181. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
After the Upper Chamber has listened carefully for the space
of five weeks to the accusation and defence of the Lieutenant of
Ireland, the members of the Lower, fearing that the king's favour
and the excuses offered by the accused would help him to escape
the punishment of death, and desiring that he should no longer
live, have declared him guilty of treason and today are presenting
the bill to the Lords for confirmation. Although such a decision
is unprecedented, the city here approves and has presented a
paper to parliament to stir them up, stating that they will not be
able to find the loan of 120,000l. promised unless this minister
pays the penalty for his alleged crimes with his life, as the people
express a determination not to contribute before they obtain
this satisfaction. Other towns have made the same demand,
and all together conspire not to pay the subsidies unless they first
obtain this head. His Majesty, on the other hand is resolved to
run risks rather than give way. The upper Chamber also shows
itself much perturbed by this new step taken by the Lower, and
lets it be freely understood that it will never grant them the
prerogative of judging the peers of the realm, a privilege belonging
to the lords alone, as it is clear that if they once granted this
advantage to the people, every time parliament met it would be
in their power to put to death any of the Lords, always unpopular
with the lower orders, whom the people might demand. The
king does all in his power to encourage this idea, in order to bring
about an open division between the nobility and the people,
whereby he hopes he may find the most effective means to
re-establish his authority. But amid all this confusion and
conflicting passions no one would venture to say whether this
subtle design is likely to succeed. Every one fears that if the
fire of these differences is not extinguished by the more prudent,
it will finally break out in a terrible civil war, the issue of which
cannot fail to be extremely ruinous to the royal house, no less
than to all those who intervene in it.
Meanwhile His Majesty has secretly sent a sum of money to
York to be distributed to the troops quartered there, with the
idea of winning their favour and bias them in favour of impressions
which time and opportunity may present.
In place of the Earl of Northumberland His Majesty has
appointed the Earl of Holland to be the new general of those
forces. Although he is a leader of the Puritans and an enemy of
the Lieutenant, it is hoped that ambition and the profit of this
charge may lead him to revise his opinions. To Portsmouth also,
a sea port with a considerable fortress, he has sent Colonel Gorin
to inspect the fortifications, and provide the place with everything
necessary. It is said that in the event of fresh disturbances
breaking out the queen proposes to withdraw there.
The Agent Gerbier has unexpectedly arrived at Court from
Brussels this week, the resident with the Cardinal Infant. Although
he asserts that he has come on private affairs, they speak
differently at the palace, where all assert that he has brought
important public business. But the particulars are secret and
we must wait for time to disclose it. (fn. 1)
On Monday the young Prince of Orange arrived at Gravesend,
and on the following day made his public entry into this city,
being met by the royal coaches and the Earl of Lince, Great
Chamberlain of the Realm. He went straight to the palace,
where the prince and the Duke of York met him on the staircase.
Giving him the place of honour they led him to their Majesties'
apartments, who received him with great affection. The Dutch
Ambassador Arsem spoke in his name, and this formality over
he went on to visit the queen mother and then saw the princess
his bride. In the midst of these formalities it was noticed that
neither the queen nor the princess allowed him to kiss them,
a privilege which is usually granted to princes who marry the
daughters of this House. This has afforded further occasion for
much talk, by no means favourable to the accomplishment of the
marriage. The prince is now staying in the house of the Earl of
Arundel, richly prepared for him by the king, who defrays him
in magnificent style.
Owing to Holy week the rejoicings over the prince's arrival
have been postponed until after Easter. Meanwhile all the Court
and gentry are preparing gorgeous liveries and rich clothes for
the celebrations which will take place. I also have bought new
liveries, although of late I have been obliged to incur heavy
expenses, and the heavy blows I have suffered in the course of
my seven years' pilgrimage make me need rest rather than fresh
After many days' delay the Portuguese ambassadors have seen
the king a second time, and proposed to him an alliance between
the two crowns, to establish some agreement for the benefit of
trade. They asked permission to engage officers of this nation
for the service of their king, and to facilitate their negotiations
they asked for the appointment of commissioners. They also
asked that the Catholic king should not be allowed to export
food, munitions of war, levies of troops or to purchase ships,
which might be used against the crown of Portugal. The king
readily agreed about the officers and the appointment of commissioners,
though so far these have not held any conference with
Today I received your Excellencies' letters of the 12th ult.
I note the rules you prescribe for dealing with these ambassadors
and I shall await precise instructions from Sig. Corraro. Meanwhile
I rejoice that I have committed your Serenity to nothing.
Last week I sent my respects by the Secretary Agustini, but they
have not yet responded. This is probably due to lack of experience
rather than to ill will, but I shall not make any further
advances before they do their duty, as I am sure they will.
London, the 3rd May, 1641.
182. Thadio Vico, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the
Doge and Senate.
