60. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
Parliament has not so far come to any decision about granting
the contributions demanded by his Majesty. They have spent
the whole of this week in an enquiry into the misconduct of
several ministers, all the disorders of the present government,
and the introduction of fresh gabelles, with long speeches about
correcting the former and escaping the latter. The king, on
his side, being carefully informed of everything, with the object
of putting a stop to these designs and abbreviating the satisfaction
claimed, sent for the members two days ago, and repeated
with emphasis his request that they should vote without delay
the subsidies he asked for, admonishing them not to spend time
on other matters, but postpone the discussion of them to a more
opportune moment when he will be ready to give just satisfaction
to his people and in particular to suspend ship money. That
is the point upon which the parliamentarians seem to lay most
stress, especially in the Lower House. It does not appear that
these new offices produced any fruit, when the parliament met
again, and all prospect of providing in this way for the serious
requirements of the crown seem as uncertain as ever.
The Lieutenant has arrived at Court from Ireland. His
Majesty received him with the most conspicuous graciousness.
By his advice they have released one of the Scottish commissioners ;
but the others remain prisoners, (fn. 1) and they continue the
proceedings against the one who signed the letter to the Most
Christian. By his Majesty's order they have printed this with
an addition expressing his Majesty's assurance that so great a
king will not listen to the odious requests of a rebellious people.
They have sent strict orders to the governor of York to send
6000 of his militia to the frontier with all speed to prevent the
enemy from attempting some surprise attack, because at the
news of the arrest of the deputies they fear the Scots may invade
that fertile country, destroying by fire and plunder the food
stuffs destined for the royal army.
As letters from France lead the Duchess of Chevreuse to believe
that her husband's journey to these parts draws nearer and
nearer, she has besought his Majesty to extend his protection to
this circumstance, and induced the Ambassador Vellada to ask
for assurances ; but the king declined on the plea of not wishing
to separate husband and wife. Accordingly, from fear of trouble,
the duchess decided to cross to Flanders, and she set out for the
coast (fn. 2) on Wednesday, accompanied by the royal coaches and
the Spanish ambassadors. Three ships of the fleet will take her
over to Dunkirk. Before she left the queen gave her a rich jewel
worth 12,000 crowns. The Catholic ministers greatly regret her
departure, owing to the strong support which they lose at this
Court and equally because they conclude that his Majesty's
reluctance to grant the protection desired was to avoid offending
the Most Christian, and Cardinal Richelieu most of all.
The Ambassador Malvezzi made his public entry into this city
yesterday, and it is thought he will have his first audience of his
Majesty on Sunday. After this the ambassadors should produce
the details of their instructions, about which everyone is very
curious. I have not yet visited them. I will do so as soon as
my health allows. I have been obliged to keep my bed for
several days. Meanwhile mutual courtesies have been exchanged,
promising relations on an equality.
Vilinbanch returned from Paris on Friday. From his report
and the overtures made by the French secretary here they have
sent powers to the Earl of Leicester to hear and report all that
is said to him about some arrangement with that crown in the
interests of the Palatine House, and to urge that the liberty of
the prince be not limited by the obligation not to leave that
country without the Most Christian's consent. They desire
this for reputation more than for anything else.
They have granted permission to the Duke of Lorraine for
the recruits he wanted, and the Marquis Villa, having fully despatched
his master's affairs, crossed to Flanders with Madame de
London, the 4th May, 1640.
61. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to
the Doge and Senate.
The alliance with the King of England is considered a certainty,
as it is stated that that sovereign is most determined to arrange
it, and for this purpose he has brought over to his side the leading
men of the parliament, who are discussing the best way of sending
the troops who have been promised to him. So far no news has
come of the arrival or negotiations of the Marquis Malvezzi.
Madrid, the 5th May, 1640.
62. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to
the Doge and Senate.
