Venice
April 1657

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Institute of Historical Research

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Allen B. Hinds (editor)

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1931

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35-47

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'Venice: April 1657', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 31: 1657-1659 (1931), pp. 35-47. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=89997 Date accessed: 18 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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April 1657

April 6.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
31. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
At last after an agitation lasting three whole days the last article touching the monarchy has been voted in spite of many difficulties unexpectedly raised to prevent a decision, elaborate speeches being delivered with energy by more than one of the members to prevent a favourable issue which was anticipated and when the resolution was put to the vote 120 were counted for and 60 against. (fn. 1) So parliament has decided that there shall be a change in the form of government; that the Protector shall be raised to the dignity of a king; that this distinguished Court shall be brought back to the condition it was in under the royal dominion. General Lambert known as an opponent and rival of Cromwell, Flitud and Desbero, the former son in law and the latter brother in law of the Protector, in spite of this connection, separated from their party on this occasion and being members of parliament exerted themselves to the utmost to prevent this decision. It is a matter of public conversation that Flitud was so moved that after a long invective against monarchy, he could not hold back his tears, in full parliament, showing his mortification at this resolution carried by the supporters of his Highness who from the first meeting of parliament have shown their determination to confer this high rank upon him.
This point being settled all those members who belong to the army set their faces against it, except Lord Howard, formerly captain of his Highness's guards, and Colonel Englesby. They are now meditating some device to render it ineffectual, but as they found it impossible to throw obstacles in the way of the decision they are still less likely to find any adequate remedy now that it is carried, and all their intrigues will doubtless come to naught and their efforts be cast to the winds.
Parliament is at present engaged in drawing up a remonstrance to inform the Protector of what has been resolved and to-morrow or after the Easter festivities at latest, which begin next Sunday according to their style here, they propose to go in a body to Whitehall or by a solemn deputation to impart the decision to Cromwell and offer him the crown, begging him to accept as the sole basis for the quiet and prosperity of the country. They are sure to perform this duty in a most submissive manner as if the Protector was granting them a signal favour in accepting what he has longed to have. When Cromwell has heard of the affair from the mouth of parliament he is certain to display his customary astuteness and profess his inability to support so great a burden, begging them not to lay it on him and he will find plenty of eloquent expressions to cloak his ambition. He may wait some weeks before giving his reply and it is probable that he will try in the meantime to win the consent of the military, who display such opposition to his desires. If he does not succeed in this he will try at least to divide them and draw over a part to his side, and this, joined with the supreme authority of parliament will raise him to the highest point without hindrance and render him powerful and invincible. His assent and approval of the resolution of parliament is beyond all question since it has long been known that he aspired to the title and it is further asserted by one in a position to know that the crown is almost ready which is to serve for his coronation. Besides a countless number of precious stones it will contain a great diamond worth 8,000.l.
It will be interesting to see which of the foreign ministers will recognise him first. They certainly will all have to do so, seeing that they have recognised him as sovereign with the title of Protector, so that they can accept him as king without difficulty. I will watch events closely and report carefully, hoping that before any function takes place the Senate's instructions for my guidance will arrive, and I feel sure that in any case your Excellencies will not leave me unprovided with the credentials required for the new king.
I ask indulgence for not having discovered further matter, in which I have been hindered by the claims of Holy Week and the offices in the chapel of this house. I have had it redecorated so far as my feeble means allow, as a duty to God, to enhance the lustre of the republic and to rejoice the poor Catholics here, who on such occasions are full of delight, blessing those who confer such an inestimable boon in attending the worship of God in an heretical country. But there is nothing of consequence; no news comes from the fleet; the envoy for Denmark is still detained by contrary winds and nothing has happened at the palace which is worthy of your Excellencies' notice.
London, the 6th April, 1657.
[Italian.]
April 10.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
32. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On these frontiers we do not yet hear of any great military preprations and if Cromwell does not lend a hand to some attack on a coast town the most Christian arms will make little progress in Flanders in the coming campaign.
