reciprocally promise not to accept of the Swede any inequality in the matter of commerce Having writ thus far, I received yours of the 8/15 Jan. It is as you write, that the agreement between the Swede and Brandenburgh doth surprize the Holland and I do not believe, that the design of their fleet will proceed.

He, who at Stetin hath a correspondence with states general doth write true enough; but the most part is such a discourse, as is to be had upon the exchange at London. And least that may cause him to receive any prejudice by the Swede (for he hath no cypher) they burn his letter at present. Likewise I do hear, they will write to him to go towards the emperor.

That Holland should give any assistance here to the Evangelical Cantons, or even to those of Geneva, that hath no likelihood; and so much the less, in regard it is said, that the protestants have the advantage.

You write to the end to send you another direction, how you may write to me. You may be pleased to direct your letter to mr. Nicholas Henninck wonende in de Bagynestraet, teegen over Hetmanshooft; or you may direct to me in my own name and quality. But likewise if you desire another cypher, I will send you one.

Those of Twent and Deventer are already come; namely the lords Scheel, Bevervorde, Schrick and Newland; but those of the other four quarters are not yet come.

The assembly of the states of Holland will be precisely on the 15th of February.

The Hans towns have desired here leave to transport from Norway some wood in two ships directly for Antwerp, for the reparation of the house of the Osterlins [those of Norway]; but (under pretence to make report thereof to their principals) they have tacitly denied it, for fear of the consequence, having likewise refused it formerly to the English. I am

Feb. 4, 1656. [N. S.]

Your most humble servant.

Mr. J. Johnson to John Ashe esq; at Creshfoard in Somersetshire.

February 4, 1656. [N. S.]

Vol. xxxiv. p. 703.

Honoured Sir,
In my last, which was the 20th past, I gave you an account of the present state and condition of these countreyes, as alsoe the provisions of shipping, &c. that are making ready in Spain against the spring to secure their fleets and coast, and fight the English in case they appear any more in those seas; all which this weeke's letters from thence doe again confirm, and have brought orders to court, for to publish the warr against the lord protector of England; and they say something to that effect is already in the press to be printed, but whether it will be by declaration or proclamation is not known, neither being yet come forth; but it is certain there are sundry letters of reprisall given out to the capers at Dunkirk and Ostend, who make all the hast they can to putt out to sea, fearing least the English frigotts should come and block them up before they get out, which would not only spoile their intended designe, but alsoe ruin most of the undertakers. The Brest and other French pirates (which goe under the notion of Scots king's men of warr) being now banished the French ports, come tumbling into ours, and are very well received by the governors, which makes our cavaliers very jocund, although, for ought I can yet learne, they have no such great reason for it, governors of sea-ports being always ready to countenance pirates for their own private gains, and it's believed these have no other ends in it; for notwithstanding all the applications, that have been made by those of Collen to the Spanish court, and that the Scots king hath written himself sundry letters to the king of Spain; yet the Spaniard hitherto hath not been pleased to answer any of them, scarce taking any notice of their agents, and yet notwithstanding wee see he is resolved on a warr. This week's letters from Dantzick, and other places of Poland, brings us very great and certain news from thence; first, that the Tartars and Cossacks, which had made an irruption into that kingdom, while the king of Swede was bussied in his affaires in Prussia with the duke of Brandenburg, are totally defeated by general Douglas a Scotsman, whom he left in Poland as his lieutenant-general in his absence. Secondly, that to the astonishment of all, but especially the Hollander and the city of Dantzick, the Brandenburgher is agreed with the Swede upon very dishonourable terms; as first, that he the said duke of Brandenburg and his heirs shall receive the dukedom of Prussia from the king and crowne of Swede, and doe homage for the same. 2dly, That he shall now furnish the king of Swede with part of his army. 3dly, That there shall be a toll sett upon all ships that trade into the Baltick sea of 20 per cent. except English, which shall be free, the half to be received by the king of Swede, and the other half by the duke. 4thly, That neither those of Poland, nor the city of Dantzick, shall be comprehended in, or have any benefit by this treaty, but be left to themselves, with other articles less materiall, which for brevity I omitt to mention. Upon this agreement those of Dantzick presently sent agents to treate with the king of Swede; but he refused to hear them, till they first furnish him with 500 l. sterling, and cloths for all his army, which hath made those of Dantzick soe desperate, that they are resolved to stand it out to the last; and in order thereto have themselves burnt down all their suburbs, to the number of 4 or 5000 houses, and have sent for succour to the Hollander, who are now in debate concerning the same, as alsoe how they shall carry themselves newters between the English and Spaniards in this conjuncture, they being very loath either to give or receive offence from either, although they say they plainly see, that the lord protector of England's designe is to endeavor their ruin, and that he hath had a great hand in this Swedish business; and some write, that they are resolved not to suffer their ships, which pass the channel, any more to be visited or searched by the English, and that they will send to the lord protector, and signifye soe much unto him. What effects this may produce tyme will learne. This being at present all I have worthy your knowledge, I crave leave, and remain

Yours,
John Johnson.