On the side of Normandy, with the incitement of the English,
they are always afraid of some troublesome intrigue. For this
reason the Duke of Sevrosa has set out for England, from whence he
is to try to remove his wife, who is considered the more dangerous
instrument in the present troubled state of affairs. From the same
considerations they are about to grant leave to the Palatine also to
return. If the King of Great Britain would make up his mind to
treat here they would readily agree to give him the control of the
Weimar forces, especially now the duke of Longueville is out of the
Suresnes, the 8th May, 1640.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
63. Marco Foscolo, Venetian Proveditore of Zante, to the
Doge and Senate.
I enclose evidence of the existence of an understanding between
Hyder and Valpano about the purchase of booty taken by pirates
of Tunis. Three persons who were at Modon at the time have
declared that if Hyder had not supplied the money the pirates
would have been obliged to give up the booty, as Valpano had
no money, and others would not have risked the cost in the
presence of the galleys. They also declare that Hyder and Valpano
recently sent a polacca to Messina with a cargo of wool and
hides which formed a portion of this booty.
Zante, the 30th April, 1640, old style.
64. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday the Ambassador Malvezzi had his first public
audience of their Majesties, which was merely complimentary.
The next day he saw the king privately and set forth the commissions
with which his master had sent him here, asking that
commissioners might be appointed to confer with him. From
what I gather his commissions are confined to inviting this crown
to make a mutually defensive alliance. The Catholic proposes
the following conditions apart from others which are as yet kept
secret. That this crown shall secure to the Spaniards the navigation
of the Channel and co-operate in the defence of the Flemish
coast towns with a naval squadron which shall patrol this section
of the sea. It is subsequently to assist the forces of the Catholic
in the Indies with a definite number of ships, to turn the Dutch
out of Brazil. The Spaniards, on their side, offer the king powerful
assistance to reduce the Scots, to supply a monthly subsidy
sufficient to pay for the ships, and to grant to English ships and
men every freedom in the Indies. No reply has yet been given
to the minister, and there seems no likelihood of the proposal
being embraced, since everyone recognises that this is only a
specious device to lead this crown by slow degrees to make those
declarations which it has so far most studiously avoided.
The Ambassador Vellada has not yet negotiated anything,
and it has not yet transpired whether his instructions are the
same or 'different from those of Malvezzi, though it should be
known very soon. Meanwhile little or nothing has been said
about the marriage of the princess here since the departure of
Madame de Chevreuse, and the queen becomes more and more
suspicious that the Spaniards do not really mean to conclude
this business. In my weak health I have visited both ambassadors,
and they have left me with nothing to desire in the matter
of equality. In the matter of Cardinas' coachmen I have received
no other satisfaction than a private statement that the resident
had nothing to do with it.
As a grandee Vellada will not show the papal resident to the
queen the courtesies which the French and Spanish ambassadors
have conceded to him without question. This minister has
asked me to speak to Vellada, but though I expressed my readiness
to help him, I shall act with caution and only if sure of
After many offices by his Majesty to induce parliament to
grant subsidies the Upper Chamber at length voted in favour of
gratifying the king's demands before receiving the satisfaction
claimed from him. When the Lower Chamber, without whose
consent money cannot be granted to the king, was informed of
this decision, not only did they refuse to concur in these sentiments,
but protested against the encroachment of the other
house in taking such action by itself, and claimed that it should
be struck out of the records. The king, realising more and more
the difficulty of obtaining by gentle means the contributions
for which he has asked parliament, has intimated clearly that if
the members remain so obdurate he will dissolve the assembly
without more ado and will use the royal authority alone to compel
the people to pay the taxes required to meet the expenditure for
present emergencies. If this occurs we may foresee dangerous
risings in this kingdom also, involving irreparable ruin.
The Scots have established their quarters on the Tweed, four
miles from Berwick. They are entrenching themselves strongly
and have recently taken prisoner some of the king's soldiers.
The royal forces are marching with all speed to the frontier.