It was reported yesterday that Count Chefniler had returned
to Court and given himself up, confessing that he had wounded
Colonel Lesle, his companion in the mission of Egra to the Archduke ;
but said that he had been provoked. The cause is said
to have been his claim, as a Councillor of State, to have full power
also over the decisions (sentenze) of the war, and in precedence of
Lesle himself. The Colonel maintained the contrary with heat
so far as to draw his sword on the other. These two were appointed
to bring harmony among the quarrelling leaders of the
army. The Count has the advantage of being major domo of the
emperor, a knight of the Golden Fleece, besides other more
dignified appointments about the emperor. While his Majesty
will be sympathetic towards Lesle from a remembrance of the
large part he took in the assassination of Volestain, the Colonel
is unpopular with everyone for that very reason, and also because
he is a foreigner and too boastful about his good fortune.
Vienna, the 4th May, 1641.
183. Zuanne Zon, Venetian Secretary at the Hague, to
the Doge and Senate.
News of the landing of the young Prince of Orange in England
has reached his father, who is much relieved. The sailor who
brought the news says he saw 24 Dunkirk ships, which were
convoying the 2000 Walloons destined for Spain, as the Dutch
Admiral did not have time to get to the port of Dunkirk, to
prevent them from sailing.
The Hague, the 6th May, 1641.
184. Anzolo Correr, and Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian
Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Plessi Bensanzon, who has recently arrived at Court, brings
word of the capture by the Archbishop of Bordeaux of three or
more English ships, which were about to land wheat and other
munitions at Rose and Colioure for Roussillon (fn. 2) ; and that la
Motta Odancurt was moving on Tarragona with the intention
of attacking the enemy in his trenches.
Paris, the 7th May, 1641.
185. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in
England, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday the Ambassador Roe travelled to the coast on his
way to the Diet of Ratisbon. He will go to Holland first, where
he will congratulate the States and the Prince of Orange, on the
king's behalf, on the happy arrival of the young prince at this
Court. He will also confer with the Princess Palatine, assuring
her of His Majesty's constant affection, and to receive more
particular instructions from her about the interests of that House.
He takes letters of credence for the emperor with the usual
formalities. He will ask for the full reinstatement of the Palatine
in the electorate and all the states possessed by his father, but if
he cannot obtain this, as is expected, he is to abandon the point
of the Upper Palatinate and the electoral vote, to be left to some
other time, so as to avoid shame and prejudice, and then insist
with all his might on the restoration of the Lower at least. Even
in this it is feared that he will encounter most serious difficulties,
as the Spaniards are in possession of most of that country, and
other portions are held by the Duke of Bavaria, the Elector of
Mayence, the Archduchess Claudia of Halberstadt, the Duke of
Neuburg, and the Jesuits, and it is thought that the emperor will
have to work very hard to find a way of satisfying so many
princes and oblige them to do their duty.
The Spaniards profess themselves quite favourable to restitution,
but nevertheless they demand in exchange a considerable
sum of money, expended thereupon, the free passage of
Catholic troops through those states, and under the head of
security they claim to keep all the fortresses, or at least garrisons
in Franchental and Opnein. The ministers here declare that
they will agree to the passage, and his Majesty will pledge his
word for the maintenance of the agreement, but to the payment of
the money and the garrisoning of the fortresses they declare they
will never agree, so the hope of the revival of the fortunes of
that house after such prolonged trials seems more doubtful
After much pressure from the young prince of Orange and the
Dutch ambassadors their Majesties have at length agreed to the
completion of the marriage without further delay. The ceremony
will be performed in state on Sunday in the presence of the
minister and meanwhile the bridegroom has presented the queen,
the princess and the other princes of this House with rich jewels.
He is with his bride every day, shows himself with her in the
city and with her mother's permission has sealed their affection
with a kiss, so that the original doubts about this marriage have
died away. At the palace they say openly that he has brought
from Holland 1,200,000 ducats in gold bars, and has credits for a
like amount, and the whole is to be lent to the king by the Prince
of Orange, by virtue of a secret article in the treaty, to be used
in the troubles that surround him. Many believe these revelations
to be false, in spite of corroborative circumstances. Time
will soon show.
On Saturday in last week the Lower Chamber presented to the
Upper the bill against the Lieutenant of Ireland, making him
guilty of high treason, and consequently deserving of death.
No positive reply was given them, but time was taken for deliberation,
and the result is to be made known afterwards. The
Lords have spent numerous consultations on this important
crisis in long discussions and dangerous altercations, so that
nothing has been decided as yet, and what will eventually happen
still remains uncertain.
