323. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices from England.
Paris, the 2nd January 1645. [M.V.]
324. Advices from London, the 21st December, 1645.
Talk and hopes of peace gain ground in England, the king
being practically compelled to accept it. He has sent a trumpet
to London to ask a pass for the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of
Southampton and two others, (fn. 1) to make overtures for peace,
and the Prince of Wales has added his prayers, at the instance of
his father. Parliament replied that the journey would be superfluous.
They would send his Majesty a project very soon, and
if this was refused, they would seek means calculated to save the
The two Princes Palatine are reconciled with the king and have
returned to Oxford. There and everywhere else subject to the
king, they are preparing a relief for Chester, which is very hard
Various officers and soldiers were in London who had abandoned
the royal side, but parliament, fearing some plot, had them all
arrested in one night. To prevent any of them finding an
asylum they set guards at the houses of all the foreign ministers.
These were removed in the morning when the two Houses sent an
apology for the affront.
Some strong places in Lancashire and Skippon in Yorkshire
have fallen into the hands of the parliamentarians. Parliament
has sent two commissioners to the Scottish army at Newark, to
take part in its direction. (fn. 2) They have occupied some forts,
but an attempt to capture an island, to enable them to cross the
river and complete the investment, was repulsed. In Ireland
also the English have won successes, 500 of their enemies being
slain on the field and 1,000 captured. (fn. 3)
325. Giovanni Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in
France, to the Doge and Senate.
After incredible difficulties over the levy of English with which
your Serenity charged me, I have at last come to terms this
morning with Col. Sidney Atkins. He is of an excellent family and
served formerly as a volunteer and later with a regiment of that
crown, while finally, in the present civil wars he has borne arms
on the royal side in his own country. Having received some
affront from the Princes Palatine, he left them and proceeded
to London, but owing to the Catholic religion, which he professes,
he does not find residence there safe. He came on purpose to
see me, and in addition to finding his terms considerably more
moderate than those of any one else, I saw that there would be
greater facilities for carrying it into effect, as he showed me the
permit which he holds from parliament to proceed with the levy
to the service of your Excellencies so I struck a bargain with him.
He would not bind himself to more than 1,200 soldiers besides
the officers, but he held out hopes of reaching 1,500 and possibly
even 2,000. For the entire levy, its embarcation, the cost of the
voyage, food and all other requirements, from London to Candia
excepting only the hire of the ships, for which I could not induce
him to commit himself, while he wished to deal in the money of
his own country, I brought him down to slightly less than 4½l.
sterling per head, which allowing for all the exchanges will come
to about 24 ducats di banco per man. I consider this very
reasonable taking into account the cost of other levies and with
what this crown itself furnishes for its own service. It is true
that the levy will consist mostly of prisoners of war, but they
are experienced troops, skilled in arms, as I have written before.
In accordance with my instructions from your Excellencies
to send some one to London for the hire of the ships, the only
expense which falls upon your Serenity, and also to assist at the
embarcation, I shall send the Secretary Suriano in two or three
days, who has worked with untiring energy and devotion at all
that his service requires, and is quite ready to show his zeal
by undertaking this troublesome task. As I have not had time
to get the contract written out, I will send it by the next ordinary
and with it that of another engineer and possibly more, together
with their terms.
I will supply the secretary with enough money for his journey
and living expenses and trust that this will be made good to me
in due time in the accounts, and also that arrangements will be
made for new letters of credit for this levy, because those which I
have will not go very far.
The English General Goring has unexpectedly arrived in France,
having abandoned the remainder of his army, which was the
strongest that the royalists had left. There are various reports
about his coming, that it is for the cure of some infirmity or that
he purposes to raise levies, which the queen of England has
besought of their Majesties here with tears in her eyes. Others
talk about a proposal of marriage between the Prince of Wales
and Mademoiselle of Orleans, but under existing circumstances
this is so unlikely that it is not worth considering. I send the
further advices from those parts on the enclosed sheet.
Paris, the 9th January, 1645. [M.V.]
