Venice
March 1647

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1926

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304-308

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'Venice: March 1647', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 27: 1643-1647 (1926), pp. 304-308. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89628 Date accessed: 24 November 2014.


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March 1647

Mar. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
484. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It is worth the consideration of your Excellencies that in the event of peace ensuing with Spain Mazarini has offered to the Portuguese ambassador all the assistance of France and her forces by sea and land ; since he has held out similar hopes to your Serenity and there is no doubt but he has expressed the same intentions to England it may be imagined that if peace should really come it will be a case of tossing up as to who should have the preference, unless all are served equally with little or nothing.
Paris, the 5th March, 1647.
[Italian.]
485. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
There is some talk of a marriage between the Prince of Wales and Mademoiselle d'Orleans. Although many indications point to such an event being unlikely, yet the suspicions of the parliamentarians are aroused, all the same, and we hear that they want to make a fundamental law of the realm that for the future their princes may not take a wife unless she be of the same religion as is professed by the state.
The insults which it is reported that Bellievre has received are being digested by France with dissimulation, indeed, when there is any discussion the ministers try to excuse this behaviour ; such is the power of circumstances and the desire to discharge the trouble of revenge upon others. Meanwhile Bellievre is staying in London as a private person, and is trying to find some arrangement by which the queen may be admitted to the kingdom and to prevent severe measures being taken against the Prince of Wales, since it is feared that when the king has arrived at Humby parliament will want to present the conditions of peace to him again, and if he will not accept them, that it will then proceed to depose him from his throne. The other news from that quarter is in the enclosed sheet.
Paris, the 5th March, 1647.
[Italian.]
Enclosure. 486. Advices from London, the 21st February, 1647.
The king pursues his journey day by day as arranged, the Houses having prescribed to their commissioners all the places he was to pass, rest and stop at. The guards and all the officers and servants about his Majesty have been appointed by parliament. No one who has not taken the parliament's side is allowed to approach or speak to the king, and when he asked for some of his old servants and in particular for his preachers, as he would not hear the preaching or make the prayers in the Puritan fashion, it was denied him.
Parliament has sent its deputies to the Scottish parliament with particular orders to maintain a perfect friendship between the two countries. The Scottish troops are evacuating the country and the towns occupied one by one, and the dismantling has been begun as arranged. The same Scottish parliament has decided to reform its army and reduce it to 6,000 foot and 2,000 horse. The general appointed for Ireland has left London and gone in the direction of Bristol, having given all the troops a rendezvous in those parts in ten days' time.
[Italian.]
Mar. 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives.
487. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I had audience of the pope yesterday. I commended his zeal for peace. In reply he said that the peace negotiations were not proceeding so well as was desirable and they were encountering difficulties in every direction. Christendom is oppressed by the Turks and the heretics. He had wished to succour and support the Catholics of Ireland, but now he did not know what could be done, as the Scots and the English have united together and have formed two heretical republics which will send powerful forces against Ireland. Perhaps by this time they will have delivered that poor king into the hands of the parliamentarians, who will put him into a tower, where he will die. He did not know but that this new power might turn against France and the Catholic Princes.
Rome, the 9th March, 1647.
[Italian.]
Mar. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
488. Gio. Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 12th March, 1647.
[Italian.]
Enclosure. 489. Advices from London, the 28th February, 1647.
When his Majesty was leaving Newcastle, as the Scottish commissioners were taking leave, it was observed that he drew aside a gentleman of their suite and covertly gave him a letter. The parliamentarians had this person seized and searched, and on him they found the king's letter, directed to Montreuil, the French resident in Scotland ; but as it is all in cipher they could not gather its contents. This has aroused fresh suspicion in the Houses and leads them to enquire more closely into the king's actions. Meanwhile they have issued a decree that no one who followed his Majesty's party may approach him.