All of us here (and especially my sister) enjoy our healths, and doe present our dutys and respects to your self and the rest of our friends in the country. But the great belly remains as yet in suspence.

Alderman Estwicke to secretary Thurloe.

Vol. xxxiv. p. 747.

Sir,
I Perceave, that something of that discourse, which you and I had at oure last meetinge, is come abroad, and it is apprehended by some, that I desire a place in the custom-house. Soe soone as I heard it, I did immediatly indeavour to waight upon yow to declare the contrary, but I found yow soe ingaged in buissines, that I could not come at yow. I intended to have beene with yow this morning, but am necessarily hindred; therefore am bold to present yow with these few lines. I am very confident of your love and respect to mee, and it may bee, that hath prevailed with yow to mention my name in relation to the custome buissines; if it hath, I pray let no more bee said of it. When any place falls, that I can freely and cleerely ingage in, I shall humbly crave your favour in it, and alwaies remaine

Jan. 25, 1655.

Your much obliged freind and servant,
Stephen Estwicke.

At the council at Whitehall.

Friday, January 25, 1655.

Vol. xxxiv. p. 751.

On reading a report from the commissioners of the admiralty and navy, mentioning, that they have an account from capt. Smith, commander of the Pearle, who lately came from Bourdeaux, that the English trading thither are denied to carry their guns up to the city, but forced to land them at Blaye, as heretofore was accustomed, for as much as the same is contrary to the late articles of peace betwixt his highness and France: Ordered, that it be referred to mr. secretary Thurloe to take care of this business, and to move his highness to give such order therein, as his highness shall in his wisdom judge meet.

W. Jessop of the council.

Major general Disbrowe to secretary Thurloe.

Vol. xxxiv. p. 763.

May itt pleas your highness,
I have now communicated your instructions to the commissioners of each county within my circuitt, and indeed have mett with much chearfulnes and resolution to the worke. The gentlemen of this county are very harty and cordiall, especially Anthony Rous, mr. Nicolls and colonel Ceeley. We have appointed tuesday to begin the worke att this towne, and have alsoe issued forth a sommons for other att Liskerd upon friday. I am this day goeinge to Pendennis, and have ordered the two militia troopes to meete me heare upon munday next, where I intend to muster them, and to give directions for the payment of them, and should begge your highness order for my authority and soe doinge in each county. Assoone as the worke is over, I purpose to passe by the way of Plymouth to Exon, where I shall waite for your highness further commands, and abide

Truroe, Jan. 25, 55.

Your highness most faithfull servant,
John Disbrowe.

Major general Disbrowe to secretaty Thurloe.

Vol. xxxiv. p. 755.

Sir,
I am now almost at the utmost extent of my journey intendinge this day for Pendennis, and upon munday doe hope to begin to sett my face eastward againe, and therefore must desyre you to hasten those orders I mentioned unto you in my last concerninge the payment of the militia troops. I shall venture to pay the two troopes heare, in respect I cannot returne hither againe. I have now imparted his highness and the councell's orders and instructions to the commissioners of each county within my charge, and have found much freenes and chearefulnes to the worke. I intend to give two meetings in this county, (viz.) upon tuesday and friday following, and then shall steare my course by the way of Plymouth to Exon. I shall againe begge you to be myndfull of the order for the payment of the militia forces, and to obtaine his highness further comands for him, who is

Truroe, Jan. 25, 55.

Yours in all integrity,
John Disbrowe.

Col. Robert Lilburne to secretary Thurloe.

Vol. xxxiv. p. 759.

Sir,
We are now upon the busines of the late plotters, and have proceeded against sir Richard Maliverar and major Robert Waters, who I heare is a prisoner in the Muse. I conceive you may have some considerable examinations of his, which if fitt to be communicated to any here, I entreate they may be sent, for the better inableing of us to proceede against whome they may concerne in these parts; but if not, I entreate that you will please to cause him to be examined upon this inclosed information, and that you will transmit his answere as soone as may be unto me; for this is like to be all the evidence will be gott against that daingerous man mr. Cuth. Carr.

I allsoe intreate to know how the case stands with mr. Geo. Lisson, who you took bayle of, and I doubt is now fledd, for we have sent for him but cannot yett heare of him, but of a report that he is gon beyond the sea. We had sir Henry Slingsby before us to day, and was readie to passe sentence upon him, but that he desired time to make some defence to morrow, which in justice we could not denie; we have every day some smale descovery, and indeede our hands are very full, but here has bene a good appearance of commissioners this weeke, which has bene a good helpe to sir,

Yorke, Jan. 25, 55.

Your most humble servant,
R. Lilburne.