326. Advices from London, the 28th December, 1645.
The king in a letter sent to London has complained bitterly
of the refusal of a pass to his envoys for peace and condemns
the action of the other side as directly contrary to their declarations
hitherto. Parliament sent a gentleman to the Princes
Palatine, who returned aggrieved. (fn. 4) They are restored to the
king's favour and their former positions. All those left on his
Majesty's side desire peace at any price, because at Oxford
distress and discord reign everywhere. The king had collected
2,000 men from various garrisons to send to the relief of Chester,
but the parliamentarians having broken the bridges, they had to
retire to Oxford. Men are leaving the king daily. Some join the
other side, others cross to France or to Holland. It is believed
that the Prince of Wales, who is in the West, being unable to
join his father, thinks of escaping in a ship which he keeps ready.
The Scots have rather drawn off from Newark, but with money
parliament hopes to get them to act as it wishes and is sending
to that army on purpose special messengers. Parliament has
prorogued until the 15th of March the date for those who seek
a reconciliation with it. The two Houses sent a member to the
French Resident Sabran to enquire if he had a hand in the passing
of letters between the king and queen. He replied that he was
only obliged to give an account of his actions to the king of France,
and if parliament supposed that he had had a hand in anything
to its prejudice or contrary to the neutrality he was instructed
to observe, it should complain to his king, to whom he will render
account as in duty bound.
327. Giovanni Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in
France, to the Doge and Senate.
Condulmier writes to me from Holland that he has had an
interview with Braset and found that he had no information yet
as to what is to be done with the ships ordered in Holland. The
Secretary of State and Liona have vied with each other in explaining
to me that Brasset is not yet informed of the intentions
of the government in order that the matter may be done in secret.
He has been taken by surprise, but he will now have full information,
because of the ships ordered in Holland, six are destined
for the republic, which will unite with four others which are
arming actively in Britanny, in order to save expense. The money
moreover has been remitted to Holland. The rest of the ships
ordered are to serve for the king of England, but the armament
will be made under the name of Monsieur, in order to avoid infringing
the neutrality which they claim to observe between the two
parties. The queen here implores levies and money for her
husband. As regards the first it is thought that they will permit
her to take some corps of troops as covertly as possible and for the
rest they are looking for a pretext, either that the clergy shall
furnish a sum of money under the cloak of religion, or that the
queen may raise cash from some fund as if on her own private
account. But it is too late to think of the interests of the king of
England as the enclosed sheet will show.
Paris, the 16th January, 1645. [M.V.]
328. Advices from London, the 4th January, 1646.
Parliament had drafted a sharp reply to the king's letter, but
the Scottish commissioners wished it modified, though in appearance
only, as in substance they agreed to exclude the proposals
the king wished to make and refer to what they will send him very
soon. This will contain the usual four points : that religion shall
be reformed and changed ; that the control of money and the
armies shall rest with the two parliaments, that Ireland and the
Catholic religion there shall be destroyed and that the most
loyal servants of the king shall be excluded from the peace and
pardon. Necessity will drive the king to make some compact
because his affairs are at the last gasp. Hereford, which bravely
withstood siege by the Scottish army last summer, has now been
surprised in a moment by the parliamentarians. Part of the
garrison started for the relief of Chester, and failed, leaving the
place exposed to 900 men, whose leader, for 6,000 Jacobus,
conducted the enterprise. A few dressed as rustics occupied one
gate cut the guard to pieces and let the others in. They found
a quantity of arms and several rich men who had taken refuge
there and have been made prisoner. (fn. 5) The loss is great for the
king's side, because the place kept the surrounding country in
awe, and now it will bend to the yoke of the more powerful.
Newark is also blockaded, although the nature of the country
does not allow the Scots to get very near. Chester is also in
extremity, the ice having permitted the enemy to approach the
walls at another place. In Ireland the Catholics besieging Sligo,
through the carelessness of the sentries and the absence of the
commander, not without suspicion of conspiracy with the enemy,
have been surprised and defeated with serious loss. (fn. 6)
329. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
I attach the agreement for the levy of English, with the terms.