The Earl of Northumberland has orders to be there within
twenty days. Rumours from the palace state that when his
Majesty has got rid of parliament he will take the field himself,
but it is not thought that the nobility will go with him as they did
to York. Meanwhile the Scots are harassing Edinburgh castle.
Besides completely cutting off all the water they hold all the
approaches and prevent food getting in. The governor defends
valiantly, frequently firing his guns on the city which receives
but little harm, being protected by the new fortifications. They
await the latest news here with great impatience.
3000 Spanish infantry have arrived in the Downs from
Corunna. Without landing they proceeded to Flanders, escorted
by a ship of the fleet.
London, the 11th May, 1640.
65. Giovanni Grimani, Venetian Ambassador in Germany,
to the Doge and Senate.
News has reached here of the release of the Palatine and of
the stately manner in which the Most Christian and the Cardinal
treated him. I fancy that the emperor, on his next journey,
will release Prince Rupert, when he passes through Linz, and
thus compete with France in his courtesy and favour to this
second son, in order to win him over by such means to devotion
and attachment to their own side.
Vienna, the 12th May, 1640.
66. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to
the Doge and Senate.
In a special audience of His Majesty lately the English ambassador
referred to the Scottish mission to his Majesty and read
him the letter written by them to him, asking for his help and
protection. He intimated how little it would accord with the
good relations between him and the King of Great Britain if he
decided to give ear to the latter's rebels. The king replied that
he had no knowledge of the matter and the ambassador could
assure his king that he would not listen to any proposals to his
disadvantage, especially from his subjects. These words apparently
satisfied the ambassador, but at bottom the English do
not feel quite sure that here they would not be glad to see the
troubles of Scotland increase, to ensure them against any invasion
in concert with the Spaniards, which the Spanish ambassadors
in England may be negotiating. These apprehensions contribute
greatly to the advantage of the Normans. The Court of Aides
of Rouen has obtained its licence and they are working for the
restoration of the Parliament there.
The Palatine still remains at Paris, no longer defrayed by the
king but at his own expense. Little or nothing is said at present
about his departure.
Suresnes, the 15th May, 1640.
67. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
As requested his Majesty appointed five commissioners for
the Spanish ambassadors, all professedly well affected to that
crown. (fn. 3) They held their first meeting on Tuesday in the house
of the Lieutenant of Ireland, who is one of them and with most
influence. The ambassadors afterwards sent a courier with all
speed to Spain with an account of their negotiations to date.
It is confirmed that their proposals correspond exactly with
what I wrote. With respect to the amount of money, which
was not specified, they have definitely offered that the Catholic
will pay the king 4 million ducats at set terms on condition that
he maintains 35 armed ships in the English Channel and undertakes
the defence of the ships and towns bathed by those waters,
Dunkirk, Gravelines and Ostend being named. The Catholic
to provide himself with ships, men and every other provision
of war in the ports of this country, without asking for fresh leave
or paying any imposition.
The king and ministers highly commend these great offers as
advantageous and decorous, but many important considerations
oblige them to proceed with caution in carrying the matter
through. The chief reason which makes his Majesty hesitate
is his persuasion that the payments will not correspond with
this liberal offer of four millions, since he knows well the present
state and most urgent needs of that crown leave no hope of its
being able to meet so great a payment. In the second place his
Majesty has great misgivings that in fulfilling the articles of
alliance English ships will not be able to avoid a collision with
Dutch ones, and in consequence this crown will become involved
in a breach with those Provinces, with whom they judge it expedient
to maintain the old standing peace. Meanwhile the ambassadors,
in order to remove his Majesty's suspicions that their
master will not make the payments he promises, announce that
they have remittances here sufficient to meet the first payments,
and for the future they say that in case of default his Majesty
can compensate himself from the money which passes this way
from Spain in great quantity every year, on behalf of the
The Dutch Ambassador Joachimi works hard to thwart these
Spanish transactions, trying to discredit their offers and pointing
out the considerable harm they will do to this monarchy. But
his efforts do not make the impression that he and those interested
in the public cause would desire, because the most important
affairs of state here are now in the hands of ministers disposed
to assist at all costs the success of the Catholic's plans ; and if
France does not soon decide to send an ambassador here, to
counteract the intrigues of the Spanish ones with vigour, they
may find that the king, in his grave need for money, has at last
yielded to the promises and arts of the Spaniards.