Cromwell's minister has returned my visit to thank me for the office performed at his house and assure me of his master's regard for your Excellencies and of Cromwell's pleasure at his friendly relations with me. He told me that if your Excellencies were in need of sailors or soldiers his master would gladly allow the republic to levy 3 to 4,000 men, and he asked me to write this. I thanked him suitably and promised to do so. Of the alliance with France he said never a word, though he did open out on the question of Cromwell being declared king by the parliament, intimating that in such case he would not continue in the embassy because of his relationship to the Protector. Of the king of England he said they suspected he would attempt an unexpected landing and to surprise some place in the kingdom. His master was more anxious about this than about any great movement, which could easily be foreseen and with equal ease prevented.
Paris, the 10th April, 1657.
[Italian.]
April 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
33. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Parliament having decided to raise the Protector to the throne directed some of its members to proceed to Whitehall last Saturday to inform his Highness of their desire that the entire assembly should communicate the decree to him. Cromwell gave them Tuesday after Easter and an hour before midday they all went in great pomp and magnificence from their usual meeting place to Whitehall, where his Highness received them in the great hall which is used for great functions. When they had all entered, after a brief silence, occupied by the usual marks of respect for the Protector the Speaker delivered a learned speech which was at once grave and eloquent and long and prolix. He exalted the functions of a king, showing that a king established Christianity in this island. Their ancestors had approved of such a ruler and experience showed that it was quite compatible with their liberties. The title was well-known to the nation, agreeable to their constitutions and necessary to the temperament of the people. After enlarging superabundantly upon these particulars, to conciliate his audience, he began to disclose the wishes of parliament, offering the crown to the Protector, citing various examples of how in times past parliament had deposed one family and selected another for the royal dignity, in accordance with the requirements of the public good, as was the case at present. His arguments were directed to proving that this change of government is just, reasonable and necessary, well knowing that there is not much to say in the face of the world for a resolution so contrary to the protestations and oaths imposed on all the people these last years when the king was driven out and a new form of government set up.
His Highness listened with attention and made a succinct reply in his usual eloquent and calculated (artificiosa) style. He first expressed surprise at the offer and, dissimulating his ambition, protested that since he had undertaken the charge of Protector, solely at the instance of the people, he had personally enjoyed very little content and repose, his only consolation being the reflection that under his rule the people had suffered nothing. If he should take up the much heavier burden which they wished to lay on him he would bid farewell to all personal ease. Nevertheless he promised to consider the question, praying the Almighty for guidance, and if it is necessary for the public good, he will make trial of it, being always ready to sacrifice his personal inclinations to please the people and to spend the rest of his days in the service of the nation. He thanked them cordially for the honour they wished to confer on him and fully appreciated the great affection shown to him by this distinction.
Cromwell asked for six weeks to consider the matter, but parliament objected saying that present circumstances and the affairs of the nation required a more speedy decision, and he should have it ready since he must know that he is the only person to whom the throne can be offered. Cromwell assured them that he would answer them in a few days adding that if, after weighing all the circumstances, he found that the public interest required it, he would accept notwithstanding the ambition and envy of all those who want to prevent it. By this pretence of his inability to sustain a burden he has desired so greatly the Protector dissimulates his ambition, and now, putting aside all other business, he is devoting his whole attention to this and preparing his reply to parliament, which undoubtedly will accord with his ambition and inclination. They say it will be next week as the parliamentarians are urging him strongly.
Having settled this question parliament immediately turned its attention to other affairs, and as religion is considered the most important a decree has come forth preventing Catholic subjects from the practice of their religion. Accordingly special instructions have been given to those whose business it is to spy on the Papists to observe carefully those who attend the chapels of the foreign ministers to stop them going. The poor Catholics despoiled of their substance and their fortunes had the sole consolation of being able to worship with some amount of liberty and it has caused bitter feeling among them as they will be obliged, at least at the beginning, to discontinue their attendance at the chapels, which for some months past have been extraordinarily crowded by a countless throng of people who vied with each other from their reverence to God and their zeal for religion to attend the services and perform the duties of a good Christian.