These are on the same lines as the others, with some small differences
of no great consequence, which I had to concede to satisfy
the genius of the nation, which is very cautious and suspicious
in negotiation. For the rest the interests of your Excellencies
are sufficiently safeguarded. 566 lire which must be paid at once
are on account of 2 crowns per head. I have arranged with the
Colonel not to give them except on embarcation and for effectives
The Secretary Suriano set out for those parts yesterday with
appropriate orders both for finding the ships and for embarking
the men. I have had 6,000l. remitted to London, for which I
am making a remittance to Venice of 30,000 ducats di banco.
That is approximately what the amount comes to, which will be
arranged afterwards with the Lumaga according to the rate of
exchange between London and Paris. I have had very great
difficulty about getting the money supplied, because with the
poverty of money and merchants on the mart of London, the
usual circulation is lacking (manca del solito giro.) I have
accordingly instructed the secretary if he has a chance of making
direct arrangements over there on better terms, not to let slip
the opportunity, and in such case I beg your Excellencies to cause
the letters to be accepted and paid in the usual way.
To the individual who offered men and ships I have communicated
the reply supplied by your Serenity. He has repeated his
offer on the terms enclosed. As some of these seemed to me too
hard or not well expressed, I have got him to moderate and
explain them in the marginal notes attached. The individual,
who has hitherto desired to keep secret, has supplied me with his
name in confidence, requesting that if the affair comes to nothing,
it may be forgotten and buried. He is the General Waller who
commanded in chief an army for the parliament at the beginning
of the present wars. He is a man accustomed to responsibility
and famous and the only reason he was dismissed from his charge
was a law, aimed at the Earl of Essex, that members of parliament
might not retain such appointments. Various other proposals
have been made to me, and two other regiments could be arranged
for if your Excellencies should consider it to be to your advantage.
Paris, the 16th January, 1645. [M.V.]
330. Agreement between Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador
in France, and Colonel Sidney Atkins.
The Colonel undertakes to levy a regiment of 1,200 experienced
English soldiers for Venice and have them ready to embark in
two months from the signing of this agreement. It shall consist
of 8 companies of 150 or 160 including officers. The Colonel
shall receive 150 ducats a month ; a captain 60, a lieutenant 32,
an ensign 24, two sergeants 15 each, 4 corporals 8 each, a secretary
10 and each man 30 lire. In the field they shall receive, a captain
100 ducats, a lieutenant 50, an ensign 30, a sergeant 15, a corporal
10, a secretary 15 and the soldiers the same as other troops.
Pay shall begin from the day they land at Candia, which is their
place d'armes. They shall then receive a whole month's pay.
The republic will supply arms and deduct a lire a month from the
pay for them from each soldier. When the war is over the
republic may dispose of the regiment as it pleases, and in such case
it shall be bound to maintain the Colonel's company for 5 years and
two others for 3 years. During the war companies exceeding
30 men shall not be reformed. Those with less may be absorbed
and their officers paid off. When paid off all the troops shall
receive a month's pay as a gift. The Colonel shall obtain any
leave that may be necessary for taking the men from England.
He shall receive 5,686l. sterling for all costs to the place d'armes
except the hire of ships, which the republic will pay, to wit 566l.
on signing the agreement and the remainder at embarcation. The
republic will provide and pay for the ships to take them from
London to Candia. If the ships are not ready within the two
months, the Colonel shall consign the troops to the republic's
commissioner in London, who shall maintain them until the ships
are ready. The Colonel shall find sureties. He shall have the
benefit of any soldiers who die by the way. A commissioner shall
be sent to London for this levy. If the levy is raised to 2,000
the same terms shall be extended.
Dated at Paris, the 10th January 1645. [M.V.]
