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DURING THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE COMMONWEALTH AND THE PROTECTORS OLIVER AND
LETTERS WRITTEN IN THE NAME OF THE PARLIAMENT.
The Senate and People of ENGLAND, to the most noble letters sent you, and to have had some respite from the Senate of the City of HAMBOROUGH. injuries of a sort of profligate people; yet since the coming of the same Coc--m to your city, (of whom we complained before,) who pretends to be honoured with a sort of embassy from the son of the lately deceased king, they have been assaulted with all manner of ill language, threats, and naked swords of ruffians and homicides, and have wanted your accustomed protection and defence; insomuch, that when two or three of the merchants, together with the president of the society, were hurried away by surprise aboard a certain privateer, and that the rest implored your aid, yet they could not obtain any assistance from you, till the mer chants themselves were forced to embody their own strength, and rescue from the hands of pirates the persons seized on in that river, of which your city is the mistress, not without extreme hazard of their lives. Nay, when they had fortunately brought them home again, and as it were by force of arms recovered them from an ignominious captivity, and carried the pirates themselves into custody; we are informed, that Coc--m was so audacious, as to demand the release of the pirates, and that the merchants might be delivered prisoners into his hands. We therefore again, and again, beseech and adjure you, if it be your intention, that contracts and leagues, and the very ancient commerce between both nations should be preserved, (the thing which you desire,) that our people may be able to assure themselves of some certain and firm support and reliance upon your word, your prudence, and authority; that you would lend them a favourable audience concerning these matters, and that you would inflict deserved punishment as well upon Coc--m, and the rest of his accomplices in that wicked act, as upon those who lately assaulted the preacher, hitherto unpunished, or command them to depart your territories;
FOR how long a series of past years, and for what important reasons, the friendship entered into by our ancestors with your most noble city has continued to this day, we both willingly acknowledge, together with yourselves; nor is it a thing displeasing to us, frequently also to call to our remembrance. But as to what we understand by your letters dated the twentyfifth of June, that some of our people deal not with that fidelity and probity, as they were wont to do in their trading and commerce among ye; we presently referred it to the consideration of certain persons wellskilled in those matters, to the end they might make a more strict inquiry into the frauds of the clothiers, and other artificers of the woollen manufacture. And we farther promise, to take such effectual care, as to make you sensible of our unalterable intentions, to preserve sincerity and justice among ourselves, as also never to neglect any good offices of our kindness, that may redound to the welfare of your commonwealth. On the other hand, there is something likewise which we not only required, but which equity itself, and all the laws of God and man, demand of yourselves; that you will not only conserve inviolable to the merchants of our nation their privileges, but by your authority and power defend and protect their lives and estates, as it becomes your city to do. Which as we most earnestly desired in our former letters; so upon the repeated complaints of our merchants, that are daily made before us, we now more earnestly solicit and request it: they complaining, that their safety, and all that they have in the world, is again in great jeopardy among ye. For although they acknowledge themselves to have reaped some benefit for a short time of our former
nor that you would believe, that expelled and exiled Tarquins are to be preferred before the friendship, and the wealth, and power of our republic. For if you do not carefully provide to the contrary, but that the enemies of our republic shall presume to think lawful the committing of any violences against us in your city, how unsafe, how ignominious the residence of our people there will be, do you consider with yourselves! These things we recommend to your prudence and equity, yourselves to the protection of Heaven. Westminster, Aug. 10, 1649.
To the Senate of HAMBOROUGH.
