360. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
It being impossible, owing to the opposition of the merchants
who trade in the Turkish dominions to obtain from the Lower
House the confirmation of the assent given by the Upper to Earl
Holles and Viscount Connuel raising a levy for your Serenity,
the Secretary Suriano has returned. From his account of the
country, which is thoroughly democratic and disordered, I can
see clearly that your Serenity can expect nothing from that
quarter. The French and Spaniards have realised this, as
though by their resident ministers they flatter parliament by
recognising its sovereignty, they have spent a great deal of
money, but have not succeeded in obtaining the men.
Paris, the 3rd April, 1646.
361. Advices from London, the 22nd March, 1646.
General Fairfax, pursuing his advantage in Cornwall, has
hemmed in the remains of Hopton's forces on the shore, so that
with no retreat open, they must either perish or surrender. He
has offered very liberal terms to Hopton, to induce him to change
The Prince of Wales, being unable to resist or to join his
father, has sailed away to find a refuge elsewhere. Where he has
gone is yet uncertain. It is thought he may steer for France to
find his mother, but he may have gone to Ireland to gather up
the wrecked fragments of his father's crown. Peace between
the Catholics there and his Majesty was said to be confirmed,
but the only news is that the Catholics themselves have agreed
to some terms which concern their goods and consciences, and
placed them in the hands of the nuncio, declaring that they will
recognise the king if he will agree to them. This manner of
proceeding renders the affair still more suspect to the Protestants.
They are assembling a national council in Ireland to reform
and to correct the abuses which have introduced themselves into
religion in the confusion of the country and in the fighting.
Parliament, on their side, by sending a new viceroy with ample
powers, (fn. 1) is trying to add vigour to its own forces in that country,
which is practically the only one left for it to subdue.
Lord Biron and Sir [Jacob] Ashley, governor of Worcester, are
collecting men to try and join the king at Oxford, but others
are daily making their peace with parliament, abandoning the
ruins of the royal party before they are reduced to subjection.
362. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince of Wales, being forced to leave England, has taken
refuge, with a few followers in the island of Kil, (fn. 2) opposite these
shores, a place barely two leagues in circumference, uninhabited
and untilled, where he cannot live for long. He has sent a
gentleman here to learn whether it is his mother's wish that he
should proceed to Ireland or to France. She inclines to have
him near her, and has obtained the permission of their Majesties
here, from compassion, for him to come. Some of his people
have already landed in Britanny and the prince himself may have
arrived by now.
The enclosed sheet will show the parliament's plans against
him, and other matters.
Paris, the 10th April, 1646.
363. Advices from London, of the 29th March, 1646.
Hopton, hemmed in on the coast by Fairfax, has had to make
shameful terms of surrender. (fn. 3) He himself is allowed to go to
Oxford with 50 horse. The other soldiers are granted their lives
but give up their standards, arms, horses and baggage. Fairfax
gives the cavalry a pound sterling per head to go where they
please, but not to bear arms any more, and half this to the foot.
When the Houses heard of the Prince of Wales leaving the
kingdom, they were much moved, and after long consultations,
they have decided to get Fairfax to write to the prince to return,
offering him a safe retreat in districts under parliament, in a place
chosen by himself and accompanied by those whom he shall
approve. The object is either to get the heir to the throne into
their power, or to obtain from his absence a pretext for rendering
him as criminal as his father.
The king has settled the peace in Ireland, but the reinforcements
he hoped to draw from thence can no longer sail, as parliament
occupies all the positions and coasts. So the king is
practically surrounded in Oxford and without succour it is equally
difficult to defend himself or to retreat. In Wales some of his
party have collected about 2,000 men to support his Majesty,
who still has some cavalry, though in a deplorable state. At
Newark they made a furious sortie against the Scots, inflicting
losses, but were repulsed in the end. Parliament is most solicitous
in supplying money to the army, to avoid the losses which the
Exeter is in extremity and is beginning to speak of surrender,
indeed the whole royalist party is falling, without hope, unless
Scotland changes its mind, of which there is not much sign.
364. Terms of agreement made on the 12th April with William
Spenser, captain of the ship Anna Buonaventura, of 5,500 stara
burthen, with 40 sailors and 24 guns, whereby he undertakes to
convey provisions and troops, etc., to Candia, after which he will
be free to go wherever he pleases.
Approved in the Senate on the 16th April.
Ayes, 107. Noes, 1. Neutral, 11.
365. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices from England.
Paris, the 17th April, 1646.
366. Advices from London, of the 5th April, 1646.
The 2,500 horse collected by Lord Ashby to take to the king at
Oxford were blocked on the road by the governor of Gloucester.
The fight, at first doubtful, ended in favour of parliament.