Meanwhile the king announces that he wishes to go to York
to take command of his army. This is increasing daily, with the
trained bands of the North, well disposed to His Majesty, and he
seems to have in mind a fresh attempt to bridle the temerity of
the Scots as well as the more seditious of the English. This
only increases the belief in the loan referred to. But those who
take a just measure of the present interests of this state without
bias are all agreed that money alone will not suffice to bring back
the people here to their original obedience, as with the exception
of the Catholics everyone is openly conspiring to uphold the
ancient privileges of the kingdom, at no matter what peril, so
that the wisest predict most harmful results to the king from such
attempts, instead of good.
The disposition of the people here against the Catholics grows
steadily worse. Learning that on Easter day (fn. 3) a number of
Catholics had gathered in the houses of the ambassadors of
Spain and Portugal, to hear mass as usual, a great crowd assembled
and proceeded to the spot, where they heaped insults on
the Portuguese, aspersing the honour of their ladies, and attempted
to force the doors of the Spanish ambassador and take away
his very goods. But the Mayor of London, who has the custody
of the city, came up and with much trouble prevented the riot
from going further. He is now having the embassy guarded by
numerous public guards, a clear sign that foreign ministers are
not safe here just now. Although I proceed very cautiously I
am subject to the same annoyance, from which I pray God may
London, the 10th May, 1641.
|186. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday in last week the king sent the Earl of Arundel to
this house. He told me that His Majesty hoped that the emperor
would soon release his nephew, Prince Rupert, and he would like
him to serve under the flag of the most serene republic. He asked
me to report this. He said the king himself would like to speak
to me about it. Apart from his birth the prince was endowed
with admirable prudence and intelligence. His house had many
connections in Germany and credit with the Swiss, so that it could
render excellent service to your Serenity. I made a general
and non committal reply upon your esteem for the House,
both for their own sake and their relationship to his Majesty.
I promised to report the proposal which I believed would cause
gratification, though I wished to say in confidence that the
Prince Palatine had not treated me personally as the greatness
of your Serenity demanded. I touched lightly on what had
happened to me last year when I arrived. The Earl replied that
the Palatine protested the utmost respect for your Serenity but
asserted that the Electors had never yielded place to the Venetian
Ambassadors. I added more on the subject and he said he would
speak to His Majesty, with the hope that everything would be
adjusted. Accordingly I saw the king yesterday and he spoke
to me at length and very strongly about Prince Rupert entering
your service and asked me to represent this all to you. He added
that from the result of this request he would gauge the constancy
of your Serenity's friendship and the sincerity of my pen. With
regard to the differences with the Prince Palatine he would do
everything that befitted the merit of the prince I represented.
I answered with the same cautious courtesy as I showed the Earl
saying moreover that if the prince would treat me as France had
done I would not fail to render him all the respect due to him.
The king assured me that he would not permit me to be treated
differently, as he always had your Serenity's honour at heart.
I feel sure, after what the king has said that the Palatine will not
fail to visit me, and so this difficulty will be decorously removed.
London, the 10th May, 1641.
187. Anzolo Correr, and Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian
Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Ambassador left unexpectedly last week without
seeing the king. He told me, Corraro, that he was going to
England on urgent private affairs and that he will be back in a
month. Nevertheless this has caused a certain amount of
umbrage at Court. La Ferte Imbo is to proceed to England in
two or three days, having received express orders from the
Paris, the 13th May, 1641.
188. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The marriage of the princess to the Prince of Orange was
celebrated last Sunday, as arranged. To render it irrevocable
so far as the tender age of the bride would allow, their Majesties
agreed that the Prince should associate with her (sunisca seco). (fn. 4)
This was done for two hours only in the presence of their Majesties
and all the Court without anything calling for further remark.
The Prince again showed his esteem for the bride with rich
presents of jewels and the Dutch ambassadors are now pressing
for permission to take her to Holland without further delay.
But the troubles which keep multiplying in this kingdom retard
a final decision and interrupt the rejoicings over this happy event
so important for the greatness of the House of Nassau :
The resentment of the Prince Palatine against the Prince of
Orange over this marriage in no wise abates, and he does not
trouble to hide his feelings. He has not called upon the bridegroom,
and although invited he would not assist at the banquet
with their Majesties and the wedded pair on the day of the
Every day of late the debates of the Upper Chamber have
fluctuated over the confirmation of the bill against the Lieutenant
of Ireland. The king, suspecting that the hatred of many
parliamentarians and the fear of displeasing the people would
influence them to pass it, went to parliament on Saturday in last
week. In an appropriate (accomodato) speech he represented to
both Chambers that having carefully listened to the accusation
and defence of the prisoner, while he recognised him unworthy
to exercise any office whatever in the future, from the unsatisfactory
way in which he had discharged his past ones, he could
not reconcile it with his conscience to declare him guilty of
treason. He protested that nothing whatsoever would induce
him to sign the sentence of death. He had no fear of the consequences,
which he would find a way of dealing with vigorously.
He added that he would not disband the troops in Ireland before
the Scots had withdrawn.