YOUR Conspicuous favour in the doubtful condition of our affairs is now the reason, that after victory and prosperous success, we can no longer question your good-will and friendly inclination towards us. As for our parts, the war being almost now determined, and our enemies every where vanquished, we have deemed nothing more just, or more conducing to the firm establishment of the republic, than that they who by our means (the Almighty being always our captain and conductor) have either recovered their liberty, or obtained their lives and fortunes, after the pernicious ravages of a civil war, of our free gift and grace, should testify and pay in exchange to their magistrates allegiance and duty in a solemn manner, if need required more especially when so many turbulent and exasperated persons, more than once received into protection, will make no end, either at home or abroad, of acting perfidiously, and raising new disturbances. To that purpose we took care, to enjoin a certain form of an oath, by which all who held any office in the commonwealth, or, being fortified with the protection of the law, enjoyed both safety, ease, and all other conveniencies of life, should bind themselves to obedience in words prescribed. This we also thought proper to be sent to all colonies abroad, or wherever else our people resided for the convenience of trade; to the end that the fidelity of those, over whom we are set, might be proved and known to us, as it is but reasonable and necessary. Which makes us wonder so much the more at what our merchants write from your city, that they are not permitted to execute our commands by some or other of your order and degree. Certainly what the most potent United Provinces of the Low Countries, most jealous of their power and their interests, never thought any way belonging to their inspection, namely, whether the English foreigners swore fidelity and allegiance to their magistrates at home, either in these or those words, how that should come to be so suspected and troublesome to your city, we must plainly acknowledge, that we do not understand. But this proceeding from the private inclinations or fears of some, whom certain vagabond Scots, expelled their country, are said to have enforced by menaces, on purpose to deter our merchants from swearing fidelity to us, we impute not to your city. Most earnestly therefore we intreat and conjure ye (for it is not now the interest of trade, but the honour of the republic itself
| that lies at stake) not to suffer any one among ye, wis can have no reason to concern himself in this affair, interpose his authority, whatever it be, with that sopremacy which we challenge over our own subjects, st by the judgment and opinion of foreigners, but by the laws of our country; for who would not take it amis, if we should forbid your Hamburghers, residing bere, to swear fidelity to you, that are their magistrates a home? Farewel. Jan. 4, 1649.
To the most Serene and Potent Prince, PHILIP the Fourth, King of SPAIN: the Parliament of the Conmonwealth of ENGLAND, Greeting.
WE send to your majesty Anthony Ascham, a person of integrity, learned, and descended of an ancient family, to treat of matters very advantageous, as we hope, as well to the Spanish, as to the English nation. Wherefore in friendly manner we desire, that you would be pleased to grant, and order him a safe and honourable passage to your royal city, and the same in his return from thence, readily prepared to repay the kindness when occasion offers. Or if your majesty be otherwise inclined, that it may be signified to him with the soonest, what your pleasure is in this particular, and that he may be at liberty to depart without molestation.
Feb. 4, 1649.
To the most Serene and Potent Prince, PHILIP the
Fourth, King of SPAIN: the Parliament of the Com monwealth of ENGLAND, Greeting.
WHAT is the condition of our affairs, and by what heinous injuries provoked and broken, at length we began to think of recovering our liberty by force of arms; what constituted form of government we now make use of, can neither be concealed from your 154jesty, nor any other person, who has but cast an impar tial eye upon our writings published on these occasions. Neither ought we to think it a difficult thing, among fit and proper judges of things, to render our fidelity, our equity, and patience, manifest to all men, and justly meriting their approbation; as also to defend our authority, honour, and grandeur, against the infa mous tongues of exiles and fugitives. Now then, as t what is more the concern of foreign nations, after haring subdued and vanquished the enemies of our com try, through the miraculous assistance of Heaven, openly and cordially profess ourselves readily prepared to have peace and friendship, more desirable than all enlargement of empire, with our neighbour nations For these reasons we have sent into Spain, to your majesty, Anthony Ascham, of approved dexterity and probity, to treat with your majesty concerning friendship, and the accustomed commerce between both n tions; or else, if it be your pleasure, to open a way fir the ratifying of new articles and alliances. Our request therefore is, that you will grant him free liberty el access to your majesty, and give such order, that care
may be taken of his safety and honour, while he resides a public minister with your majesty; to the end he may freely propose what he has in charge from us, for the benefit, as we hope, of both nations; and certify to us with the soonest, what are your majesty's sentiments concerning these matters.
Westminster, Feb. 4, 1649.
