105. To the Secretary in England.
Enjoin the need of care and prudence amid the varied and
doubtful incidents of the war to penetrate to the very bottom
of the proceedings and the intrigues that are taking place, as
well about the negotiations of the Dutch as about the moves and
apprehensions of the Scots. There is no news from the Italian
side since the establishment of peace, (fn. 1) and no preparations for
a new campaign are being made by either France or Spain.
Ayes, 110. Noes, 2. Neutral, 0.
106. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
After taking Selby Fairfax advanced victoriously on York,
which though not strong is populous and serves as a refuge and
magazine for the Marquis of Newcastle, who for this reason wisely
decided to forestall Fairfax and withdrew from his position in the
dead of the night, without sound of drum or other military
instrument and retired thither. Realising only with daybreak
that they were delivered from the hostile forces, the Scots began
to march and following him at a distance they have effected a
junction with Fairfax only ten miles from York, (fn. 2) the Marquis
not being strong enough to prevent it. He has sent for help to
Prince Rupert, who is marching with 7,000 horse from Lincolnshire
to his assistance, but followed by order of parliament by
the Earl of Manchester. So at any moment news is expected of
some remarkable military action from the North.
The Earl of Arghil, one of the leaders of the Scottish forces,
noteworthy alike for his influence and his hostility to the king,
has gone to Scotland to appease if possible the internal troubles
there, so that they may be able to send the largest possible
reinforcements to England and to keep open a retreat for their
armies, and to besiege Newcastle, which so far has remained safe.
Owing to these important events in the North the sortie of Essex
is delayed, as he will lack the principal assistance of Manchester's
army which instead of joining at the rendezvous has had to go on
another errand. Accordingly they have sent back Balfur with
the cavalry to Waller, who is menaced with an attack by the
royal forces under Obton. They do not, however, relax their
efforts to collect troops by every means, even the violent one of
The city of London has proposed to the Council of State to
maintain for six months 20,000 foot and 6,000 horse, in order to
see this business through, but on condition that the money is
administered by their own treasurers and that they are relieved
of all taxes and other charges except those on food and clothing.
The proposal is now under discussion and will certainly be
accepted, though with modified conditions, because careful control
does not suit many leading men of the government, who make profit
out of disorder and who are not at all anxious to see these conditions
brought to an abrupt end.
The queen, although unwell, has gone to Bristol on her way to
Exeter, for her delivery in about two months' time. She had to
pass near Gloucester, whose garrison, casting aside all respect,
captured a part of her baggage and would have taken the queen
herself if she had not had a good escort. The king remains at
Oxford, perfecting the defences, which he has caused the river
to enclose. He has issued a proclamation ordering all of the
district to go there with food and horses to help it, owing to the
fear of a siege.
The Dutch ambassadors have again pressed earnestly for a
passport to go to Oxford, but they have been asked to stay and
assured that they shall have a reply. This is the very day
appointed for the Council of State to lay its peace proposals
before parliament. But they have been lukewarm in the matter and
have not got them ready, more especially as Essex's sortie is
delayed, and they intended that he should present them at the head
of his army.
Seeing the people of Zeeland in particular, desirous of their
success here, the Council of State has decided to send an agent
there to encourage this disposition, and to try to turn it to
advantage by asking for a loan of 200,000l. secured only by the
public faith. The ambassadors are trying to prevent this mission,
assuring them that without good securities they will get no money,
since they well know that the object is to introduce dissension into
their own government, with whom relations are becoming formal,
since the English are demanding the sequestration of the goods of
Dutchmen here because of the arrest of a ship which pursued a royal
ship into the Texel, with letters of marque of the parliament.
They have decided to send another agent to Sweden, to
encourage the designs of that crown against Denmark, as they
apprehend that he would assist the king here if an adjustment
were made, having shown more inclination to provide it than any
other foreign power.
Duke Piccolomini, being better advised with the great outcry
over his coming, has abstained from going to the king, but
proceeded from Falmouth where he landed, to Weymouth. To
mislead the English here and the Dutch who were waiting for
him off Dunkirk, he sent two gentlemen to the general here for
a passport, while he crossed safely to Nieuport in a small English
vessel. (fn. 3) The passport was granted but on condition that he
should go straight to Dover to embark for Flanders, because of
the suspicion that persists, that no accident brought him here,
but that he came on purpose to supply help to the king. And so
the ship seized at Portsmouth has been brought into the river
here, though to their intense mortification, instead of money they
found wine on board. It will probably be released owing to the
strong representations of the merchants and of the Spanish
London, the 6th May, 1644.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
107. To the Secretary in England.
Acknowledge the receipt of his letters of the 22nd ult. showing
the king's courage and steadfastness. To observe the results and
whether the reports about the Scots and Zeelanders have any
sound basis in fact. With the departure of the Dutch ambassadors,
if it takes place, there might be a good deal of doubt about the
issue, and the willingness for peace. Amid all these agitations
and doubts he will be well employed in picking out what is most
essential. Did well in informing the king by letter of the peace
of the allies with Rome. The letter of the Secretary Nicoloni
(sic) has been remitted to the Secretary Talbot here. There is
no news of importance from these parts.