Ashby is captured and his whole force destroyed. (fn. 4) The king,
who left Oxford to join hands with him, had to return and shut
himself up again there. The governor of Gloucester (fn. 5) has
approached to within 5 leagues of the city, having occupied a
royal house in the district. Fairfax also, having cleared all
Cornwall by Hopton's surrender, is marching on Oxford, to hem
in the king, who neither has force enough to take the field nor
provisions to stand a siege. As a last resource his Majesty has
written again to the two Houses in London, offering extreme
conditions of despair and of peace. He only asks that those
who have followed him or who are at present with him may be
allowed to go home to live in quiet, free to enjoy their goods, and
not bound to take any oath contrary to the ancient laws of the
realm. On these terms he offers to dismiss his armies, to dismantle
all places where he has garrisons, and to come to London merely
with his ordinary Court, putting himself into the hands of
parliament, with a mutual promise to forget the past. He leaves
the conditions of peace to parliament to decide what it considers
best for the public weal and the repose of the kingdom, which
means bending his neck to the yoke and retaining only the name
of king. He proposes nothing for Scotland but leaves it to parliament
to suggest to him what it thinks reasonable and satisfactory
to that country. (fn. 6) This has roused the suspicions of the Scots
who fear that the English will get unequal conditions, especially
as they claim half the appointments in the army, of which
parliament claims the sole direction for itself. The two Houses
have held long debates on these proposals. Nothing has been
decided, but they incline to reject them, as it does not suit them
to allow his Majesty to come to London before he has signed the
conditions which they intend to propose to him. They delay
sending these in order to make the most of their increasing
advantage in the field and to be in a stronger position to carry
through the peace they intend, which means the abolition of the
367. Giovanni Soranzo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople,
to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador complains of the wrong done to him by
the publicity given to the presence of English vessels in your Serenity's
fleet, which has led to the arrest of certain individuals here and to
danger of worse. I replied that no definite announcement had been
made by me, but it was impossible to conceal the fact, since it was
published in the gazettes and the Turks had seen the ships last year
at Candia. With all this he has chosen to break things off, and he
omitted to pay the usual compliments last Easter. I will keep in
my place, taking notice ; but he indulges in these outbursts so that
complaints may not be made to the king, who certainly would have
marked him down by now on account of his numerous eccentricities
(che certo sin hora l' haverebbe documentato di tante sue bizzarie).
The Vigne of Pera, the 18th April, 1646.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
368. Girolamo Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Spain,
to the Doge and Senate.
A fortnight ago two Englishmen arrived here secretly sent by
the parliament of England to conduct some secret business
between this crown and the parliament there. The motive was
to make a riposte to France, which is secretly assisting the English
king, and so they are induced to balance this by opening negotiations
here with Spain. The king listens with half an ear, not from
any real inclination, but from a feeling of pique, having discovered
that the king of England has asked help of the duke of Braganza
and has friendly relations with him. Castel Rodrigo in Flanders
has set this business going with England, and already in England
they have granted a levy of 2,000 infantry in favour of Spain for
Flanders. Presumably this has been carried out by now and they
are now coming closer together in the negotiations with respect
to the ports of Flanders, and of Dunkirk in particular. It does
not suit the English that this should pass into the hands of either
the French or the Dutch, the former ancient rivals and the latter
powerful neighbours. Here the negotiations are not yet on a
firm foundation, but they are proceeding within the limits of an
interested correspondence, stimulated by vindictive sentiments,
the Catholic king against the English sovereign over Portugal
and the parliament against the French because of their assistance
to the king of England.
Madrid, the 21st April, 1646.
369. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France,
to the Doge and Senate.
A safe conduct has been sent to the Prince of Wales so that he
may be at liberty to come whenever he wishes. The rest of the
London news is in the enclosed sheet.
Paris, the 24th April, 1646.
370. Advices from London of the 12th April, 1646.
Parliament has met the king's advances about peace with the
usual excuse that his presence in London would not contribute
to tranquillity, but would rather increase jealousy and suspicion,
unless the articles of peace are signed first. To prevent the
royalists from entering London and to drive out those already
there they have decided that all his Majesty's adherents who
venture to come to London without the consent of the two
Houses shall be arrested and punished as spies. Those who have
made their peace with parliament and are here in safety, must
withdraw to other places, but subject to parliament. But fearing
lest the king, in desperation, should decide to come to London,
without permission, to try by his own presence to arouse the
respect and affection of the people, they have added a decree
that directs the councils of war, in case his Majesty should decide
to come here before peace is concluded, to provide for the safety
of his royal person, which means arresting him and putting him
in the Tower of London.
The peace proposals which have been so long under discussion
have not yet been sent to his Majesty and they are holding them
up on the pretext of communicating them to the Scots, and settling
them by joint consent, because with every day the king's necessity
to accept any terms grows greater. In the terms they leave his
Majesty scarcely the name of king. Whereas in the conference
of Oxbrig the direction of the militia was asked for 7 years only,
under a body appointed equally by the king and the Houses,
now parliament claims it for itself for ever, so that it will be able
to control at pleasure both arms and money, without the consent
or permission of his Majesty.
The king having lost a strong place in sight of Oxford, is
devoting himself to fortifying that city, and there is a report that
he may leave and try to get to Scotland to join the remnants
of Montrose's force, but the ways out are held ; he can receive
no further succour, and cannot even retreat to Scotland or
371. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at the
Congress of Munster, to the Doge and Senate.
I would suggest the employment of Adam Teran. He is the
one who undertook to fight the whole of the Turkish fleet with
none but the Dutch ships in the service of the republic. He was
to have commanded the fleet of French ships against the parliament
of England, but he is now free and offers his services, because
the Provinces have forbidden anything more to be done with
that fleet, at the instance of that same parliament, in spite
of all the money that France has thrown away upon it, over the
advance of which it will be necessary to go to law.
A propos of England news has arrived here that the king has
undone the king, in going alone to London privately after having
consented to the conditions prescribed to him by the parliament,
which are that he shall no longer have any control over the forces
on sea or on land with all that pertains to them, or over the
fortresses and ports of the realm or over any public matter
whatsoever, without the approval of parliament which, during
his life shall remain in perpetual session at London. Confirmation
is awaited with interest in the spectacle of a monarchy reduced
to a republic in our day, upon which, with the passage of time,
the French will have cause for reflection more than any others.
Munster, the 27th April, 1646.