126. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The king's commissioners have had several conferences with
those of Scotland, but no efforts have succeeded in persuading
the enemy to accept an honourable composition. They adhere
to their original point to continue their sojourn in this kingdom
and not to establish any kind of agreement except through the
authority of parliament, protesting vociferously that they submit
all their interests to the pleasure of that body. This is clearly
intended to preserve the goodwill of the parliamentarians and
to emphasise the community of interest between their cause and
that of the English. The subtlety of their arts therefore causes
great apprehension at Court, and the most influential ministers
express particular resentment at it. Nevertheless the king, with
perfect dissimulation, puts up with the audacity of that people,
and being unable to keep his troops in the field any longer, reduced
as they are by desertion and other disorders, has sent fresh
instructions and powers to the commissioners at Ripon, definitely
charging them, now that hope of a complete accommodation has
vanished, that they shall at least try to arrange an armistice, to
continue until parliament has met. When this was suggested
the Scottish deputies seemed to agree readily, but under false
pretexts they have hitherto delayed to sign it. To facilitate
the matter by every possible means His Majesty is disposed to
refer to the decision of parliament all the demands of the rebels,
and to permit them to send commissioners to represent their
case in parliament. This point involves such grave consequences
that it is considered most remarkable and only to be granted in
the last necessity. He further offers to supply them with 120,000
ducats a month, until these differences are settled by parliament,
for the support of their army, that the counties of Northumberland,
Cumberland and Westmorland shall supply them with
abundance of victuals at a limited and reasonable price, to
reestablish meanwhile the trade between the two kingdoms and
to restore to the Scots concerned all the ships and property
taken from them by the fleet these last months.
On the other hand the Scots so far do not seem entirely satisfied
with these conditions, advantageous as they are, and persist in
demanding a larger sum of money, pointing out that the amount
offered is not enough to feed an army of 40,000 men and more.
Here they are awaiting with curiosity the report of the result.
It is believed that the king, hard pressed in so many directions,
will not let the negotiations fall through on this head, it being
too important for him to ensure that the enemy, whose forces
and spirit are constantly on the increase, shall not attempt to
penetrate further into the country, as he undoubtedly could do,
with little or no opposition.
His Majesty has informed the queen by a gentleman sent
express that if an armistice is arranged here, he will return very
soon to be present at the parliament, which is to open on the 13th
of the current month. They have already sent to Tibols and
other places to prepare quarters for his passage.
Meanwhile this present week has been devoted throughout
the kingdom to the election of the deputies to send to parliament.
For the most part the choice has fallen upon the same persons who
were nominated in the last, who with seditious zeal audaciously
proclaimed their deliberate intention to restore to the public
liberty of the country its ancient prerogatives. Accordingly
there is greater fear than ever that reforms and changes of great
moment will ensue in the government of these states in the
future, not without a very considerable diminution in His Majesty's
Among the most curious views which are heard from the
mouths of the parliamentarians are those against the further
toleration of the residence of a minister of the pope with the
queen, or the further stay in this realm of the queen mother.
She and her councillors are blamed for having secretly given the
king advice against the religion and liberty of the realm. Although
these ideas are false yet they cause great perplexity to
the king and his ministers, as they fear that they may give rise
to some indiscreet decision by the parliament.
Through the Secretary of State Wilimbanck His Majesty has
renewed his representations to the minister of the Most Christian
here, about not waiting any longer to send an ambassador to this
Court, intimating that if they persist in showing such scant
esteem for His Majesty he will be obliged to recall the Earl of
The ambassadors of Denmark left on Monday on their return
to their master. They have left a very poor opinion here of their
ability and sufficiency in matters of state.
The Dutch Vice Admiral Tromp is scouring this Channel with
a squadron of well armed ships, awaiting those from the Spanish
coasts, which are understood to have sailed with silver for the
requirements of Flanders. This is all the news of the present
week, which though painful contains little that is fresh.
London, the 2nd November, 1640.
127. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
After many difficulties an armistice has been arranged between
the forces of His Majesty and the Scots, upon the conditions
reported, but with this difference, that the period of duration is
limited to two months, and instead of 20,000l. offered for the
maintenance of the enemy's army they have agreed here to give
them 25,500l. a month, to be paid by the neighbouring counties,
and recovered from the rest of the realm in proportion.
The queen does not express any pleasure at the conclusion of
this matter, nor the other ministers at Court either, declaring it
full of indignity and likely to lead to fresh inducements to other
subjects to rebel without fear, secure from this example, to win
instead of merited punishment, rewards and other advantages.
But those who are free from prejudice praise the moderation of
His Majesty at having adopted this cautious policy which the
emergencies of the time have shown to be highly opportune, to
escape imminent peril of worse disasters.