The duke of Buckingham, of the party of King Charles, has been staying in Flanders, withdrawn from His Majesty's Court, having been out of favour with that prince for some months, who would not admit him to his secret council because of some slight suspicion of his loyalty. He is now trying to make up to the Protector to whom he has sent a petition imploring permission to come to England. This step has caused general astonishment and everyone is curious to see the outcome.
The prolonged absence of news of the fleet causes some apprehension of a disaster through the storms which it has to weather while stationed off the coasts of Spain in the hope of intercepting the treasure fleet from the West Indies.
Contrary winds still prevent Medoes from starting for Denmark. They are sending to Muscovy the English resident at Hamburg, (fn. 2) who has the commissions I indicated, and also has orders to take a high tone on some questions of trade and commerce between that nation and this.
London, the 13th April, 1657.
[Italian.]
April 18.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
34. Domenico Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
There is great rejoicing at the news of the safe arrival at Teneriffe of the fleet of New Spain. Nevertheless it is still exposed to danger since the English fleet immediately proceeded to that island with the intention of capturing it, at a place of slight strength, incapable of a stout resistance. However, seeing that it has already travelled so far without mishap and is now only 300 leagues from Spain and safely out of the stormy seas of the Indies, they esteem it no small advantage to have it nearer. Fourteen ships have reached the Canaries laden with rich merchandise, besides a quantity of silver. They bring some every year though the bulk of it comes by the galleons, two of which were taken last year by the English, while the other two were stayed in the Indies, as they were not ready in time for the voyage. Different opinions are expressed here. Many of the wisest feel apprehensive about the fleet as although the most valuable portion of their cargoes can be put ashore, the island is not capable of defence if the English should decide to land and attack it with determination. The ships also are much more exposed to fire in an open roadstead, and would fall without resistance to anyone who should land and approach them. The English will not allow them to come on here. They have seventy ships and will not allow this prey to escape their clutches. The Dutch will be very cautious about transporting it, as they live in great jealousy of the English and are unwilling to be the first to supply material for fresh quarrels.
Madrid, the 18th April, 1657.
[Italian.]
April 20.
Senato,
Secreta,
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
35. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Your Excellencies charge me to find out about the report that the Catholic king is sounding the Protector through Don Alonso de Cardenas about sending an ambassador extraordinary to this Court. I find the report without foundation. I learn from an individual who could not help knowing as he has a hand in the secret affairs, that no such thing has ever taken place. The energy with which they carry on their preparations for the vigorous prosecution of the war by land and sea suffice to make this clear. They call it a war of religion for the service of the church, seeing that their arms are turned against a Catholic potentate. With this motive they have contemplated sending some one to the Protestant Princes of Germany to inspire them with mischievous notions tending to the destruction of Catholicism and persuade them on the score of religion that it should be a matter of conscience to throw aside every other consideration and march shoulder to shoulder with them here, drawing their swords against those who mean to subdue Lutheranism and in favour of those who seek to spread it abroad.
Similar rumours have been heard here for some months past, but they originated solely with the merchants, who invented and circulated them because they want peace, the breach of which injures their interests so seriously, interrupting trade and commerce with that nation. They were so improbable and inconsistent that no one believed them and so I did not think it worth while to report them to your Excellencies. The secretary of Don Alonso de Cardenas left here at the same time as the ambassador and certainly he has never returned. They did indeed announce the arrival in London of one Motteti, a familiar of the ambassador, and from this the reports in question were circulated, but this also proved false and so all the others died away so that at present it is all buried in silence and no one hears a syllable on the subject.
It is unlikely that peace with Spain will be solicited from this side while things remain constituted as they are at present. The Catholic also will not want to be the first, unless he is compelled by necessity, which knows no law. So there is no reason for expecting an adjustment between these two powers in the near future, however desirable it may be for the good of the nations, unless some change occurs on one side or the other forcing them to change their plans and consent to what necessity requires. In any case the English will never be so eager for this boon and they always demand very advantageous terms, stipulating in particular that their countrymen in Spain shall not be subject to the Inquisition; that trade shall be free with other concessions which will undoubtedly serve as an obstacle in the way of an accommodation, since the Catholic will never grant what is so clearly to the prejudice of Spanish interests.