Moved by these resolute declarations of the king the members
separated in a great state of excitement. Having made known
their sentiments to the people here, they met again on Monday
in the usual place. A crowd of many thousands of the most
substantial of the citizens gathered there and with loud cries
demanded speedy justice from parliament and the head of the
Lieutenant, calling him traitor and enemy to the public liberty.
The members of the Upper House, hearing the disturbance,
tried to appease it, promising every satisfaction to the people.
But they would not be appeased by mere words, and took up
their station there for two whole days, threatening the most
violent measures against the state and against His Majesty's
own person and all the royal House. After repeated promises
that they should have their will, they departed upon the condition
that inside this week the Lieutenant shall be condemned to death,
otherwise they promise the most violent action. It is thought
that the sentence will follow tomorrow in the way that all desire.
Meanwhile the Lower Chamber, full of wrath at the last offices
of the king, after enlarging at length upon his obstinacy in
defending his favourite, unanimously joined in a union,
exactly like that of the Covenant in Scotland, at the time of the
revolt, with the same measures and devices, under the same
specious pretexts of defending the reformed religion and the
privileges of the realm, to the total destruction of the Roman
Faith. They afterwards sent the bill to the Upper House, which
at once accepted it, except the Catholic Lords, who on this account
are excluded from parliament. The king is thus deprived of
their support and surrounded by the distress of even worse
events. They speak here with such licence that one is inclined to
fear something of the most monstrous description.
The articles of this union have been printed for the purpose of
inviting the people of this and other cities to sign it, as has been
done amid acclamations. I enclose a translation for those of
your Excellencies who care to read it.
After this parliament, taking the reins entirely into its own
hands, passed a new law that the king cannot dissolve or prorogue
it in future without the assent of both Chambers, which means
they intend to make it permanent and to leave the government of
these states to the sole direction of parliament.
The servants of the king and queen have received orders not
to leave the Court without express leave from parliament, and
against the chief ones they are formulating serious accusations,
charging them with having once again advised the king to introduce
foreign troops into the kingdom and of having conspired
with him so that the troops stationed at York should advance to
this city to compel parliament to submit and to abolish the liberty
of the country. In short if these licentious decisions continue
with the same fury we shall soon see here those sights which are
the usual fruits of civil strife.
The misfortunes of the Catholics keep increasing. They have
been openly threatened with death by the rabble. Even I am
not entirely exempt from these serious dangers. Two days ago
several bills were posted at Somerset House, belonging to the
queen, inviting the people to proceed again to the embassies of
Spain and Portugal, and to that of Venice also, to overthrow
entirely what they call their idolatry. The Spanish embassy is
strongly guarded. But I do not believe that this will suffice to
resist the impetuous violence of the people, and have decided to
behave cautiously without showing any fear, although many
devoted to the name of your Serenity and friends of this house
have urged me to leave London. But I have not thought fit to
do so, for the sake of public decorum, and I shall continue to
serve my country with zeal even at the risk of life and fortune.
I have received detailed information from the Ambassadors
Corraro and Giustinian in France of the manner of dealing with
the Portuguese ambassadors ; I will follow the same course, my
illness having hindered me from following your original instructions.
London, the 16th May, 1641.
189. Preamble with the protestation, i.e. union made by the
House of Commons on the 13th May 1641, and passed by the
Upper House on 14th May. (fn. 5)
[Italian, 4 pages.]
190. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
In my last letter I reported all the events connected with the
disturbance here up to that time. I have now to add that
suspecting that the king designed to proceed to the army at York
and the queen to the fortress of Portsmouth, parliament sent a
deputy to warn them not to leave London, under the pretext
that their persons would be safer from the violence of the people
under the eye of parliament than elsewhere. To this audacious
move which in such troublous times may cover ends with very
different consequences the king has returned no reply, but the
queen answered with spirit that she was the daughter of a father
who had never learned how to fly, and she had no idea of doing
any such thing either.
To secure the Tower of London for himself the king wished to
reinforce the garrison with 100 soldiers dependent upon him, but
the governor flatly refused to have them or to restore to His
Majesty the keys of the magazines of munitions, saying that he
could not take any step there without the express permission of
parliament. This shows that the sovereign has entirely lost
the obedience due to him and is exposed to the most grievous
Five servants of the queen of the highest standing and favour,
took flight last night, being accused of conspiring with the king
against the parliament and trying to induce the English army to
support His Majesty's designs. (fn. 6) Among these is the High Steward,
who in addition to the crimes alleged against his fellows, is accused of
too great an intimacy with the queen, so that even the honour of these
unhappy princes is not safe from the slanderous tongues of their
Parliament has also sent, in an unprecedented manner to the
rooms of this favourite of the queen in the palace, without any
respect for the place, to seize all the papers, in order to obtain
information about his offences, and to give further cause of
offence to Her Majesty.