Ayes, 97. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
108. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
No events of great importance have happened between the
armies in the North. Time is on the king's side, as the Scots
are dwindling while Prince Rupert is increasing. He has left the
Earl of Manchester far behind, who had orders to oppose him,
and is advancing to join Newcastle who is at York and its district.
In addition to the movement of Ontlet in Scotland, which is
going on, six lords of that kingdom loyal to his Majesty, have
raised a small army of English in the counties of Cumberland
and Northumberland and invading the west of Scotland have
sacked Donfris, (fn. 4) preventing the entry of fresh Scottish forces
In this state of affairs many soldiers, both volunteers and
pressed men, have been sent from the city this week towards
the rendezvous, to which Essex himself has orders to proceed today.
Although he is loitering, amid the murmurs of many, under
the pretext of some deficiencies, they have given him a sop by sending
to prison three of the militia of London, (fn. 5) who when the question of
sending out the trained bands was discussed, opposed saying it was
not becoming to put their own arms into the hands of enemies,
alluding to the earl. Meanwhile there is a dangerous dispute
between the two Houses, the Lower wishing Manchester to go on
paying his army with the contributions of the country, while the
other objects, owing to the respect due to the general, when he is in
the field and the other joined with him.
Having completed the fortification of Oxford and fearing a
siege more than ever, the king has adjourned the meeting of
parliament there, thanking them courteously for the devotion
shown to his interests, assuring them of his most just intentions,
and asking them to leave a certain number of commissioners
behind to assist with their advice, as they have done. This prince
suffers more and more from the misfortune of being betrayed by those
in whom he most confides. He discussed with only six persons going
personally to Wallingford with only a few guards to inspect the place.
The enemy was informed of this and sent cavalry from Elsberi to
surprise him on the way, which is quite short, and they only missed
him by a few minutes. It is stated that his Majesty has gone out
to the army in Buckinghamshire, intending to advance in this direction,
to prevent an attack with which he is menaced from so near.
The queen is still at Bristol where her gentleman Craft has
arrived from France sent by the queen regent to invite her Majesty
to France if she thinks the air will do her good. (fn. 6) But at present
owing to her approaching delivery and her ill health she is in no
condition to stand the journey, although she is most anxious
to go to implore help.
The Council of State having at last drawn up the articles for
peace, presented them to the Upper House, but they were so far
from reasonable as your Serenity will see from the enclosed copy,
that the Lords did not consider them worth discussing.
The Dutch ambassadors talk every day of going to his Majesty,
but they first await an answer to a request made in writing to
parliament for the exportation of 2,000 tons of lead, under the
pretext of using it for the roofing of two churches.
Piccolomini crossed to Flanders at the moment when he was
asking for a passport here, at which the parliamentarians here are
annoyed. They are wrongly suspicious about his coming, and
are the less willing to believe it accidental because letters passed
between him and the king, although only complimentary. Some
doubt has indeed been cast on his departure, and it is thought he
is lying hidden in London ; so the ship which brought him is
still sequestrated, and although it is in the river here and has been
searched, they maintain that he brought money in it.
As instructed, I wrote to ask the secretary of state Nicolas to
inform his Majesty of the peace concluded, between the princes of
the league and the ecclesiastical princes. I enclose a copy of his
London, the 13th May, 1644.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
109. Proposals for peace presented by the Council of State
to Parliament. Seven Articles. (fn. 7)
[Italian, from the English, 4 pages.]
|110. The Secretary Nicolas to Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian
The king appreciates the regard shown him by the republic
and rejoices at the peace. He is doing his utmost to obtain peace
in his own realms. He accepts your excuses on the ground of
the difficulties and dangers of the way, which he would wish you
Oxford, the 2nd May, 1644.
[Italian, from the English.]
111. To the Resident in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters of the 29th ult. They will
be glad to learn what Piccolomini will do, having landed in that
kingdom, and what will be done with the ship that brought him
and with the capital therein. Enclose advices of Italy.
Ayes, 128. Noes, 0. Neutral, 6.
112. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England, to
the Doge and Senate.
Not only is Essex still here, immoveable under constant
pressure, but Waller also has returned to assist and concert, as
some companies of his cavalry have had an unfortunate encounter
with the royalists, and it is getting no good from idleness. The
lack of confidence felt by the most influential members of the party
in the general, encourages Manchester and Waller in their claims to
independence, and these supported by their partisans in the Lower
House, intensify the disputes and acrimony with the Upper, which
would see in the removal of the general the disappearance of the last
shadow that it possesses. There is another serious difference between
the Houses about the confirmation of the Council of State for another
three months, as the first three are about to expire. The Upper
House wishes to increase the number, but the Lower strongly objects
and would rather reduce them. Various conferences have been held,
the Lords persisting in their negative, but they will have to give way
in the end, as they always have done, through fear.
As York did not contain enough forage for all the cavalry, the
Marquis has sent out a part of it, which has retired to near
Niuvarch. He keeps as many as he considers necessary and with
a strong nucleus of infantry holds out there, the city being
invested, although at a distance, by the Scottish forces united
Prince Rupert who stayed a long while at Shrewsbury, with
orders to advance in that direction, seems to have refrained from
doing so owing to the weakness of his force, as he has made a
circuit with a few followers towards Oxford, to raise troops, with
which he has proceeded to Niuvarch to pick up Newcastle's
cavalry, to move then to the relief of York. For this reason the
royalists gave up the idea of fortifying Lincoln, and the Earl of
Manchester, who was following the Prince, seized the opportunity
to capture it. It has passed frequently from side to side, to the
destruction of the inhabitants of both parties, who are exposed
to the raids of the stronger party. This move of the prince toward
the North will divert Manchester's army from the forces here, as
they will go to the help of the Scots and Fairfax, since it is useless
to look for reinforcements from Scotland which is involved in
internal disturbances, so the king will have this burden the less.
His Majesty also profits by the present disagreements and delays, since
they give him time to prepare a solid defence and also to gird himself
for the offensive. He has gone in person towards Malsbero.
The Commissioners from Ireland have left Oxford with all the
satisfaction that his Majesty could give them, saving the prejudice
to his own conscience and reputation. Accordingly he expects
great succours from that kingdom. Some ships bringing soldiers
from there have been captured by the parliamentary ships, when all
the Irish were thrown barbarously into the sea, without quarter,
only the English being spared.
The queen, although in very bad health, has gone to Exeter,
which is more convenient for crossing to France, being gratified
by the invitation brought by Craft, although it is believed that
Cardinal Mazarini contrived to hinder the queen mother taking this
step until he knew that the queen was unfit to travel, as he is afraid
that affection between the sisters in law might involve the treasury in
some assistance and upset his plans for the present campaign.
The Dutch ambassadors have left for Oxford, not entirely
satisfied with the treatment received here from the parliamentarians.
But before they left the two presidents called upon
them and thanked them for the respect shown to parliament,
assuring them, though it was only words, that it desired peace
and would work for it. They also told them that although
most of the lead came from parts subject to the king, yet to
prove the desire of parliament for the most friendly relations with
the States, they granted the exportation desired. They are now
voting on the articles of peace, one by one, but with little or no
alteration, and even if they are sent to the king they will serve rather
to prevent peace than to persuade it. This much is certain that
under pressure from the commissioners in the Common Council
of this city, further demands in addition to those already set forth
were constantly being put forward and many voices were heard,
insensible of the ruin and constant in their obstinacy, disapproving
of any treaty.
London, the 20th May, 1644.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
113. To the Secretary in England.
Acknowledge receipt of his letters. His Majesty's ambassador
has been in the Collegio this morning, saying that he had permission
to return to England for two months to attend to his
private affairs. He left a memorial in recommendation and for
the relief of those interested in the ship Golden Falcon, in respect
of claims made by the customs officers for a cargo of currants
which she had taken on board at Zante these last months. The
Signory will not fail to renew the orders for securing that English
subjects who trade in those islands are well treated, for the
sake of increasing the traffic and the duties, so that if the secretary
happens to hear complaints he is to give lavish assurances that
every possible facility and the very best of treatment will be
accorded to those who go to trade in those parts. He will also
try to make sure that the sending of ships for this purpose, recently
referred to, actually takes place.
Ayes, 110. Noes, 1. Neutral, 4.
114. Gerolamo Agostini, Venetian Secretary in England,
to the Doge and Senate.
