281. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The French Resident in London informs me that one of the
colonels reported has decided to come and see me. Encloses
Moret, the 3rd October, 1645.
282. Advices from London, the 21st September, 1645.
Montrose is still absolute master of the field in Scotland and of
the whole country, finding no further resistance, his arms terrifying
them on the one hand while the plague is making great ravages
on the other. It is not true, however, that Edinburgh surrendered
to him, but only made terms to avoid an assault and a sack,
paying a ransom of 20,000 Jacobus and releasing various prisoners
of the king's party. The Scottish army besieging Hereford,
finding it a hard nut and having lost many men, has raised the
siege to attend to affairs at home. (fn. 1) Parliament in London has
promptly granted that to reinforce them they may take as many
men as they consider necessary from the garrisons in the North.
There is a hidden craftiness in this, as the English want the
garrisons removed from Carlisle, Newcastle and other places
which the Scottish forces are garrisoning in England. Apparently
the others do not incline to this, so as not to deprive themselves
of the pledges they have in hand and a means of advantage
in case of any treaty with the king.
In England things are proceedingly differently, because the
siege of Bristol has reached such a point that the besieged cannot
get relief by their furious sorties and are beginning to parley
for a surrender. Prince Rupert asks for a free passage for himself
and all the garrison, and ten guns, security for the town and
inhabitants and that the Anglican bishop be left in his rank and
position, contrary to the principles of the Puritans. Fairfax
sent word that he has orders from parliament to occupy that
place, but not to grant such terms, and he has sent an express
to London to ask for their consent. While this is going on,
possibly in order to delay the attack, the king is making every
effort to increase the relief, counting, if the blow succeeds, to catch
the enemy army in the midst.
The agreement between the Catholics of Ireland and the king
with the Protestants there of his party, is far advanced towards
a conclusion, and if it is quite settled his Majesty hopes for a powerful
reinforcement of ten thousand effectives from that country.
283. Resolution to suspend until further order the case
before the Magistrato dei Forestieri against the Company of
English merchants trading in the Indies, and in the mean time
that there be suspended and revoked the sequestration and
inhibition made under the laws on the 10th February last, in the
hands of those nominated therein, of all that they hold or which
may come into their possession in respect of the company aforesaid ;
all of which is understood to be without prejudice to the
claims of the parties. (fn. 2)
Ayes, 77. Noes, 0. Neutral, 7.
284. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Colonel Rosbuy, an Englishman, has come here with letters of
the French Resident in London on purpose to offer me a levy of
1,000 soldiers for immediate requirements. He has leave from
the parliament to enlist and take them where he pleases, and the
men will be all ready for embarcation at any time they are wanted.
The colonel has gone back to London, where he will await my
answer. I thanked him in general terms and said I must wait
for orders from your Serenity. The Colonel suggested terms
based upon those arranged for the levies raised in Holland, but
perhaps the fact that the men are all ready may give an advantage
The advices from London are enclosed.
Moret, the 17th October, 1645.
285. Advices from London, the 28th September, 1645.
When some rays of hope seemed to illumine the king's party
hostile fortune has struck it two blows which have reduced it to
the last stages of decadence. One is the defeat of General
Montrose in Scotland, where after his victory over the parliamentary
forces he held all the country in subjection and terror.
The Scots under General Lesley, raising the siege of Hereford,
marched to that kingdom, and swollen by some remains of the
troops on their side, grew so superior in force to Montrose that
they did not fear to give him battle, (fn. 3) the issue of which, going in
their favour, has dissipated all the hope that was left for the king.
The authentic news has reached parliament in London with a
rejoicing that comes from the great apprehension they had
about that affair. Further particulars are awaited with impatient
The other mortal stroke to his Majesty's interests is the surrender
of Bristol to General Fairfax, Prince Rupert coming out on good
terms of war from one of the most important places in the
kingdom. (fn. 4) The parliamentary army is thereby set free from a
very great task to go wherever it may be most advantageous.
