71. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
Although the rioters have done nothing else since their assault
on the prisons and the archbishop's house, yet in the fear of more
mischievous attempts in the future they maintain exceptional
guard in this city. The king seized with serious fears that the
discontent of his people may induce him to the straits which overtook
some of his predecessors in the past, has wonderfully changed
in a moment his decision to compel them to pay by force, and
now all his thoughts are turned to conciliating the good will of
his subjects once more. To this end he has promptly released
the aldermen who were imprisoned, and it is reported that he will
soon, by a public declaration, relieve the kingdom of the payment
of many duties recently imposed. In order to disabuse the minds
of those who profess the greatest hostility to Catholicism of the
notion, most hateful here, that in secret he leans to the Catholic
faith he has renewed orders to the magistrates concerned to resume
the former severity against the Catholics. This city, to show its
appreciation of his Majesty's good will, has spontaneously granted
a loan of 50,000l. of their money, to use for present emergencies.
They have also deliberated a great deal this week about the
affairs of Scotland. It seems that they discover more and more,
by experience, the reluctance of the people here to take up arms
against them. This cools their ardour about continuing the
war, and they incline to return to fresh negotiations for a composition.
His Majesty has therefore unexpectedly released one
of the commissioners in custody, and it is said they will do the
same even with the one in the Tower, accused of signing the letter
to the Most Christian.
The affairs of the Spanish ambassadors remain as they were
without further progress. Owing to the agitation at Court
these last days and because the Lieutenant of Ireland has fallen
seriously ill, they have not negotiated with the commissioners.
Meanwhile M. d'Enflit has arrived from Holland, sent by the
States to the king with instructions to offer strenuous opposition
to the operations of these ambassadors. He has seen their
Majesties, and is making great efforts to expose the deceitfulness
of their proposals which are intended solely to commit this state
to break with France and the Dutch. In order to cut away the
pretexts of those who favour the interests of the Catholic he
assured his Majesty that his masters have no idea at present of
any attempt upon Dunkirk, nor do they aspire to any conquest
which might cause uneasiness to this crown, with which they
desire to preserve the best relations, and in the event of a treaty
of peace or a trues with the Spaniards they will gladly appoint
his Majesty as moderator within reasonable limits. If this
courteous intimation does not suffice to upset the negotiations,
I learn that his gentleman has instructions to protest definitely
that if his Majesty supplies the Spaniards with ships for the
Indies, Dutch vessels will engage and treat them as enemies even
if they fly the flag of this crown.
In addition to these matters they say he has brought an
invitation from the Prince of Orange to the queen mother, to
go and live quietly in Holland away from the civil disturbances
of this country, assuring her that if the States will not consent
to supply what she needs, the city of Amsterdam will gladly do so,
out of gratitude for favours received from her when she was regent
of France. It is thought that if the event proves the report of
these offers to be true, it will afford especial satisfaction in France,
as depriving her of the opportunity of helping the Spaniards at
this Court, and at the same time depriving the French malcontents
of so great a support.
Two ships have arrived here from Cadiz this week with a
considerable sum of money. This will be sent over to Flanders
with the usual escort of his Majesty's ships. I have just received
your Excellencies' letters of the 11th ult.
London, the 1st June, 1640.
72. Anzolo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to
the Doge and Senate.
Nothing is said about promotion. When anyone mentions
it to the pope he gets the answer that the creation of cardinals
is a formal election of so many enemies to his House. Barberino
also does not seem in any hurry about it.
The King of Poland has announced that if M. Visconti is not
made cardinal he will dismiss the nuncio and break off all correspondence
with this Court. They are also expecting the Queen
of England to nominate someone, who is expected to be the
brother of the Duke of Lemos or the Cavalier di Montagu. (fn. 1)
Rome, the 2nd June, 1640.
73. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to
the Doge and Senate.
Disturbances in Catalonia. Outbreak in Barcelona. At
Lisbon 1500 Portuguese infantry have been embarked on English
ships for Barcelona, and if things do not quiet down they may
not go on to Italy. The Marquis Malvezzi has sent word of his
arrival in London. They have sent a Spaniard after him with
secret instructions. They do not trust him entirely as he is an
Italian. It seems that they are not so confident now about the
alliance with England because of the continued disturbances in
Scotland. They say, however, that the princess will be brought
to Lisbon and educated by the Infanta Margherita.
Madrid, the 2nd June, 1640.
74. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador at the
Hague, to the Doge and Senate.
Their High Mightinesses feel sure that some understanding
exists between the emperor and the king of Denmark. That
sovereign laments the fresh troubles in England, as by virtue of
the alliance between the two crowns he expected vigorous assistance
in the Baltic. In addition to a number of ships promised
him by the king of England he hoped to obtain a sufficient
number of persons capable of managing ships, to furnish the
thirty very fine vessels which he keeps on guard at the Sound,
which are destitute of sailors and full of peasants. But the disturbances
of England diminish the probability of this help.
The Hague, the 9th June, 1640.
75. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish ambassadors have held many and lengthy consultations
with the commissioners these last days, but it does not
appear that they have approached any conclusion. His Majesty
moves circumspectly on his side, doubtful whether the promises
will be kept, and also fearful that to ally himself with the Spaniards
just now may cause fresh discontent among his people.
On the other hand the ambassadors no longer fear receiving any
serious blow from the enemy in Flanders this year, and possibly
they know how little able this crown is to take the steps they
desire. So they move more deliberately, with the object, I
gather, of awaiting replies from Spain to the despatches which
they sent by courier. Meanwhile serious quarrels have arisen
between the ambassadors, of which one hears frequently, with
amazement, so that their differences seem likely to do considerable
harm to their business here.