His Majesty left York on Tuesday and is expected in this city
tomorrow. Yesterday the queen moved to Tibols to receive
him there. It is not yet known what defence he has left for the
safety of the frontier or to whom he has left the charge of the
The first meeting of the parliament will take place on Tuesday,
as arranged. The king has intimated that he will not open it
with a formal procession or other solemnities, but privately.
The wisest do not approve of this decision, for it shows more
clearly than ever to his people that he consented to the summons
merely from compulsion by the enemy, and not of his own freewill,
to please the people. Thus instead of conciliating their goodwill,
at which he ought to aim particularly just now, he alienates them
over a matter of outward show which is of no real importance,
while at the same time he increases the admiration of the steps
taken by the rebels, to whose bold resolution they do not tire of
publishing aloud their indebtedness for the reestablishment of
liberty and religion alike.
The Scots have nominated eight commissioners to lay their
demands before parliament, (fn. 1) and many justly suspect that under
the pretext of treating with the parliamentarians about the
interests of their cause they mean seditiously to sow ideas pernicious
to the public quiet.
Many Catholics, alarmed by the reports that circulate openly
about most severe laws against those who profess the true Roman
religion, are hurriedly selling their goods with the intention of
going to live quietly in some other country until the present ill
feeling has softened and the troubled state of this kingdom has
There has been a great uproar in the city this week due to the
imprudent attempt of the Archbishop of Canterbury to introduce
new rites into the Anglican liturgy, namely an order for stone
altars to be set up in the churches and other ceremonies abominated
by Calvinistic error. These people gathered in great numbers
and violently entering the Church of St. Pauls, the cathedral here,
broke down the altar, and tore to pieces the books containing the
new canons. They then tried to kill the very ministers of the
archbishop, who escaped the peril by flight. Although this
seditious event caused grave annoyance at the palace, yet they
are proceeding with great tact over the punishment of the guilty,
in order to avoid giving incitement to more serious risings, to
which this libertine people shows itself more and more disposed,
and waits for nothing except a suitable opportunity.
The ambassadors extraordinary of the Catholic have sent a
courier to Spain asking for permission to return, as the further
sojourn of three ministers at a Court which is utterly unable to
transact any business soever with foreign powers, is not consonant
with the dignity of the crown which they represent, and the
ordinary ambassador can at present quite well meet all requirements.
By today's courier I have your Excellencies' letters of the
London, the 9th November, 1640.
128. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The king returned to this city on Wednesday and two days
later he allowed the foreign ministers to pay their respects.
After performing the offices suitable to the occasion, I presented
your Excellencies' letters already sent. I spoke as instructed
about the Ambassador Fielding's return and about the concession
to Colonel Douglas to remain six months longer in this country.
The king heard me very graciously and said that as he had no
further occasion for the services of Colonel Douglas, he could
return to Venice without further delay. He was a man of excellent
character and he cordially recommended him to the
Senate. I replied that your Excellencies had taken his absence
in admirable part because he had been engaged in His Majesty's
service, and you extended this liberality to prove your unalterable
disposition to please His Majesty, at all of which the king seemed
On Tuesday the 13th inst, the first session of parliament was
opened. The king went there privately and at great length
endeavoured to impress on the members that he had spontaneously
decided to call them in order to dissipate mistrust, show
the people his most just intentions and to find out by their advice
the true means of rearranging the disordered affairs of the crown.
He went on to refer to the pernicious undertaking of the rebel
Scots against this kingdom asserting that as at York he had
thought fit to refer the entire care of this most important cause
to the assembly of peers of the realm, and had settled nothing
without their advice and consent, so now he protested that he
submitted it entirely to the judgment of parliament, by whose
opinions he was determined to abide, in this and in everything
else, being ready to leave his royal person in the care of the
affection and loyalty of his subjects. He told them they would
hear more from the Lord Keeper. That minister subsequently
took up the threads of the king's speech. In a long discourse he
explained all that had happened with the Scots and repeated
elaborately the king's readiness to relieve his people and to
preserve their ancient privileges. With this the first session
ended which was characterised by the universal acclamations of
all those present, in the assurance that in the king's weakness they
will be able to direct all the deliberations after their own fashion.
The following days have been spent by the members in the
election of the usual ministers and in the verification of their
powers individually. Thus the discussion of more important
matters is postponed to next week. The idea that changes will
be made in the government is more firmly rooted than ever, with
fresh severity against the Catholics, and most severe punishment
for the leading ministers, who are doing everything in their power
to avert ruin, but amid the ferment of the parliamentarians it is
not thought likely that they will be able to escape the evils with
which they are implacably threatened by the whole community.