The insuperable reluctance of the Lower Chamber to vote the
subsidies asked for has at length forced the king to dismiss them.
So on Monday, in the royal robes and other insignia, he went
unexpectedly to parliament, where he ordered the Lord Keeper
to publish the act of dissolution, everyone being ordered to withdraw
to his own house. They did so, amid the murmurs of
the people, who felt certain that England will not see parliaments
for a long while, and that the king, throwing aside all respect for
the ancient laws, will lay fresh taxes on his people. A decree
has already issued obliging everyone strictly to make a loan for
the expenses of the levy which they are actively making everywhere,
although with some difficulty, as the people show themselves
unwilling to bear arms against the Scots.
Strong steps are being taken against those who seditiously
oppose the king's demands in parliament, and they say the prisons
will soon be full of people of rank. Among many others they
name Lords Bruc and Se, nobles with a large following and both
leaders of the Puritan party, which is the predominant one in
The Scots prosecute the siege of Edinburgh. At the palace
they fear that with food giving out the place will fall into their
hands. Accordingly they have written with all speed to Ireland
so that the 8000 foot and 1000 horse assembled in that country
may be sent across to Carlisle without delay, so that they may
invade Scotland with the whole of the king's army, and try to
relieve the castle by this diversion.
The naval force also will be ready in a few days. Twenty
ships, admirably equipped will sail from the Thames for Scotland
this week, with orders to cut off the trade there completely, as the
generals consider this the surest way of subduing the obstinacy
of the rebels.
London, the 18th May, 1640.
68. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the
Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
The bulk of the Cardinal Infant's army is said to be of little
use for fighting. Yet an encounter is feared as the Prince has
sent for the two nations which are most successful in deeds of
arms, the Scots and the English, who are accustomed to achieve
miracles through the incitement of the rivalry between them.
The Hague, the 20th May, 1640.
69. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The dissolution of parliament has increased the irritation of
the people here to such an extent that, throwing off all restraint,
they have not hesitated to break into open revolt against the
present government. Last Saturday several placards appeared
in the most conspicuous parts of the city urging every class to
preserve their ancient liberty and chase the bishops from the
kingdom, as pernicious men ; inviting them to meet on the Monday
in fields near by to secure in union the death of many leading
ministers, reputed enemies of the commonweal. They threaten
by name the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Marquis Hamilton
and the Lieutenant of Ireland, being the persons who have most
influence with his Majesty. Accordingly on that day two thousand
men assembled at the appointed place supplied with weapons
and with drums beating proceeded in a riotous manner to the
archbishop's house with the purpose of slaying him. Being
warned of his peril a few hours before, he fled secretly to the palace
leaving armed men to defend his house from the insolence of
the rioters. (fn. 4) Having ascertained his flight they decided without
more ado to withdraw, announcing that they would come back
and visit the houses of other ministers in even greater numbers
and better armed. Regardless of respect they affixed to the
royal palace on the following day fresh placards stating that all
the efforts and authority of the king and queen would not suffice
to save that minister and the others from death.
In the county of Dorset and others where they are collecting
soldiers to send to the Scottish frontier, when the news of the
dissolution of parliament arrived as they were about to march,
they stopped and steadily refused to serve against that people.
Such acts as these meet with great approbation and declarations
that the example will be followed.