Amid the ever growing and dangerous dissensions between the two
Houses, General Essex appears as a fomenter of the differences and
also shows his reluctance to obey the command to take the field, in
order not to allow his partisans to relax in his interests, or give his
opponents or rivals a chance of winning their independence at the
expense of his authority, as they pretend. However, a demand
having been put forward at their instance by the Independents, with
threats and protests to the Upper House not to obstruct the Lower,
he has had to yield to the declaration of independence for Manchester.
The demand was made plausible by the obligation of remaining
subject to the Associated Counties, who got the force together and who
maintain it. But the Lords oppose giving the same privilege to
Waller or confirming the Council of State, for this reason chiefly,
that the three months have not yet expired. But when the time is
up as it will be in a few days, no one will venture to oppose the will of
the Commons, unless the uncertain events of war give the king some
considerable advantage ; but Essex has had to go, as your Serenity
Four days ago his Majesty held a review of his army at Reading,
which is stated to number 15,000 combatants. He is demolishing
the outer fortifications of that place with the intention of advancing
towards the quarters of Essex's army, and with the hope
of not needing a retreat, because that force, although gathered
after a long time and with much effort, is not remarkably strong,
many of the pressed men having deserted and many requisites
being missing owing to the present confusions. This news has
so stirred them that they have obliged Essex to go without
delay as he did on Tuesday night, though full of rancour and
bitterness. He left the parliamentarians here so mistrustful that no
sooner had he reached the rendezvous, which is on the road to Oxford,
than on the circulation of a report, whether true or invented, that the
king, since parliament has never chosen to submit to him proposals
of peace, intends to issue some from his side, which will undeceive
the army and the people about the false aspersions upon his Majesty's
upright intentions, the Council of State wrote him a letter that if this
happened he must immediately transmit the proposals, without
detaining them or making any reply, so as to wait the intent of the
state, as in this affair they do not wish to leave it to his inclinations,
which are greatly mistrusted.
Waller who was here has also been sent off without delay to
Farnham where he has his forces, which are larger than the other
army, but they cannot be united owing to the danger of some
incident because of the ill will between the commanders and chief
officers. So he has been ordered not to move or do anything, to
reserve himself for greater urgency, which is feared. For the same
purpose of security the Common Council has met and decided to
confine suspects and partisans of the king. They have also ordered
all the militia to be in readiness to meet in an hour, causing double
guards to be set. All this shows no little apprehension of his Majesty
advancing (and the king is present with his army not more than five
miles from the other) as well as of the proceedings of their own
There is no news yet of Prince Rupert having joined the forces
which were expecting him at Niuvarch. These being very
numerous in Leicestershire, have extended their quarters. There
is a report, though unconfirmed, that Manchester has suffered
a check in attempting to prevent the junction. Meanwhile the
delay is harmful, as the Scots and Fairfax are closing round
Since the Dutch ambassadors left for the king nothing has been
heard of their negotiations. It appears that they aim at exciting
jealousy here, and that they will look for some opening to enter
upon the matter again.
The queen is still at Exeter in poor health, and so she has written
to Doctor Mayerne to go there. But he, having disobliged her
over this business, is afraid of her indignation, and is looking for
London, the 27th May, 1644.
[Italian ; the part in italics deciphered.]
115. The Secretary of England came into the Collegio and
I have to go to England on my affairs and may stay there two
months. I have come to take leave of your Serenity and to assure
you that wherever I go I carry the desire to be your faithful
servant. I ask you to have this memorial read and to give
orders for the provision.
In the absence of the Doge the senior councillor Priuli replied,
In this matter the Signory will decide as they think proper. We
wish you a pleasant stay and ask you to express our devoted
regard to his Majesty and our desire for his utmost prosperity.
With this the secretary made his bow and went out.
When the English ship Golden Falcon, Captain Thomas Harman,
arrived at Zante last September, to complete its cargo of currants,
and was despatched of everything, the customers there had it
arrested on the false pretext that it had 150 thousand of contraband
currants on board. (fn. 8) Upon due enquiry this was found to
be quite groundless and the customers were reprimanded. In
order to injure the ship they tried to prevent its sailing, but
without success, though it left two passengers on shore. These,
with Don Laurenzo, an English merchant, have been compelled
to give pledges at Zante and are harassed without cause upon these
unfounded pretensions. As these customers are still persecuting
this Isaac Laurenzo and the passengers I ask your Serenity to
write to the Proveditore of Zante not to permit these merchants
to be harassed unjustly, especially as it is true that the ship was
searched by order of the Courts and nothing wrong was found,
since it is not right that English ships and men should suffer
from the unjust claims of the customers, or their business be
injured, when your Serenity directs the good and just treatment
of all and especially of the foreign merchants and ships which
come to this state.