It is yet uncertain where this will be, but it is thought they will
go in pursuit of the king. He is now uncertain about his retreat,
as with the loss of Bristol he loses a gate by which to leave the
kingdom or for introducing succour, while the defeat of Montrose
precludes him from seeking a refuge in Scotland.
Bibl. S. Marco
286. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at the Congress
of Munster from Domenico Condulmier, his Secretary
at the Hague.
Encloses agreement made with William Balfort.
Amsterdam, the 18th October, 1645.
287. Agreement of William Balfort with Domenico
To serve in the capacity of bombardier, master of artificial
fire, bombs and fire ships.
To serve as long as the republic desires.
To be paid from the date of sailing from the Texel at the rate
of 6 ducats 4 lire a month.
To bear the cost of the voyage to Corfu.
To receive two months' pay in advance, before starting.
To receive two months' pay when discharged, for the journey
Dated the 17th October, 1645.
288. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople,
to the Doge and Senate.
An English ship which has come straight from Naples in 18
days reports having seen a fight between the Western fleet of Prince
Lodovisio (fn. 5) and the Barbary ships. The French ambassador pretended
to have no news of it. I also spoke to the English ambassador,
but he was elusive although he professed a desire to serve your
Excellencies and me personally, in particular. But the English
are most keenly on the alert to see the issue of this war and they would
like the Turks to capture Candia so that they may have free trade
there in muscat. As for the ambassador, with the position of his
king's affairs and the sorry plight they are in, while he is left alone
and independent, so to speak, he bolsters up his position with his
title and has no other concern but his own personal interests and gain.
The Vigne of Pera, the 18th October, 1645.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
289. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
One Augier, who resides here in a private capacity, but
virtually as agent of the London parliament has handed me
the enclosed proposal from the Secretary of the English Council
of State, offering a person of high rank, who would enter your
service with 4,000 men and 20 or 25 ships. I understand from
another quarter that this person, whose name it is difficult to
guess, is one of the first in the kingdom, having held military
command and filled eminent posts, and he feels sure that parliament
will give him leave at the least hint.
I enclose the sheet of advices from England. Many offers
have been made to me of less consequence than the one mentioned
above. In this country also it is incredible how the offers and
instances increase with every day that passes.
Paris, the 24th October, 1645.
290. Copy of letter from Weckerlin, Secretary to the
Council of State, to M. Augier in Paris.
An Englishman of quality and renown is anxious to serve the
Venetian republic and asks you to inform their ambassador in
France, showing him the proposal. He desires a reply and the
He offers to go next spring with a squadron of 20 or 25 ships
of war well found and armed, of an average of 400 tons. Besides
the officers and crews he would bring 4,000 soldiers to serve
on shore, divided into four regiments. If his proposal is accepted
he wishes to have a commission from the republic as chief of his
fleet and forces, subject only to the generalissimo. If accepted
he hopes to receive another commission to raise 1,500 cavalry
wherever he can abroad, formed into 3 regiments. He will send
a secretary to any place appointed or come in person to arrange
everything and settle the terms, and he will never ask for anything
but what is reasonable, and that the conditions shall be as
profitable for the republic as honourable for himself.
I ask you to hasten this matter, with all secrecy for the person
will be admitted by everyone as unexceptionable. Before giving
his name it must be known whether the offer will be accepted.
Tell the ambassador that he is unexceptionable and his name will
be given as soon as they decide to treat with him. You know
that time is precious and you will therefore ask the ambassador
to procure a speedy reply from Venice, so that the applicant may
be able to sail at once and before the spring.
From London, the 5 Oct.-25 Sept., 1645.
[Signed] G. R. Weckerlin.
|291. Advices from London, the 5th October, 1645.
The victory of the Scottish parliamentarians over Montrose
is confirmed. After the first battle Lesley again came up with the
remains of the royalist party, who were trying to unite, and so
all were routed, Montrose being forced to take flight with only
eleven horsemen, and he is now invested in a small place, in danger
of falling into the hands of the enemy.