The king and all the ministers attach a due importance to these
events and in order to prevent the mischief from spreading, as
everyone justly fears, they have brought several companies of
horse into this city, and have issued strict orders that diligent
watch shall be kept in every parish, to prevent people gathering,
at all costs.
They have taken four pieces of artillery to the archbishop's
house, and the lieutenant's is also well defended as well as those
of everyone who might fear popular tumult.
The Spanish ambassadors also conduct themselves very discreetly,
as many, especially the Puritans, complain that their
offers of money to the king have hastened the dissolution of
parliament, and so they also are publicly threatened.
To the Counties where the disobedient troops are they have sent
the Earl of Suffolk and other lords of credit and influence, to
induce them to move and to scour the country in order to prevent
the peasants revolting, about which they are very uneasy at the
They are making great efforts to discover if the rising in London
is encouraged by persons of rank and quite fifty of the mutineers
are prisoners at this moment. From their statements they hope
to obtain more definite information about the number, condition
and objects of the malcontents, to guide their conduct and prevent
greater disorders in the future.
The governor of Edinburgh, in recent letters, has notified his
Majesty that as the Scots are pressing the siege hard, he will have
to surrender the castle if he does not receive help speedily. As
his Majesty finds himself without the good will of his subjects or
the money to increase his forces either, he has no means of
supplying the help asked for, and so the loss of that important
place can be foreseen soon, the only one that has taken the royal
side in the country.
Amid all these troubles the king adheres steadily to his resolution
to obtain from the people by force the money necessary to
maintain the war against Scotland. He has demanded a loan
of 200,000l. from this city. As this has been openly refused, he
now proposes, in great wrath, to compel the most substantial
merchants to pay it down. For this he sent for the Aldermen,
so that they may divide it out among the richest ; but as they
declined he has had them imprisoned, amid universal murmurs, (fn. 5)
and the prediction that if he does not abate his demands and release
the aldermen, it will so increase discontent that the people
here will act as vigorously as the Scots.
The Spanish ambassadors actively pursue their negotiations for
the alliance, but things remain as uncertain as ever and they have
as yet received no categorical reply to their offices. To their
proposals for a defensive alliance they have speciously hinted at
an offensive one as well, promising that if this crown agrees the
Catholic will so increase his contributions as to provide his Majesty
with the means of subduing his disobedient subjects. But the
commissioners have utterly rejected all overtures for this and
accordingly all the efforts of the ambassadors are devoted to
arranging the defensive one, if possible.
I have received your Excellencies' letters of the 18th and 27th
ult. I will do as instructed about the English captain who
bought goods of the ship Patignota from pirates, and will try to
get him punished as well as Hider, consul in the Morea, the
author of the mischief.
London, the 25th of May, 1640.
Postscript : since writing the above news comes that last night
the rebels to the number of 7000 gathered in the country and
proceeded to a house of pleasure of the Archbishop of Canterbury,
six miles from here, which they utterly destroyed. (fn. 6) At this
moment other bands of the same proceeded to the prisons,
knocked down the gates, slew the keepers and released all the
prisoners, especially those in custody for the riot of Monday.
Other acts of violence are momentarily expected, and so his
Majesty has reinforced the guards of the palace without delay
and caused companies of armed men to patrol the whole city in
order to prevent fresh disturbances, if possible. The archbishop
and other ministers, who are the objects of the popular hatred,
have abandoned their own dwellings and retreated to the palace,
while no little confusion reigns everywhere.
70. Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to
the Doge and Senate.
The day before yesterday the English ambassador spoke to
me at length about the affairs of the Palatine. He showed that
the king is much vexed at seeing the Prince bound not to leave
this kingdom. To dissimulate it he was resolved to pretend to
know nothing about it, he being merely told that the Palatine
was free and not the way. The ambassador intimates that the
Spanish negotiations in England may produce results very disadvantageous
to them here, and the ill feeling aroused by this affair
of the Palatine is the chief cause.
Suresnes, the 29th May, 1640.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]