(Signed) G. Battista Nani, Ambassador.
|331. Proposal of William Waller to serve in Candia.
|If the republic wishes to
reduce the fleet to 18 ships, he
He is still desirous to serve
with a fleet of 25 ships and
4,000 men on land, as he
wishes to make a powerful
diversion possibly at several
points. Serving without a
fleet the land forces will clearly
waste, and cannot be supplied
and recruited by ships of the
fleet, while the rest remain in
|If the republic finds
difficulty in the time, it can be
arranged by her ambassador
The fleet and men shall be
employed for a year, and if
the republic does not want
them longer it shall inform the
General. Three months' notice
shall be given. He cannot
offer any further. If it is
accepted he wants the following :
|If the republic finds any
difficulty about the commission
of General, it can instruct
the ambassador, with whom
arrangements can be made.
A commission as general of
his fleet and forces and all
other English and Scots in the
republic's service, by land or
|Not as cautionary towns
but merely as a place of repair,
and where he may take prizes.
A place of repair, to retire
to and for safety, such as
Cephalonia, Cursola, Liesina.
|This is only to make a
diversion for the advantage of
the republic. He agrees to
the booty then taken being
valued and the amount deducted
from their pay, or else
to take no pay for that time.
The four months to be the
first after his arrival.
Four months in each year to
make war, when his booty
shall be his absolute property.
|These two articles may be
adjusted at Paris.
He shall be paid like any
other Ultramontane General.
Four months' pay in advance.
|The object is not pecuniary
but founded on piety and
honour. His offer is a guarantee
that he means to live and
die with Venice in this cause.
Three months' pay on discharge,
to pay passage home.
|If the republic agrees to the
addition of 2,000 men, the
ships must be increased at
the rate of 250 soldiers to
each, besides 90 sailors.
Half of his salary as a
pension for life. He will
always be at their disposition.
This is the extent of his
demands. He thinks the only
question left unsettled, the
cavalry levy, is because he
was not understood. He would
like, in lieu of the cavalry to
bring 6,000 men instead of
|He represents that his pay has been 10l. a day as General.
The republic will be equally well served by land and sea by a
double command. He expects 7l. a head for transporting the
soldiers, and 600l. sterling for the hire of the ships, which shall
be of 400 tons and carry 32 guns each. He desires the same terms
as have been conceded to the Dutch. He makes a point of arming
his forces in England, and wishes to have a consideration for
that, to be arranged between him and the ambassador. A
prompt reply is necessary so that the necessary provisions for
the voyage may be made before the heat becomes too great.
332. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
For the ships which are to serve for the transport from England
to Candia of the troops agreed upon, I have written to the
Secretary Suriano the instructions sent me by your Serenity on
the 23rd ult. advising him as far as possible to avoid making
any promise but to confine himself to arrange for the transport
only, because they will not hesitate upon the spot to have them
seized, according as exigencies may demand. I have had another
offer from London of about 1,000 soldiers which can be had
quickly all ready for embarkation. I have written to Suriano
to hear what they have to say and to treat, and if he can get them
on the same terms as the others, to accept, because Atkins may
possibly have some difficulty in exceeding the promised number of
1,200 and as the commissions of your Excellencies extend to
2,000 I considered that it would be more to your interest to have
200 too many than 800 too few.
Paris, the 23rd January, 1645. [M.V.]
|333. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The queen of England has at last obtained leave to enlist
3,000 infantry in Britanny and 1,000 men in addition for whom
mounts will be found in her own country. At the last Council
they decided further to give her 200,000 crowns to enable her to
carry this into effect, in spite of the fact that the king's exchequer
is extremely exhausted. She has had several conferences with
Emerii to get this decision carried promptly into effect and obtain
the cash. She will return to her quarters in Paris, to spend the
winter there. The state of affairs of the king, her husband, is
in the enclosed sheet.
They are sending from here a certain Monsieur Mulin as
Resident in Ireland, to obtain levies and fresh recruits for the
regiments which were drawn from there during last year. He
will also stretch out a hand in the most friendly way to the
remnants of the Catholics who are left in that country.
Paris, the 23rd January, 1645. [M.V.]