I am still waiting for the reply of this government to your Serenity's requests. For reasons already given I do not report my efforts in every ordinary, but my importunity is incessant both with the secretary of state and with others who have access to the secret council. But while they all assure me of the will to satisfy the most serene republic they also tell me that speedy despatch is impossible owing to the mass of other important affairs which keep the Council busy. Thus to speak with the secretary of state it is necessary to wait days and sometimes weeks so overwhelmed is he, having to attend now parliament, now the Council and now other functions, so that he never has a moment to breathe. Audience of the Protector is impossible to obtain in the present agitation of minds over the approaching change of government. So I do not know where to turn to carry out the commissions of the state, it being necessary to await the pleasure of the autocrat. The assurances of the Protector of the most speedy despatch and my insistence, with which I persevere, avail nothing. But I shall not relax my efforts until the end is achieved, seeing the justice of the cause and the mischief that may be caused by all this delay not only to the most serene republic but to all Christendom, particularly in the approaching campaign for which the Turks are making such formidable preparations.
Very noticeable also is the coolness of Holland, although the ambassador has more than once pressed the matter, from his desire to serve your Excellencies. He told me recently he had heard from his masters on the subject, which did not differ from what I reported to the Senate in my No. 51. He added that the States, before deciding what they would do, wished to know what steps this government would take, which is exactly what I intimated in the same letter. With this definite statement your Excellencies now know that as the decision of the States depends on what England does, we must wait for what the latter does first. I do not find that any one here has the slightest indication that the Turks at Constantinople are trying to get some of their countrymen's ships for their service, either among the official persons or even among the merchants, who would be the most likely to receive such news, so it is highly probable that the reports of this character which reached Venice are erroneous. The minister resident at Constantinople has more to do with the merchants than with the government. The former maintain him, supplying the money and other things he requires. By the latter he is condemned and considered practically as of no account. An informant of mine, in a position to know, has hinted to me that the government inclines to recall this individual and to send out another dependent on itself. I will keep an eye on this and if it occurs I will do my utmost to see that he has right views about state affairs and that he is furnished with express and definite orders for the benefit of the most serene republic.
London, the 20th April, 1657.
[Italian.]
April 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
36. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
My previous despatches have described the proceedings in parliament about the proposed change of government and the communication made to his Highness by the whole Assembly. At the moment Cromwell expressed surprise at the offer and dissimulated his ambition. On Saturday he sent to tell parliament that he would like to see some of the members as he had some thing to communicate to them. They immediately chose some to attend upon the Protector, directing them not to answer any question he might put, but merely to listen and report what he said. When they reached Whitehall and were introduced to Cromwell, after the usual respectful salutations, he handed them a paper to take to the Assembly, where it was forthwith read. The contents were to the following effect. His Highness commended the decision to re-establish the monarchy as being a form of government best adapted to the temper and disposition of the nations. He also approved the articles as expedient, fitting and necessary for effecting what they desired. For himself, on whose feeble shoulders they proposed to lay this excessive burden, he thanked them warmly for the honour but after serious consideration of all the circumstances he had decided not to accept the title; and he asked the members to accept his refusal without asking him for his reasons as all the arguments which they had adduced had not succeeded in convincing him.