In Bristol General Fairfax found 140 guns, a great quantity of
arms, munitions and food for about two years, besides a quantity
of ships in the port. It is not yet known whither he will turn his
The king, distressed by such blows, is tortured by suspicion
as much as by adverse fortune, and believes the fall of Bristol
was due to craft and deceit, because a place supplied for every
emergency, defended by a Prince with most efficient troops,
yielded at the mere appearance rather than to the assault of the
hostile forces. He has consequently conceived the greatest
distrust of his nephews, the Princes Palatine, either because of
actual information, or because misfortune has instilled into his
heart the suspicion that they aspire to the crown and kingdom
and are plotting secretly for his ruin with parliament, in concert
with their eldest brother, who is living in London. Accordingly
he has sent definite orders to Oxford for the arrest of Prince
Rupert, who went there after leaving Bristol, and this has been
done. He has also ordered him to leave that place and the kingdom
within fourteen days. The king has further imprisoned
the governor of Oxford (fn. 6) and it is thought that he may decide to
do the same with Prince Maurice. This accident has reduced the
royalist party to extremity and it will be difficult for it to hold out
long against force and fraud. In this state of affairs the conclusion
of peace with the Irish Catholics has come opportunely. (fn. 7) †
Destitute of all succour these have had to accept terms prejudicial
to the exercise of their religion, but these conditions were less
harsh than any they could expect from parliament.
Bibl. S. Marco
292. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador for the Congress
of Munster, from Domenico Condulmier, his Secretary
at the Hague.
Reports engagement of Flint at the rate of 70 ducats a month.
Has seen his patents which are numerous and very ample.
Amsterdam, the 28th October, 1645.
293. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices from England.
Paris, the 31st October, 1645.
294. Advices from London, the 19th October, 1645.
Free from Bristol, Fairfax's army has gone to besiege Westcester
which is on the sea and serves as a port for the Irish who come
to help the king. That is why the parliamentarians want to take
it, as the peace in Ireland causes his Majesty to expect powerful
succour. To prevent that door being closed, the king set out
with 4,000 men to throw reinforcements into it, but as usual the
attempt fared badly, the troops being defeated, many taken,
others slain, including persons of note, and 200 horse were obliged
to flee. (fn. 8) The king, after going to Wales has proceeded to Newark,
almost in the centre of the kingdom, and there calling upon his
followers all round he is preparing to renew the attempt and not
to lose so important a place without making every effort.
Parliament having sent a convoy of munitions and money to
the camp of Fairfax, is urgently recalling the Scottish army so
that it may besiege Newark, and the king himself inside it, before
he can take the field ; but as they do not expect such promptitude
from the Scots they are collecting troops with great energy in
order to carry out his plan with their own forces. Two other
places of minor importance have surrendered to parliament,
which, having some small organised force in almost every county,
is in a position to bring the whole kingdom very speedily under
The Prince of Wales, cut off from communication with his
father by hostile forces, has asked parliament for a pass to send
Opton and Piper to his Majesty to remind and suggest to him
the means to peace. (fn. 9) This was refused, either because a treaty
for peace is barred or because of the suspicion that their journey
was intended for Holland, to arrange a new marriage between the
Prince and the daughter of Orange. These suspicions are increased
because the Dutch Admiral Tromp has been sighted cruising
off Cornwall, the opinion being that he is trying to carry off the
prince to Holland.
Prince Rupert is still a prisoner at Oxford. In Scotland
Montrose is trying to repair his losses and raise fresh troops.
The Scots, more and more inclined to peace, have made three
proposals to the English, first that one form of religion be determined,
second that they offer means of peace to the king, third
that a means be found to supply their army with its pay.
A Scottish gentleman of the King of Denmark sent to the
King of England to inform him of the agreement with the Swedes,
has reached London and asked for a pass to go on. (fn. 10) He has
not yet succeeded in eliciting a reply, the Houses feeling doubtful
whether some other business is not concealed beneath the compliment.