Since the flight of these gentlemen parliament has introduced
into the Tower a reinforcement of 400 soldiers, numerous guards
have been set at the gates of this city, and the banks of the river
are guarded by other strong bodies of troops. Orders have been
despatched to the sea ports not to allow any one to pass, and the
masters of the posts have been forbidden to supply horses without
the licence of parliament. The most secret motives for all this
activity have not yet transpired. The greatest excitement
reigns everywhere and it is impossible to predict with any certainty
how these affairs will end. Amid them all I pray that
God may preserve this house, which is threatened.
London, the 17th May, 1641.
[Italian, the part in italics deciphered.]
191. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
The disturbances continue at this Court with increasing peril
to the royal house and to all the Catholics. I propose to report
these important events day by day. The upper Chamber, impelled
by the implacable hatred against the Lieutenant of Ireland, and
unwilling to resist the people, passed the bill with the capital sentence
against him on Friday in last week, as well as the bill for the perpetual
continuance of parliament. That same day the parliamentarians
were warned by a person not yet divulged, that their
Majesties had concluded a treaty with France to introduce ten
regiments of that nation into that country, to join the troops
quartered at York and those in Ireland, to bring back his subjects
to their obedience by these forces. For the security of the French
troops their Majesties had bound themselves to consign the
fortress of Portsmouth to the Most Christian, which by its situation
and by art is of great consequence, and finally, the troops
were at Dieppe all ready to cross and carry out these designs, and
boats at Calais to bring them, supplied with abundant provision
of biscuits and with all other military apparatus. Upon the
news of these odious transactions, which are esteemed false by
the most prudent, parliament sent four members to Portsmouth,
without delay, to secure the place, and to make the most careful
enquiry by examining the governor and others, to learn the real
truth of this business. Meanwhile the news had spread among
the people and increased the excitement to such an extent that
on Saturday morning they girded their arms and prepared to
march to the palace to secure the royal persons. These on hearing
the news and full of terror, made up their minds to leave this city
without more ado. When they were all ready for the flight and
about to start, the French minister, who had been advised, and
other confidential persons, hastened to the Court and after much
persuasion induced their Majesties to abandon their precipitate
determination. At the same time they assured the leaders of
the people that the king was ready to give every satisfaction to
his subjects, and that the rumours referred to were entirely false.
In this way the tumult was appeased and more serious disorder
was diverted for the moment.
After all this the king went to parliament accompanied by
2000 of the burgesses. They presented to him the sentence of
death against the Lieutenant, the bill for the continuation of
parliament and the one for disbanding the troops in Ireland,
petitioning him to make them law by signing these most hurtful
decisions. His Majesty having heard the request took until
Monday for his answer. III pleased with this delay the parliamentarians
separated with the determination to force him to do
their will in all. They issued letters to the country with orders
everywhere to send troops here with all speed in order to join
with those of London and then undertake any kind of audacious
enterprise against the royal persons and against all the Catholics
His Majesty being made aware of these designs passed the
night in great anguish, the city being full of confusion and entirely
under arms. The queen mother, to secure herself against violence
asked for a guard from parliament. The Capuchins withdrew
from their usual dwelling place and the Catholics looked after
their safety as best they could.
On the following day His Majesty after reviewing the danger
which could not be greater or more evident, decided to agree to
all the demands of parliament. To do this with less dishonour
he adopted the expedient of delegating his authority to the
Earls of Arundel and Lince and to the Privy Seal, to perform all
the acts required for the satisfaction of the people. The commissioners
then ratified the bills and sent hastily that night
ninety couriers to divers parts of the realm forbidding the country
people summoned to approach this city.
The king, unwilling to leave any means untried for saving the
Lieutenant's life, on Tuesday wrote with his own hand a friendly
and humble letter to parliament asking them as a favour to
commute the penalty of death to one of perpetual exile, or at
least to postpone the execution for a year. To increase the value
of the letter he sent it by the prince, who added the strongest
representations. But the Lower Chamber dismissed the prince with
scant civility, and refused to read the letter or the cover, in spite of
His Majesty's request. Accordingly, with added shame, the
sentence was carried out on Wednesday in Tower Yard in the
presence of 200,000 persons, amid universal rejoicing. And so
this minister lost his life, whose admirable qualities certainly
deserved a better age and a happier fate. The king, thus deprived
of authority with the hatred of the people, which is even stronger
against the queen, who has been the subject of disgraceful pasquinades,
suffers the tortures of the deepest affliction. The wisest
freely predict that this monarchy will soon be turned into a completely
democratic government, and very solid foundations for this
have been laid by making parliament perpetual.
The four members sent to Portsmouth returned to this city
yesterday. They made the garrison swear obedience and loyalty
to parliament, and directed new fortifications to be erected at
the entrance of the harbour, so that they feel satisfied that this
place will remain devoted to parliament, and no other safe
retreat remains for His Majesty.