When this reply had been read in the Assembly some proposed to let the whole question of a change of government drop, since the Protector would not undertake it. Others opposed this maintaining that they need not abandon their original proposal because one person would not accept it, and they thought it would be more sensible to press their request on the Protector. When these questions were put to the vote the second view had the majority, so they decided to stick to their point and fixed on Wednesday to ask the Protector once more to accept the crown which the people wished to place on his head. Accordingly on the appointed day the whole parliament in a body proceeded to Whitehall and made Cromwell a second offer with the same considerations as were adduced last week, adding some others to give added force to the office and persuade his Highness. Cromwell's reply was more that of a preacher than a statesman. He enlarged upon his zeal in serving God and said that his conscience could not be moved unless by the wisdom of the present parliament which has done more in such a short time than all its predecessors for the glory of God and the good of the nation. Without saying any more about the refusal he asked for the appointment of a committee to confer with him, so that they may discuss the question and perhaps remove some scruples which at present weigh upon his conscience against his receiving the crown. So to-day parliament is to appoint a committee for him, which is to meet daily at Whitehall to discuss the question to mature the fruit, which still remains bitter and unripened. It seems probable that the refusal of his Highness on Saturday was mere dissimulation and the desire to be pressed, as he did not repeat it on the Wednesday following. So in the end he will consent and is only postponing the date and behaving with this subtlety so that if trouble arises after he has assumed the title he can never be blamed, and can always say that he never desired the elevation and only yielded to pressure to please parliament and the people.
As a matter of fact if Cromwell could validate all the articles passed in the Assembly except the one about the royal title, he would be the better pleased, since he perceives it may do him some harm, of which there are some indications. But as I have intimated before none of these can take effect without the one for a king, and he must accept this if he wants them. But it is probable that he wishes to consent, as if his objections were real and he did not want anything further to be done in the matter he ought to dissolve parliament, which he can easily do, and so cut short the whole thing, He does not do so because he knows that he will be king and all he wants at present is to be pressed and he postpones a decision in order to receive the petitions which are to be presented by the city of London and by many of the provinces to urge him to accept the crown and which they are now engaged in preparing.
The preparations of the king of Scotland in Flanders undoubtedly cause no slight uneasiness to this nation. Although they affect to feel no apprehension they cannot fail to have some misgivings about the troops, influenced by the partisans of Charles who take advantage of the present favourable opportunity in the objection of the soldiers to the change of government and in the lack of pay for they have not received a farthing for two months, who may go over to his Majesty's side or at least start some revolt, which would injure this state and correspondingly help the opposite party which loses no occasion for adding fuel to the fire so that it may flare up in a manner difficult to extinguish.
Two other ships have been sent to the fleet (fn. 3) laden with supplies of every kind so that they may lack nothing in their tedious watch off the coasts of Spain. It is reported that after receiving a reinforcement of a good number of ships from here Blake divided his fleet into several squadrons which cruise about in all directions in their endeavour to intercept the fleet coming from the West Indies with plate.
Taking advantage of the weather the Dunkirkers and Ostenders have left port and are preying seriously on the English with heavy loss to this mart and all others in the kingdom from the prizes taken daily, whether it be great merchantmen or barques laden with coal or other provisions, on their way to the Thames for the benefit of this city where since a few days ago all prices have been raised to an insufferable extent. To stop these depredations four of the most powerful English ships are already stationed at the port of Dunkirk, (fn. 4) where they have cast anchor, to keep a check on the place and prevent any sort of craft from entering or leaving, hoping in this way to prevent further losses by this nation.
Although the wind is now favourable they have decided that Medoes shall not go on his mission to Denmark before it is seen what turn the affair between parliament and the Protector will take.
London, the 20th April, 1657.
[Italian.]
April 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
37. Francesco Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I reported some time ago that the alliance between this crown and the Protector of England was impeded because Cromwell wished Sweden to be included, in spite of the fact that power was hampered by its war with Poland. I now have it on good authority that the Protector is content to arrange it without Sweden and that it shall be infallibly concluded with a mutual compact to keep it most secret and not to show it to any one, which renders it practically impossible to find out the particulars for the moment.
Since the decision of the London parliament to raise the Protector to the supreme rank of king, the English minister here has given up his house and it seems as if he would take leave very soon of the Court, as he should share proportionately in this rise of fortune, owing to his connection through his wife.
Paris, the 24th April, 1657.
[Italian.]
April 27.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Inghilterra.
Venetian
Archives.
38. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.