334. Advices from London, the 12th January, 1646.
Failing in his attempt to get a pass for his peace envoys, the
king has again sent a trumpet asking that he may himself come to
parliament, accompanied by 300 persons, and there propose
and arrange peace. The Houses met about this and a refusal is
expected, because the royal presence might give rise to dissensions
between the Houses themselves, some not being absolutely
opposed to the king, and others anxious for peace.
The man who surprised Hereford has been made governor, (fn. 7)
and another important place in the North has surrendered to
parliament, leaving them in absolute control of all the country
beyond Trent, where his Majesty has not a single town. The
castle of Skippon has surrendered after some days resistance and
Chester cannot hold out for long, Fairfax's men having occupied
an important fort which shuts it in on the other side. They
have sent 15,000 Jacobus to the Scottish army besieging Newark,
but owing to the season they cannot invest the place more closely
There are reports that Montrose has somewhat re-established
himself, but this does not seem enough to relieve the king.
335. Giovanni Ambrogio Sarotti, Venetian Resident at
Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
An English ship which has arrived from Constantinople in 28
days reports the energy of the Grank Turk in equipping the fleet.
He wanted to send a chiaus and a spai to Barbary on this very
ship to hasten the sailing of the corsairs, but through the efforts
of the English ambassador and presents the captain escaped
Pisa, the 27th January, 1646.
336. Gerolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain,
to the Doge and Senate.
They are expecting a corps of Irish, the raising of which was
arranged some months ago and the money paid down to a trustworthy
person. It is not known whether it will arrive in time.
Madrid, the 30th January, 1645.
337. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
They are startled here at the news that a certain number of
troops have crossed from England to Dunkirk. Parliament
excuses this by saying that they are levies of prisoners, who are
freely granted to everybody ; but here they make it serve as a
pretext for balancing this by the consent granted to the queen
for other levies. All the same they are not without suspicion
that now the English have no longer anything to fear from
the royal party, they will want to meddle in the affairs of Flanders,
and not allow Dunkirk to fall. We see the preparation in that
kingdom of a powerful naval force, and although the object may
be to shut out the king on every side and to attack Ireland, yet
it would always be easy to give it another direction.
Encloses the London news.
Paris, the 30th January, 1645. [M.V.]
338. Advices from London, the 18th January, 1646.
The king impatient at the delay of parliament in answering his
request for a pass for himself, has repeated the demand by letter.
Blaming the Houses for the continuation of this cruel war he goes
on to explain that he desires a safe conduct from the two English
Houses, from the Scottish deputies and from the generals to
proceed to parliament at London or Westminster, accompanied
by 300 of his servants and officers, to consult and decide upon
peace proposals, for the space of forty days, to withdraw afterwards
to one of his places which he may select. Besides generalities
about facilitating the common tranquillity he offers that the
direction of the armies shall be referred to a stated number of
persons from both sides, chosen by himself, who shall have
absolute power over them, and when the number is fixed the
Houses shall choose one half and he the other. (fn. 8)
The English deaf to all proposals of peace, and the more
averse, the more liberal these are, have returned an absolute
refusal, but it has not yet been sent as it is submitted to the
Scottish deputies, who dislike too exalted and proud a manner and
would like milder measures of peace. Meanwhile parliament,
fearing lest the king should venture to London without a pass,
either disguised or openly, confiding in some remnants of his own
party, has doubled the guards, inside and outside the city, with
great vigilance. But he remains at Oxford, in increasing straits,
and in the shortage of money the troops are disbanding. Parliament
meanwhile is growing greater and amassing troops to try
and squeeze him as soon as possible and reduce him to extremity
in that narrow compass.
2,000 infantry have been sent to Newark to join the Scottish
army and press that place harder, but the Scots have not allowed
the commissioners from London to hold a review of their troops.
There is a report that the Prince of Wales has driven off a part of
Fairfax's men and introduced relief into Chester. If this is
true that important place will be rescued for the moment from
its desperate plight.