They are making a rigorous enquiry to discover the truth
about the negotiations with France. They have examined the
queen's Court ; they have seized and opened the letters to and
from France, Flanders and everywhere else. The seaports are
closed, and on the pretence that the landlady of the house where
the secretary of France lodges, is a Catholic, they have even
visited the apartments of that minister, who remonstrated stongly
at this liberty. Parliament apologised declaring that they had
not given the order.
With all their efforts they have not found anything to prove their
suspicions, and those who are not blinded by passion agree unanimously
that these reports were nothing but a malignant invention
intended to render the name of these princes utterly odious to the
people and thus facilitate the success of those ambitious designs at
which the rebels aspire, and the Puritans in particular, whose sole
profession is to sweep away every kind of superior power, together
with the control of the monarchy.
The king selected Lord Clavel for governor of the important
county of York and gave him patents for the office, but parliament
will not even let the king enjoy the use of appointments, which
is his sole prerogative, and has conferred the governorship on the
Earl of Essex, the author of seditious designs and a leader of the
Puritans. (fn. 7)
They propose to intimate to the queen mother that she must
leave this kingdom within eight days. She is accused of having
instilled evil counsels into her daughter and of having protected
many priests, Jesuits in particular.
In the country the peasants attack the houses of Catholics,
and even in this city they are not safe from serious injury, so that
there is no security either for the foreigner or for the Catholic.
I sigh devoutly for the time when I can leave the perils of this
kingdom, where my long stay has been so painful. To-day again
they say that letters will be detained by parliament. To secure
the passage of these and those of last week, which are attached,
and to avoid the danger of their being carried to parliament, as
happened to those before them which I recovered with great
trouble, I am sending a gentleman of mine to Antwerp with the
London, the 24th May, 1641.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
192. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in
England, to the Doge and Senate.
The commissioners appointed by parliament are pursuing their
enquiry upon the attempt to introduce French forces into this
kingdom. Although sensible people consider these suspicions
unfounded, yet they have received the fullest authority for the
enquiry and to make sure of every person without exception, which
means their Majesties themselves, if they appear guilty.
All letters have been stayed and opened this week again, those
of the queen especially. Full of just resentment at this she has
expressed her sentiments to me confidentially. But they have
shown my letters the respect which their character demands.
It is said that from these despatches they have discovered some
light on the conspiracy against the liberty of the country. But
these reports do not find general credit, as it is thought that they are
spread in order to stir up the people still further against the late
government and to keep them fast in the present licence.
One of the queen's servants who took to flight, as I reported,
was stopped by the people at the coast and two days ago was
brought back a prisoner to this city. (fn. 8) He underwent a lengthy
examination yesterday but we have not yet learned precisely
what his depositions were, and there is no one who would venture
to predict the end of these efforts. Everyone fears that they are
the fruit of secret intentions to lead these princes to the last calamity.
Parliament has recently voted two subsidies, on condition that
they are controlled by its commissioners, and employed solely
for the pay of the armies, which they want to disband as soon as
possible. They are actively negotiating with the Scottish
commissioners to terminate, if possible, all their differences and
to conclude a close alliance, between the two crowns. The commissioners
are apparently perfectly favourable to an adjustment
and equally ready to withdraw their forces, but many feel very
doubtful if they will fulfil their promises. Time will show how
far they are sincere.
In the middle of next July the session of the Scottish parliament
will reopen, and His Majesty openly declares that he will go there,
possibly in order to set in motion some other design by his presence
and to improve his authority. But all do not approve of the idea, so
there may be some alteration.
It has been established by decree that the fleet, of which the
kings have always disposed at their pleasure, shall remain in
future under the direction of parliament, the admiral and captains
of ships having instructions to obey its orders and no others.
The king, who no longer has the heart to resist any demand,
signed this without a word, though it strikes at the centre of the
prerogative and deprives him of the hope of restoring his fallen
fortunes under less painful circumstances.
The ministers who in the past have enjoyed the greater part
of the government and the most conspicuous offices, have resigned
them and retired to the quiet of the country, endeavouring in
this way to escape envy and the ruinous dangers which surround
them. On the other hand the king, with the approval of parliament,
has appointed many of the Puritan persuasion, who have
made themselves prominent by their zeal for the preservation of
the people's liberties and privileges. He has done this for the
purpose of rendering them less averse to support his interests.
The important office of Treasurer has not yet been filled, and is
in the charge of a commission of five persons. The Earl of Leicester,
returned from the embassy in France, has been promoted
to the Viceroyalty of Ireland, in place of the executed one, and
nothing is heard as yet of the appointment of any one else to
that embassy. Every appearance of Fielding's return to his
charge at Venice has vanished entirely, and he persists in his
application for a position at Court.