At the Protector's request a committee was appointed to confer with him as reported. They have been at Whitehall several times this week, trying to remove the scruples which he says weigh upon his conscience about receiving the crown of these three kingdoms. The committee adduce the same reasons as induced the assembly to decide to change the government to persuade Cromwell, but so far they have not been able to get him to consent and nothing is yet decided. He seems to feel great perplexity, not knowing what to decide. On the one hand he confesses that it would be more agreeable for him to receive a charge from parliament, which means from the people of England and the other two countries, than to retain what he now has, which he says he took unprepared, from pure necessity, parliament having been dissolved without having made arrangements for government in the interval, and confessing that his present post is almost too arbitrary he would prefer to have one dependent on their ordinances. On the other hand he wishes to have it believed that he does not desire the title of king. The sole reason for this is due to his observation of an obstinate dislike in the army for this dignity, and if he cannot win their consent he is afraid that by gratifying his ambition and accepting the decision of parliament he may lead to disturbances capable of ruining him. He declares that after so many signal victories which God has given under his leadership and through the courage and loyal assistance of these troops it does not seem reasonable to him to make such a stroke in their despite, and that is why he finds the demand of parliament very rude and severe. Nevertheless he decides nothing and keeps putting the question off from day to day in the hope that time may do something for the accomplishment of his desires quietly and without opposition or the slightest obstacle.
Parliament seems disgusted at this tedious delay and declares that they want a decision, but Cromwell only wants to gain time and drag things out. At the last conference with the deputies he seemed suddenly attacked by indisposition, to which he is most subject (che a lui e la piu familiare) and immediately withdrew; he now pretends to be worse and has notified the deputies that he will let them know when he is fit to receive them. So he procrastinates in one way or another, to smoothe the way to the attainment of his desires. But in the end he will have to settle the matter to avoid irritating parliament, which does not seem altogether satisfied with his proceedings, and not to force it, once it has decided to have a king, to offer the crown to some one else. This unpleasant thought probably troubles him not a little; but now things are so far advanced it behoves him to have patience and attempt by temporising to procure a situation more suited for obtaining his intent, as well as to gratify parliament, which is rather piqued at present and wishes him to decide. If the means were arranged for collecting the money they have decided to raise, nothing would restrain the Protector from dismissing parliament and sending them all home, but such a course is prevented by that very sufficient reason and so he is obliged to rack his brains to find the best way possible out of his embarrassments.
This consideration prevents Cromwell from dissolving parliament, and the practical certainty of awaking some sleeping dog by assumung the crown prevents him from placing it on his head. I have been confidentially informed on good authority that if this should take place the army is disposed to make unexpected advances to Charles, promising strong support to place him on the throne, and I have also been told that more than one letter has been sent to his Majesty to assure him of support if he succeeds in landing at any of their ports here, to the success of which they would contribute. If this information is not erroneous and if Cromwell is aware of the particulars that alone would suffice to prevent him from accepting the throne, as being the sole means for unseating and destroying him.
It is a very extraordinary thing that all the plots contrived against the present government are found out at the very moment when they are to take effect. I have already reported one which was miraculously discovered and now have to inform the Senate of another, discovered a week ago to-day which aimed not only at the destruction of Cromwell but of all the people and was the work of the Millenarists, one of their diabolical sects, with whom are joined the Anabaptists, Quakers and some others who are possessed of such detestable opinions. Over 60 of these conspirators assembled in an house on the outskirts of this city were discovered discussing how to fire a mine which they had made and to settle the date of their rising, which was to be two days later, i.e. Monday last. They had bought arms to equip 25,000 combatants, whom they hoped to assemble in a moment. They proposed to seize all the horses in the city, to cut the throats of the Protector and all the nobility scattered about the country, without regard to sex and not even sparing the children. They proposed to remove the taxes laid on the people and to maintain the army from the goods of the slaughtered nobility. The tenets of these folk, which are derived from a passage from Holy Scripture in the Apocalypse which they interpret after their own fashion, consist in demolishing every sort of dominion to establish the kingdom of Jesus Christ. They call themselves “soldiers of the Fifth Monarchy,” and as the empires of the Chaldeans, Medes and Persians, Greeks and Romans have passed away, they entertain the belief that Christ will come down to earth to be emperor of the whole world, continuing his rule over men for the space of a thousand years. With this expectation they detest and despise every kind of dominion in order to dispose the world to receive what they say is to come, and so that when it arrives it may find none to compete with it. As this faction is very numerous in England and its professors are fanatics in their behaviour, there is good reason for fearing that in the end they will break out in some cruel and bloody way and carry out their execrable designs regardless of the method. At the place intended as the rendezvous for their troops the government immediately sent some companies to secure the men found there and to prevent confusion and disorder. They had already raised their standard which bore a red lion couchant on a white ground, with a device taken from Genesis (fn. 5) reading “Who shall rouse him up?” the lion being intended for that of the tribe of Judah. With the persons arrested were also seized their papers and letters, from which their evil intentions appeared. (fn. 6) They also found over 2,000 copies of a declaration which had been printed to scatter among the people announcing their designs and promising security to all who should join their party and enrol under that banner.