M. d' Enflit remains at Court. He says he will stay a long
time. Since his representations for thwarting the Spanish negotiations,
he has again set on foot the project of marrying the
second princess to the son of the Prince of Orange, making
various proposals advantageous to this crown. The queen mother
has taken up the idea with enthusiasm, but I fancy that the queen
does not approve, as she wants to provide better for her daughter.
Since the issue of the orders for dealing more severely with the
Catholics the recent rioting has entirely ceased. One of the
leaders was arrested and paid the extreme penalty for his grievous
fault, affording an example for others not to mix themselves in
such affairs for the future. (fn. 2)
As the hope of reducing the Scots to obedience by force grows
less and less, his Majesty adheres to his inclination to try gentle
measures. On Monday he sent one of the recently arrested
commissioners to Scotland, (fn. 3) on the pretext of getting the meeting
of parliament postponed, but with the principal object of sounding
the real sentiments of the people and initiating fresh negotiations
for an accommodation, if he finds an opening. To do this with
greater case and propriety the king proposes to go towards York
next month and to increase his army by four regiments of foot,
who are now being raised with great activity. The queen does
not agree with these peaceful counsels. With all her might she
tries to persuade the king to pursue the war with spirit against
the rebels until they are completely subdued. She not only
intimates the hope of obtaining large contributions from the
Catholics but even of obtaining some help from the pope. The
minister of his Holiness here adroitly encourages such vain
intimations, in order to improve the lot of the Catholics here, and
win the king's favour for himself. It does not escape notice that
the king is openly approaching the pope to get the younger
brother of the Duke of Lennox, who is closely related to the royal
house, promoted to the Cardinalate. (fn. 4)
The Scots on their side, know full well that it is at present
impossible for the king to subdue them by force, and to save
expense they have sent home the majority of their troops, with
orders to rejoin the standard at the first intimation. They are
now erecting a fort four miles from Berwick whereby they hope
to prevent invasion by land. The fleet, however, causes them
great inconvenience, as it prevents any ship at all from approaching
their shores. This week many were stopped, which were
conveying food and war material from Holland to Scotland.
Negotiations have been opened with Genoese merchants to
induce them to advance a loan to the king. In addition to a
security he offers them interest at the rate of 8 per cent. per
annum. It is thought that such an advantageous offer will be
accepted, and if so, the ministers hope that it will facilitate
providing for the crown's future needs, without recourse to
parliament. The Spaniards do not like this affair, being afraid
that if the Genoese start such a profitable business at this Court,
it will injure what they have with the Catholic crown.
Two gentlemen sent by his Majesty to the Palatine with letters
for the Most Christian were captured by the Dunkirkers while
crossing the sea, but when they announced that they were
servants of the king they were promptly set free. (fn. 5)
London, the 15th June, 1640.
76. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
A gentleman of the Earl of Dunfermline, the Scottish commissioner
who was sent to get the meeting of parliament postponed,
arrived in Court on Saturday. He brought letters for the
king stating that no representations could induce the people to
oblige his Majesty, and parliament met and confirmed all the
decrees passed in the recent ecclesiastical assembly. This bold
action has deeply incensed the king, and all hope of settling
affairs there by gentle means having failed, he is again considering
how to prosecute the war ; but the lack of money renders all
To the twenty ships commanded by Vice Admiral Pennington
they propose to add sixty small vessels, which usually bring coal
to this city. Many of these have already been seized in the river
by his Majesty's order.
In order to make the burden of the soldiers' pay tolerable,
they have reduced the pay of the cavalry of 24 soldi a day each.
The men complain bitterly and threaten to desert, so his Majesty
will probably be compelled to give them the full original pay of
150 of our lire, a month.
The securities offered to the Genoese for their loan do not
satisfy them and so they talk of the Court negotiating with
Amsterdam merchants for a considerable sum in cash raised upon
jewels or some other consignment. They have at length arranged
with the customs officials to have a prompt loan of 100,000l. of
their money, and they are also getting together a certain sum by
the sale of titles and appointments, but not enough to meet
By a new agreement M. d' Emflit has put an end to the old
disputes between the English and Dutch about the East India
trade. The conditions, which are not yet made public, not only
provide for a perfect understanding between the two countries
for the future, but cut away the hopes of the Spaniards of obtaining
ships to escort their fleets and other things. The same
gentleman has also made overtures to the king to use his influence
to bring about an agreement between the King of Denmark and
the States, over their differences. They told him that an ambassador
is expected here shortly from that sovereign, when the
king will make himself master of the facts of the case and will
then take action without fail to the advantage of both states.
Meanwhile there is a rumour that M. Arsem is coming back to
this Court in the capacity of ambassador extraordinary upon this
business and other affairs.
An extraordinary courier reached the Spanish ambassadors on
Wednesday, but what he brought has not yet transpired. One does
not hear that they make any progress with their negotiations ;
everyone believes that as the insincerity of their proposals is recognised
they will ultimately depart without arranging anything.
The Earl of Suffolk, who controlled the ports of the realm, has
passed away. His Majesty has granted his very important
office to the Duke of Lenuox, to the disgust of the English lords,
who do not think it decent or safe to hand over all the gates of
England to a Scot of such eminence. (fn. 6)
Four rich ships have arrived in this country from the Indies,
benefiting the customs to the extent of 40,000l. of their money.
London, the 29th June, 1640.