The Scottish commissioners have not yet appeared ; it is
believed that they are waiting a few days in order to see how
parliament gets on and to take action accordingly. Meanwhile
they asked for safe conducts under the great seal of England,
which were promptly supplied and sent to York yesterday by
special courier, so that Conway, the general of the cavalry, may
pass them on to the Scottish leaders, who are quartered with the
army about Newcastle.
A gentleman of Madame de Savoy has arrived at this Court.
He brought letters to the king and queen with compliments on
the birth of the new prince, and it does not appear that his
offices extend to anything further.
London, the 16th November, 1640.
129. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The parliamentary session is proceeding actively. The king
went there again, in accordance with custom, to receive the submission
of the Speaker, a minister chosen by the Lower House to
transmit to the king and the Upper House their petitions and
decrees. The king took this opportunity to offer his excuses in
a matter which had excited some ill feeling among the lords,
because, contrary to the agreement of Ripon, he had called the
Scot's rebels, in his speech at the opening of parliament. He also
repeated his readiness to give the people the utmost satisfaction,
adding that he would do nothing in future without the sole
approval of parliament. He was so effusive in these assurances,
showing so much submission that came ill from the mouth of a
great prince, as to leave many with the impression that his
remarks were suggested by the consternation of one terrified by
apprehension of personal danger, rather than calculated prudence
for the purpose of redeeming the love of his subjects (e multiplico
in questi propositi con concetti di tanta summissione che come
mal accommodati nella bocca d' un gran Principe hanno lasciato
dubbio in molti, se gli fossero suggerited alla consternatione piu
tosto del cuore intimorito nell' apprehensione di proprii pericoli
che da affettata prudenza ad oggetto di ricomprare l' affetto de
However that may be these suave methods have by no means
diverted the members from their original designs to strike at
his authority and ministers, and to deprive the Catholics of the
connivance which he has compassionately extended to them
hitherto. Thus in the subsequent meetings some of the members
either more zealous or possibly more seditious, lest the king's
dulcet voice might have won over the hearts of the majority,
endeavoured, in long speeches, to persuade that while in past
parliaments moderation had proved most effective, in the present
crisis it would be most harmful. They could not cut at the root
of the disorders except by extreme severity. When His Majesty
heard of this, to forestall their decisions and to show himself
equally estranged from the Catholic faith, he issued a public
decree, in conformity with ancient laws, though never observed,
that the Catholics must leave this city and not approach within
ten miles, and has since informed both Houses of parliament of
this step by the Lord Keeper. (fn. 2)
The first positive act of the parliament has been the sudden
arrest of the Lieutenant of Ireland, a leading minister and the
most favoured by His Majesty, who without reserve always
showed a great partiality towards the interests of the Spaniards.
His crimes have not yet been definitely announced. It is
rumoured in general that it is for treason and lese majesté, charges
which are applied by the passion of the parliamentarians from
his having attempted to introduce foreign troops into this country
to aid the king, who are forbidden to enter by ancient constitutions
of the crown.
They are formulating a vigorous process against the two
secretaries of state. They are accused of having carried out
His Majesty's commands in matters which, by decree of parliament,
it was not lawful for him to command or for them to
Cottington who was charged with the custody of the Tower,
has been removed from his post by parliament, and the troops
dismissed which were in garrison there, and all the guns dismounted.
Many other ministers are threatened and men are fearfully
anticipating the news of other changes of moment soon. The
parliamentarians let it be freely understood that they will not
allow the parliament to be dissolved any more but only prorogued,
so that it shall meet every year. If this happens no further
authority will remain to the king than to be the minister and
executor of the will of his people, incapable of himself of entering
into negotiations with foreign princes or of any other movement,
however just or beneficial.
At the palace they feel a just resentment at these highly
pernicious efforts and ideas, embracing these far reaching proposals,
but the king, destitute of power and of credit, with his
subjects all conspiring for the same objects, must bow to necessity
and wait until time affords him the means to restore his falling
Nothing has yet been done about the differences with the
Scots, and they are awaiting the delegates. Meanwhile the
Scots are diligently perfecting the fortifications begun at Newcastle,
and it is said that these are now in a condition to resist
any army however powerful. Accordingly if the rebels are not
disposed to retire to their own country by means of negotiation,
it will not be easy for the English forces to turn them out.
The Dunkirkers have suddenly sailed out with several shallops
admirably armed. They fell in with some Dutch ships returning
from the Indies, and after a valiant fight three laden with sugar
remained in their hands, the others escaped to the ports here and
The Turkish Chiaus saw His Majesty on Sunday. He was
fetched to the Palace in the Chamberlain's coach and received
by the king in the Great Hall, where audience is given to the
ambassadors of kings, but always seated and without uncovering.