This important affair is placed in the hands of parliament but so far they have not delegated judges for the examination owing to the multiplicity of affairs which keep them busy. But it is expected that many will be severely punished after being tried and when their designs are fully revealed, although these seem sufficiently disclosed by the captured papers. Among the persons arrested there are many of rank and standing, including Major General Arrison, a great sectary, Captain Lauson, formerly Vice Admiral of this republic, Colonel Rich and Major Danvers, all four men of mark who have fought for this state in past years. It is contended that all these people are those intended by Sindercomb, who was condemned for the preceding conspiracy, when he said thatthe plot would be carried out though he had not the good fortune to execute it, as I reported at the time.
In pursuance of orders from the top they continue to beat up for fresh recruits to increase every regiment by 1,000 effectives. They have been fortunate and some rolls are already completed. The lieutenant of the Tower of London proved more fortunate than the rest as in the neighbourhood of the Tower alone he collected 1,000 good men in five or six days who have already joined the rest in the defence of that important post under his command.
This week again news has come of considerable captures made by the Dunkirkers and Ostenders. Not being able to take their prizes home, because of the English ships blockading those ports, they carried them off to Flushing in Zeeland. To prevent further piracies orders have been issued to reinforce the English ships off those ports and another powerful squadron will be sailing in that direction in a few days. These with the four already there should suffice to abate the pride of those pirates and to check their plundering.
General Blake has sent a man express confirming the news contained in my last. He adds that he is contemplating some considerable enterprise, the issue of which will be made known in course of time. He states that with the last supplies he is victualled for six months, but in spite of this they are lading other ships with supplies to be sent to him as soon as possible, besides those sent before.
Recent letters from Jamaica report the good condition of all the men there and the excellence of the general situation. They state that the English recently surprised 600 Spaniards who were hidden in the woods, killing some and capturing the rest. They say they have recently captured a great ship laden with rich and precious merchandise which was sailing from Mexico to Spain, and that Lieut. Gen. Braine has conducted himself so well that he has won the affection of all the natives so that they expect to derive great assistance from their services.
In accordance with the instructions of the 17th March I will inform the Protector of the excellent disposition of the state to pay what is due to Thomas Galilee and to release his son from captivity with the Turks. I have informed the former, who came to learn the reply, and he is much consoled by the gracious promise of the Senate. He says an agent at Venice will produce the proof and receive the amount.
London, the 27th April, 1657.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]

Footnotes

1 The vote was taken on 25 March, o.s. Burton gives the figures as 123 for and 62 against, Diary, Vol. I, page 393.
2 Richard Bradshaw.
3 The Princess Maria, Capt. J. Grymsditch, and the Exchange. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1656–7, pp. 531, 535, 541.
4 Capt. Robert Plumleigh in the Reserve sailed for his station off Dunkirk on 22 March o.s. in company with the Adventure, Dartmouth and Red Horse pink. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1656–7, pp. 337, 348.
5 Gen. xlix, 9.
6 About twenty conspirators were arrested on the 19 April at a house in Shoreditch, who had intended to be at the rendezvous at Mile End Green, Whitechapel. Mercurius Politicus April 9–16. See also Thurloe: State Papers, Vol. vi., page 698.


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