295. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople,
to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador shows letters from the English captains
in the service of your Serenity in which they complain bitterly that
when they and the Flemings offered to attack the Turks with an
undertaking not to allow a single galley to return to Constantinople,
they were not permitted to do so.
The Vigne of Pera, the 1st November, 1645.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
296. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to
the Doge and Senate.
At a second audience Cardinal Panfilio assured me that he had
no sleep day or night from constantly thinking about these
affairs. He would tell me in confidence that he had been turning
over in his mind every possible expedient. He had spoken to
the Resident of England about hiring ships. It is their intention
to do something of moment to be carried into effect when the
pope gives the order.
Rome, the 4th November, 1645.
297. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
A fleet of 20 to 25 ships is arming in Holland for the king of
England. Other events of those parts are in the enclosed sheet.
Paris, the 7th November, 1645.
298. Advices from London, the 26th October, 1645.
The city of Westcester has also been obliged to yield to the
parliamentary arms under General Fairfax, and with it one of
the chief entries into the realm. Another parliamentary army is
besieging Leicester, of no less importance, but Goring has
succeeded in throwing relief into it, with which it is hoped it
may hold out and by detaining the forces of General Fairfax,
allow the Prince of Wales, who would otherwise be hemmed in,
to retire or to supply himself.
Cromuel has made an important capture for the parliament
in taking Rasinous, which is a private house made into a fortress
by its situation and by art, and had thrice successfully resisted
the parliamentary arms. (fn. 1) The Earl of Winchester, its owner and
one of the leading Catholics of the country, was there with
his wife, and children, a good number of religious and other
Catholics, who have all been taken prisoners to London, as well
as a notable booty of the wealth of all the country round, stored
The king has left Newark and is believed to be moving towards
Scotland, because he is practically shut out from all the strongest
places of England, and in that other kingdom he hopes to find the
people less hostile, and to give a hand to Montrose who is rallying
his forces very well. Before he went his secretary of state Digby
wrote to General Lesley inviting him to a treaty of peace and to
join the royal side. Without breaking the seals Lesley sent this
missive to parliament in London.
Nevertheless the Scots insist on peace and do not like the
complete perdition of their king. On the other hand, parliament
in London, while ostensibly discussing the means, drags out the
affair amid difficulties and delays. There is in fact no other way
to prevent the king's ruin than to make a separate agreement
with the Scots, or that disagreement over religion or jealousy over
the command may increase between the two countries and
parliament, and so prepare the way for happier events.
Parliament has issued an edict requiring all who have followed
the king's party to ask pardon for the offence committed against
the laws and the state, before entering into possession of their
houses and goods.
His Majesty has sent 500 horse to Oxford, to establish a new
command there, and has ordered that on their return they shall
bring Prince Rupert to him as a prisoner, so that his excuses and
apologies may be heard.
299. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Buglion offered the king of England a levy of 5,000 to 6,000
infantry of those on the frontier of Flanders, to cross over and
bring him succour. But when the queen came expressly to
Paris to obtain the permission of their Majesties, it was denied
her, since they are perfectly aware that this levy could not be
furnished by Buglion out of his own forces, but that he would
have to do it with the money of the Spaniards, in accordance
with the suggestion made by the Scevrosa at Brussels, to be
transmitted, not to England, but against France.
Monsignor Ranuccini has sailed at last from la Rochelle on his
journey to Ireland. (fn. 2) The rest of the English news is enclosed.
Paris, the 14th November, 1645.
300. Advices from London, the 2nd November, 1645.
The king's journey to Scotland has not proved successful, and
so the best hopes of setting up his party in that country and of
increasing his power in England, have vanished. The plan was
that Montrose with his scanty forces should advance to the frontier,
where Colonel Digby, sent on by the king with 5 or 600 horse,
should join hands, and make it easier for the king, to pass with the
rest. But Montrose was detained longer than he expected by some
small place, while Digby, being repulsed with loss by the parliamentarians
in crossing a river, has retired again to Newark.
His Majesty finding himself still harder pressed there with a siege
imminent has gone to Oxford with only 100 horse.
In Yorkshire 1,600 royalists have been defeated and dispersed
by the country people, and some cavalry of Prince Maurice have
also been defeated elsewhere, leaving the prince's banner with the
His Majesty's cause suffers not only in the open but in the loss
of the strongest places. Langford has surrendered to Cromuel,
and Colonel Jones is beginning to press Cester hard, having
erected a fort which incommodes it greatly. In all the counties
small places keep surrendering to the parliamentary forces.
Amid all the captures there is a report of some advantage gained
by Goring over Fairfax's army, but this is not confirmed, beyond
a small engagement in which 160 parliamentarians were left
dead on the field.
The two Houses in London, puffed up by success and beginning
to despise the Scots, have jointly published a law in reply to their
demands. Leaving out all mention of religion or the peace they
promise them 30,000 Jacobus by the 10th of next month if they
have besieged Newark, while deducting from their claims for pay
the damage said to have been inflicted on the country and the
contributions exacted. They order them besides to withdraw
their garrisons from all the places they have taken in the North,
so that parliament may introduce English ones. (fn. 3) The only
opening for the king is that dissension may arise between the two
countries, because for the rest, his affairs are in the last stages
301. To the Ambassador in France.
With regard to the offer made by a person of position in
England, of a number of men and ships, we think, for the moment,
it will be advisable for you to make enquiry and find out his name
and all particulars, learning what his terms are for infantry
troops only and for as many ships as are required for their transport
and nothing more. You will report this with your customary
diligence, so that we may decide in accordance with the service.
Ayes, 110. Noes, 2. Neutral, 7.
302. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to
the Doge and Senate.