London, the 23rd November, 1640.
130. Thadio Vico, Venetian Resident in Germany, to the
Doge and Senate.
Prince Rupert obtains more liberty every day, to go in and out
of the city and for hunting in the country and other diversions.
They say that the emperor will grant him free apartments in
Vienna, the 24th November, 1640.
131. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
Seven delegates of Scotland arrived in this city on Saturday.
They were met by the principal lords and acclaimed by the
universal shouts of this libertine populace, which by such a
conspicuous demonstration of delight has confirmed its approval
of the invasion of the kingdom by their armies, as the best way
of obtaining all that they have hitherto aspired to in vain. They
are waiting for the last commissioner, who fell sick on the road. (fn. 3)
On his arrival they will take up the negotiations for an agreement.
It is the common opinion that these will proceed slowly, the
English conspiring tacitly at the sojourn of a hostile force in their
country until the fabric of their far reaching designs has reached
perfection, all alike opposed to the true worship of God and to
the rights of the royal sovereignty.
By order of parliament a universal fast was celebrated on
Tuesday in this city and throughout the realm, and public prayers
to implore the divine assistance in the present grave state of
affairs. On that day the ministers of the churches delivered from
their pulpits seditious sermons stirring up the people to put down
the Catholic religion entirely and to use this favourable opportunity
to restore to England her lost liberty. Exalting to the
skies the generosity of the Scots they positively assured the people
that these were angels sent by God to deliver the kingdom from
idolatry and tyranny. These ideas, so full of impiety, found a
ready hearing and the adherence of those present, with serious
injury to His Majesty, owing to the consequences, and increasing
the ever growing danger of the Catholics. On Sunday when
many of these were hearing mass in the queen's chapel, a great
number of Puritans assembled and when they came out of the
church, attacked them furiously with stones and weapons, so
that with the crowd and resentment growing on both sides, there
was danger of a serious scandal, had not the magistrate who is
charged with the peace of the city hurried to the spot, and quelled
the tumult, with no little trouble.
Parliament has held several discussions this week, for the
most part wasted in long disputes without settling anything of
moment. They have only agreed in pushing on the trial of the
imprisoned Lieutenant of Ireland. They are most diligent in
bringing every evil upon this leading minister, and implacably
disposed to use his great wealth and that of others whom they
intend to punish, as a fund to meet the entire payment of the
debts contracted by the king in these last events and by this
means to avoid placing fresh burdens upon England.
Parliament informed the king by six members of the arrest of
the Lieutenant. His Majesty suppressing with the dissimulation
necessary in these times, his very natural feeling of bitterness,
replied that as he had referred all the interests of the monarchy
to the decision of parliament, he was resolved not to protect
anyone, feeling sure that the parliamentarians would proceed
with sincerity and would not allow innocence to perish.
They have sent to Ireland for the arrest of two leading ministers
from whose evidence parliament feels certain to obtain certain
proofs of the Lieutenant's guilt. They are showing great activity
in the matter of the two secretaries of state, and although the
king has intimated that all they did was by virtue of his orders,
the parliamentarians have not so far consented to admit this
reasonable excuse. Nevertheless it is believed that the second
secretary, who belongs to the Puritan party and is new to the
office, will not suffer, whereas total ruin is predicted for Windebank,
who is the first and has always openly taken the party of
The Upper Chamber has entrusted to 25 parliamentarians the
duty of making a careful enquiry to discover the name of those
councillors who persuaded His Majesty to break the treaty of
peace arranged with the Scots last year. It is proposed to punish
them severely as disturbers of the public quiet. This is clearly a
pretext to remove from the Court the ministers most in favour
and by this means to deprive His Majesty of advice and of all
For the maintenance of the English troops in quarters in the
county of York and to meet the payment of the hostile army, the
Lower Chamber has voted that a sum of 100,000l. shall be levied
promptly from all the counties, in due proportion, but on the
express condition that it shall be controlled by commissioners of the
parliament, and not by the king's treasurers, an innovation
aimed at what is most essential in the royal authority.
The Dutch ambassador has seized the present opportunity to
urge the most important ministers, in the name of his masters,
to take steps to give vigorous assistance to the Palatine, after
they have settled their domestic affairs. If this is done he promises
that the States will cooperate promptly to secure advantage
for that House by every possible means. Nothing has yet been
said in parliament about this important particular, and although
considerations of religion, of policy, of blood and of honour
conspire together for this cause, yet interest, which is against
becoming involved in further troubles, and avarice, the only
pole star which rules in this country at the present time, make it
unlikely that anything will be done in the matter, although it
would be most beneficial, and equally glorious for this crown.
London, the 30th November, 1640.