Commissioners have been sent to Ireland with money to disband
the troops. In order that this may be done without disturbance
parliament has granted permission to the colonels to take six
regiments to the service of the Spaniards and one to that of
A numerous concourse of people went to parliament on Monday
and audaciously demanded that the order of bishops should be
removed from the Church here, but as the views of the members
are not agreed this most important question is left undecided.
To prevent more serious disturbances a proclamation has been
issued forbidding any one to approach the Houses of Parliament
upon pain of death.
Meanwhile the preaching ministers have published a new
symbol of the faith, with many alterations from the old one.
This has been welcomed with great acclaim and goes to show that
the ecclesiastical as well as the political government of this
monarchy is likely to undergo considerable changes in the present
The persecution of the Catholics is pursued with great zeal.
On Sunday the house of the Portuguese ambassadors was surrounded
by the forces of justice and eighty persons were arrested,
and in some houses of leading gentlemen they have taken some
priests, who are threatened with the legal penalty, without mercy,
which means death.
All the efforts of the Prince of Orange and the Dutch ambassadors
to induce their Majesties to permit the princess bride to go
with them to Holland have proved in vain and so they return to
their country. Yesterday the ambassadors took leave of their
Majesties, and they are to start on Monday. They take to
Holland a definite promise that when the princess has completed
twelve years she shall be taken to Rotterdam at the cost of this
crown, with the pomp due to her birth. They have obtained
nothing about the alliance except the prolongation for three
more years of the old defensive one, without any alteration.
The queen mother being advised of the intentions of parliament,
has decided to go and announces that she will set out at the end of
a fortnight. She has not yet decided on the direction. She
inclines to sojourn in Holland or in the city of Liege for some time.
One hears of no further progress in the business of the Portuguese
ambassadors, and it is not thought that they will arrange
more here than liberty of trade, which is greatly desired by the
people here, in the Indies in particular, where they hope for considerable
London, the 31st May, 1641.
[Italian, the part in italics deciphered.]
193. Giovanni Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in
England, to the Doge and Senate.
By a person in her intimate confidence the queen sent me yesterday
evening a letter directed to Mr. Montagu, who for some days has
been at the French Court, desiring me earnestly to send it thither by
a special gentleman, the faithful delivery thereof being of great
importance to her. The subject matter was of great importance to
their Majesties and in the present uproar she did not wish to confide
it to any one but me, as the minister of a prince so well disposed
both to this crown and to that of France. She charged me to use the
utmost secrecy, adding that the letter and superscription were both
in her own hand. In the interests of the state I considered it best
to serve these afflicted princes and promised to obey, assuring her of
my absolute silence, and without delay I cautiously sent the letter
to the Ambassador Giustinian.
London, the 31st May, 1641.
194. The Secretary of England came into the Collegio and
spoke substantially as follows :
I must apologise for having delayed so long in coming to
present my king's letters. The reason is my late indisposition.
Now I am recovered I have come and hope to be excused and
expecting further favours from the graciousness of your Serenity
also for the English merchants trading to Zante and Cephalonia,
so that they may be relieved of the vexations and difficulties
which they are accustomed to encounter. His Majesty recommends
the same in these letters, and in the person of Obson in
particular, that he may be favoured and protected by the justice
of your Serenity. He then presented the king's letter with a
paper of the merchant Obson.
After the letters were read the doge said that the affair would
be taken in hand, and after the necessary information had been
taken they would come to an appropriate decision, always with
the object of giving his Majesty every possible satisfaction.
With this the Secretary made his bow and went out. (fn. 9)
195. Carolus Dei gratia etc. Domino Francisco Erizzo
Venetiarum Duci etc. Non potuimus nostram ad vestrum
Serenitatem intercessionem denegare nostris subditis mercatoribus
(qui socii vestram commercio frequentant Zanti insulam)
querentibus quasdam controversias ortas de computationibus
inter nostrum subditum Joh. Hobsonum, Venetiis morantem,
atque Demetrium et Angelum Benezellios Athenienses, propter
consortium quadraginta mille thalerorum ad mercaturam inter
vestras Venetias et Moream exercendam adhibendorum. Quibus
differentiis quorundam mercatorum (de more) Venetorum arbitrio
commissis, arbitri non solum integram illam nummorum
summum periisse verum etiam Hobsonum Benezellis ulterius
adhuc triginta mille thalerorum debitorem judicarunt. Cum
autem arbitrium istud nec solidis documentis, neque testium fide
innitatur, quod Benezelli minime protulerunt computorum
codices, tesseras onerarias, schedas institorias, aliaque mercatoribus
usitata scripta : quibus inspectis rei veritatem facile elucere
nostrumque subditum non modo ab illo debito absolvi sed et
eidem Benzellos obaeratos invenire potuisse nobis persuadeatur.