The Resident of the Queen of England is going to leave very soon
to go and find his mistress and then go on to the king. He will
take with him orders and instructions to urge that king, in the
pope's name, to declare himself altogether a Catholic and to recognise
the pope as the head of the Church. In such case he offers
the king every possible assistance in money and all the weight of
his authority with the Catholics there. This Resident maintains
that there is now no other means than this for restoring his
king's authority, but this is very difficult to believe owing to the
inveterate aversion of the people there against the Catholic
religion, and it is very remarkable how the pope has allowed
himself to be drawn into an affair of this kind, where success
is practically impossible, to promise a large amount of money
under existing circumstances. He has also already sent bills for
50,000 crowns for Monseigneur Rinuccini, who left for Ireland,
and who they hear has been taken prisoner.
This same Resident of England, in calling upon me, made the
offer that if your Serenity has need of ten or twelve English
ships, at little cost and with great advantage, he would arrange
for you to have them at once, and without having the slightest
interest in the transaction himself he will give all the directions
for the negotiations, if instructions are sent to the Ambassador
Nani in France, because he thinks that the best conditions can
be obtained there. I have thought fit to report this for what it
may be worth, since he asked me to do so.
Rome, the 18th November, 1645.
303. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices from England.
Paris, the 22nd November, 1645.
304. Advices from London, the 9th November, 1645.
The retirement of the king to Oxford is contradicted as he is
still at Newark, surrounded by various parliamentary forces
which are practically blockading the place. The two Houses
are urging the Scottish army to advance and lay formal siege,
and the result will show the unity of the two countries and their
inward feeling towards his Majesty.
Colonel Digby, unable to advance by land to join Montrose,
is trying to go by sea. He has marched with a few troops to
occupy some place on the coast, to provide a port for the ships
expected from Holland with succour and to send some reinforcements
to Montrose as well.
Fairfax, with all his army, has gone to besiege Cester, which he
has not yet been able to surround completely, because Goring,
who is the last hope of the royalists, has entrenched himself in
a suburb with 1,500 horse.
The province of Wales, which at first followed the king, is now
coming over to parliament, the majority having accepted the
conditions granted them to escape the calamities of war, not
finding the king's forces strong enough there to support his
interests. Mainmuth has surrendered to parliament with other
places of less importance.
The Prince of Wales has withdrawn to a strong castle on the
coast in the extremity of Cornwall, so that he may be able to
escape from the kingdom if need be. The advanced season
will soon put an end to the campaigning. It is becoming
very cold, especially in the north, and this may serve as an
excuse to the Scots for not undertaking further enterprises in
305. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to
the Doge and Senate.
The pope has been having long discussions recently with the
Resident of England to find out the cost, the manner and the time
for getting ten or twelve armed English ships. He seems to lean
to these rather than to galleys, as he fears that he would have
difficulty in getting crews for the latter, while the hulls of his are
old and ill fitted for service in the coming year. The Resident
assured me that for 24,000 ducats a month he reckoned they could
keep ten or twelve well armed ships and that the amount did not
appear excessive to his Holiness.
Rome, the 25th November, 1645.
306. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
I have been unable to come to terms with Rhosby about the
English levy, as he could not give a caution in Paris. It was his
intention to supply this in London, not from the merchants, but
from subjects of the parliament, out of whom it would be
impossible at the present time to obtain any satisfaction. Moreover
he would not agree to embark the men all at one place, but
he intended to pick them up from almost all England, a few
at a time. There is also the danger of mutiny among the men
taken from prison and conducted to the ship practically by force.
An individual has left here for England on purpose to treat with
another who has made offers, and I have written to others again
Colonel Pater, an Englishman, has been to see me and offered a
regiment to be taken to Candia at his own expense. He has
three ships of his own of 500 to 600 tons each and armed for war
with 30 guns apiece.
I enclose the advices from England.
Paris, the 28th November, 1645.
307. Advices from London, the 17th November, 1645.
Prince Rupert has sent an express to parliament in London
requesting that he, Prince Maurice his brother, and forty other
gentlemen and officers may have a pass to leave the realm in
safety and go beyond the sea. He pledges his word never to do
anything against parliament either by arms or counsel. The
Houses have greedily seized upon this opportunity for detaching
these princes from the king, whom they consider his right arm,
and to open the door to others beside. They have decided to
grant the pass, but one difficulty remains, whether they shall
oblige him to come to London and leave the realm that way, or
let him choose which way he pleases.
Besides the suspicions already conceived against his nephews,
their decision has influenced many others to abandon the king's
side every day, under the pretext of the favour and unmeasured
power which the king imparts to Digby, his secretary of state.
Not content with wielding the pen and having guided the
counsels, this individual now wanted to take the sword and
command the army which his Majesty intended to enter Scotland.
He is credited with the arrest of Prince Rupert at Oxford
and with the change of governors there and at Newark, as being
partisans of the prince. There is a report, as yet unconfirmed,
that while proceeding with this army to Scotland Digby has been
attacked in Cumberland by Col. Broune and lost 800 horse, taking
refuge himself in an island hard by.
The king is still at Newark with 6,000 men. In prospect of a
siege he is introducing supplies. The place itself is strong both
by nature and art. But a parliamentary leader has surprised
a strong place only 8 miles away (fn. 4) and is trying to harass them,
though it is not believed that the Scots think of advancing and
pitching their camp there this year. Fairfax also, owing to the
rain and cold has been obliged to leave Cester and will occupy
quarters in that district, which Goring will dispute with him as
best he may.
The parliamentarians announce a victory of their party in
Ireland with the loss of 1,500 on the other side. Mons. Rannuccini,
the papal nuncio has arrived safely in that kingdom to assist
the Catholics, who with the collapse of the king of England fear
their own destruction.