The king has reached Humby. Everywhere on the road the people flocked to see him in great numbers, but they were not allowed to bring him the keys and the sword, with other marks of sovereign power. As soon as he reached Humby parliament again presented to him the Covenant and the peace proposals, giving him 20 days to decide, as a final term. It is thought that in the end the king will agree to sign, because he has already let them induce him to take the Presbyterian religion, which is the first step to the rest, but what is doubtful is the value of a forced consent. Parliament realises the difficulty perfectly and is devising ways to overcome it, which will be by prescribing fresh limitations to the king.
[Italian.]
Mar. 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
490. Giovanni Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier from the Ambassador Bellievre brings the negotiations for the return of the queen and the Prince of Wales to England. The parliament is very reluctant to give its consent for the queen and offers rather to pay to her 100,000l. sterling as a pension so long as she stays in France. As regards the Prince there seems no difficulty and they are contemplating sending a deputation to invite him to return to the kingdom. The rest of the news is in the usual sheet.
Paris, the 19th March, 1647.
[Italian.]
Enclosure. 491. Advices from London, the 7th March, 1647.
The news that his Majesty had accepted the Presbyterian religion is not confirmed, indeed he has requested parliament that two bishops of the Anglican church may be sent to him and two clergymen so that they may perform the usual offices about his person and by conferring with them he might resolve certain doubts about the religion which they are engaged in establishing. The Houses have decided not to concede this and they have repeated severe prohibitions forbidding any one of the royal party to approach the king.
The parliament of Scotland has deputed fresh commissioners to the king to persuade him to sign the Covenant and the proposals of peace. These bring with them a declaration in writing that when his Majesty took refuge with the Scottish army, it was without the knowledge and consent of that parliament, and that if his Majesty takes the course suggested his person and his posterity shall not be prejudiced in the rights of the royal authority.
From divers counties complaints reach London against the committees or magistrates who are established to carry on the government in several places, The city of London itself demands a reply to the propositions which it made several weeks ago, and the Houses have informed them of their intention to confer together and come to a decision at the earliest possible moment.
In the horse market, where they collect a duty upon animals, a riot has occurred in which a corps of guards burned the books which dealt with this duty, chasing away and maltreating the officials. (fn. 1) The two Houses have had a paper printed explaining the reasonable grounds which force them to continue the impost for their present requirements, and they are taking steps to have the authors of the disturbance brought to trial.
In order to cut down expenses they are contemplating a reform of the army and disbanding the infantry, except such forces as are necessary for Ireland, reducing the cavalry to 5,400 horse and 1,000 dragoons.
[Italian.]
Mar. 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
492. Giovanni Battista Nani, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses advices of London.
Paris, the 26th March, 1647.
[Italian.]
Enclosure. 493. Advices from London, the 14th March, 1647.
The king has not yet been able to make up his mind to hear the preaching of the two ministers appointed by parliament for the direction of his conscience. He has also shown so great an aversion for the commissioners attending him, whom he cannot bear to see, that they have asked the Houses to have others sent in their stead. Parliament is disposed to permit this and is waiting for the arrival of the Scots' deputation, who are on the road, to bring fresh pressure to bear on the king to accept the treaties.
The Scottish army has evacuated Varuich and has now left England. Returned to their own country they have mostly been disbanded the soldiers receiving all their pay. There was nearly a disturbance about an oath which they wished the disbanded men to take, not to do any harm to the country, but it was quieted in the end. The rest have moved towards the Highlands to destroy the few troops hiding there with the earl of Antrim and some others. The crowns of France and Spain are competing with each other to profit by the disbanding, and enlist men for their own service.
They have not yet taken in hand the reform of the English army. The fleet will soon be under weigh, consisting of 70 vessels, including the ramberghe, (fn. 2) ships, frigates and lesser craft. They are to keep off the coast of Ireland to prevent any external succour reaching that island and by keeping command of the sea to render England formidable to her neighbours.
The Ambassador Bellievre has had a state audience of parliament at which he again offered the mediation of France to make a suitable peace with the king, arguing in a long speech that without this a secure peace will never be possible in the country.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 There was a riot in Smithfield on the 15-25 February about the excise office there, when the books were burned and over 80l. in money taken. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. V., page 89. This may explain the "Instructions concerning the Excise" of the 22nd February. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1645-7, page 524.
2 Ramberge, a long ship, narrower than a galley but swift and easy to be governed. Cotgrave : French Dict. Littré derives it from English row barge. Dict. de la Langue Française, sub voce.