Nos pro ea quam in solita V. Sertis. Inclitaeque Reipublicae
justitia et in nos benevolentia habemus, fiducia amice rogamus,
ut causae istius judicatis recensio et recognitio aequa et requisita
codicum scripturamque Benezelliorum inspectio, atque cum
libris et documentis Venetiis adhuc extantibus, Randolli Sinesi
(qui dum vixit cum Benezellis pro consortibus Anglis negotiator
solus egit) collatio fieri jubeatur ; ut interea iniquum istud
adjudicatum aut irritum declaretur aut saltern suspendatur.
Tandemque ut Hobsonus et omnia nostrorum subditorum in
ejus potestate existentia, et a Benezellis injuste sequestrata bona
sub vestra serventur et maneat tutela et protectione (cum ille
ex Anglis solus Venetiis super sit, hi vero precipuam in Vestra
Zanti Insula exerceant mercaturam) adeoque nihil in eorum
quorum quidem ista in causa nihil interest, vergat detrimentum.
Istud Vestrae aequitatis et justitiae argumentum nobis gratissimum,
Nos vobis semper gratificandi cupidos magis magisque
devinciet. V. Ser. diutissime valere Inclytamque Republicam
usque florere ex animo voventes. Dat. ex nostro palatio Westmonasteriensi
Calendis Aprilis Anno Christi MDCXLI regnique
V. Ser. bonus cognatus et amicus
Ser. Principi Dom. Francisco Erizzo Venetiarum Duci etc.
196. Memorial of John Hobson, English merchant, to the
Resident of the King of Great Britain with the Republic of
On 14 Sept. 1625 a deed of partnership was made between
Ridolfo Symes of Venice, for himself and John Eglesfelt, Samuel
Vassal, John Osbon and other merchants of London, of the one
part, and Dimetri and Angelo Benicello of Athens of the other.
The parties were to put down 20,000 reals on each side, and the
agreement was for five years, in the course of which Benizello
was to trade that capital in the Morea and other places and was
placed by Symes and Co. in the hands of Benizello and entrusted
to him to trade. He began to send goods to Symes at Venice,
who sold them and an equivalent in goods was sent to Benizello,
as appears by Symes' accounts. This business lasted barely
two years, for Benizello got all the capital into his own hands,
except some currants which remained with Symes, and no longer
sent goods to Venice, as he diverted the trade to other marts, to
suit himself, under his own name, which he was forbidden to do,
according to the orders given him by Symes. Finally he gave up
consigning anything to Symes and Co. and it was not possible
even to see an account, though Symes sent him several letters to
Zante. Owing to the distance and with the death of Symes in
a time of plague, there were such long delays that it was never
possible to see an account of the management of this business.
At length John Obson, one of the interested parties, who had 2000
reals in the Company, arrived at Venice. As he could not obtain
an account from Benizello by friendly means, he was after a long
patience of three years, forced to have recourse to justice and
obtain an ad dandum computum from the office of the Forestier
and had Benizello imprisoned. Under this compulsion Benizello
gave a pledge to render this account and got out of prison. He
afterwards presented a faked account to the office of the Forestier,
in which, to the amazement of all, he caused the entire capital of
40,000 reals to disappear, and made himself out creditor of the
Company for 56,000 ducats and more. A paper in contradiction
of this was started, and at length, to avoid legal expenses, a compromise
was agreed upon, which through the influence and skill of
Benizello, resulted in accordance with his plans, since on a point
of fact, about a difference of 10,000 reals consigned by Symes and
denied by him in bad faith, for lack of a receipt the arbiters have
refused to admit that Obson made a legal proof and would not even
permit that Benizello should swear on his soul that he had not had
it ; rejecting also another proof offered by Obson against a faked
book of accounts written by Benizello in Greek, although it was
kept by Sig. Gio. Maria Marchetti in Italian. By these means he
obtained a sentence from the Arbiter against the Company for
about 30,000 ducats. Although Benizello's books show credits of
50,000 ducats to collect of debtors made by himself from which he
ought to be paid, yet he leaves these on one side and proceeds
against the Company and against the goods and person of me,
John Obson, causing my ruin by the sequestration of all my effects,
and the destruction not only of my business but of my credit as
a merchant, with the sole object of possessing himself of a large
sum of money, obtaining recently 2285 ducats 21 grossi di banco
from the hands of Signori Saminati and Guasconi so that he may
sail away to his native Athens without rendering any further
account of his operations, as he will soon be compelled to do by
means of fresh information.
I therefore beg you to represent this unhappy affair to the doge
so that the whole matter may be delegated to the Collegio of 20
Savii of the body of the Senate or to some other magistracy, as
his Serenity may see fit, so that justice may be done.
I also ask that the disputes pending between this Benizello and
divers merchants of London, Leghorn and Genoa may be delegated
with this affair, as the effects of those states have been
sequestrated by Benizello.