AFTER we had suffered many, and those the utmost, mischiefs of a faithless peace, and intestine war, our being reduced to those exigencies, that if we had any regard to the safety of the republic, there was a necesssity of altering for the chiefest part the form of governFment; is a thing which we make no question is well known to your majesty, by what we have both publicly written and declared in justification of our proceedings.gus: that there they practise furious piracy, taking and
ALMOST daily and most grievous complaints are
plundering all the English vessels they meet with sail-
To which, as it is but reason, if credit might be rather
To the most Serene Prince, JOHN the Fourth, King of
to us, so we promise, whenever occasion offers, that the
To the most Serene Prince, JOHN the Fourth, King of
To the most Serene Prince LEOPOLD, Archduke of
So soon as word was brought us, not without a most
divine, to constrain a wealthy virgin to marriage, even
landed in one of those two places) about rescuing the | tious manners of those people, of their audaciousness, freeborn lady out of the hands of the ravisher. Who, their fury, and their madness. Which is the reason we both out of their singular humanity and love of virtue, are in hopes, that we shall more easily obtain from lent their assisting aid to the young virgin in servi- your majesty, first, that you will, as far as in you les, tude, and by downright robbery rifled from her habita- be assistant to the most illustrious Edward Poplar tion so that to avoid the violence of her imperious whom we have made admiral of our new fleet, for and masters, she was as it were deposited in a nunnery, subduing those detested freebooters; and that you wil and committed to the charge of the governess of the no longer suffer them, together with their captain, society. Wherefore the same Walsh, to get her again guests, but pirates, not merchants, but the pests into his clutches, has commenced a suit against her in commerce, and violaters of the law of nations, to ha the ecclesiastical court of the bishop of Ypre, pretend-bour in the ports and under the shelter of the fortresses of your kingdom; but that wherever the confines of Portugal extend themselves, you will command them to be expelled as well by land as by sea. Or if you are unwilling to proceed to that extremity, at least that with your leave it may be lawful for us, with ear proper forces to assail our own revolters and sea rob bers; and if it be the pleasure of Heaven, to reduce them into our power. This, as we have earnestly desired in our former letters, so now again with the great
ing a matrimonial contract between him and her. Now in regard that both the ravisher and the ravished person are natives of our country, as by the witnesses upon their oaths abundantly appears; as also for that the splendid inheritance, after which most certainly the criminal chiefly gapes, lies within our territories; so that we conceive, that the whole cognizance and determination of this cause belongs solely to ourselves; therefore let him repair hither, he who calls himself | the husband, here let him commence his suit, and de-est ardency and importunity we request of your majesty. By this, whether equity, or act of kindness, you will not only enlarge the fame of your justice over all well-governed and civil nations, but also in a greater measure bind both us and the people of England, who never yet had other than a good opinion of the Portuguese, to yourself and to your subjects. Farewel Westminster, April 27, 1650.
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mand the delivery of the person, whom he claims for his wife. In the mean time, this it is that we most earnestly request from your highness, which is no more than what we have already requested by our agent residing at Brussels, that you will permit an afflicted and many ways misused virgin, born of honest parents, but pirated out of her native country, to return, as far as lies in your power, with freedom and safety home again. This not only we, upon all opportunities offered, as readily prepared to return the same favour and kindness to your highness, but also humanity itself, and that same hatred of infamy, which ought to accompany all persons of virtue and courage in defending the honour of the female sex, seem altogether jointly to require at your brands.
Westminster, March 28, 1650.
To the HAMBURGHERS.
MORE than once we have written concerning the controversies of the merchants, and some other things which more nearly concern the dignity of our repub lic, yet no answer has been returned. But understanding that affairs of that nature can hardly be de termined by letters only, and that in the mean time certain seditious persons have been sent to your city by *******, authorized with no other commission than
that of malice and audaciousness, who make it their
UNDERSTANDING that your majesty had both honourably received our agent, and immediately given him a favourable audience, we thought it became us to assure your majesty without delay, by speedy letters from us, that nothing could happen more accept able to us, and that there is nothing which we have de-negotiate with your lordships such matters and affairs
creed more sacred, than not to violate by any word or
as are interwoven with the benefit and advantages
Westminster, April 2, 1650.
To the HAMBURGHERS.
the most certain fairs for the sale of their plunder. But we are apt to believe, that by this time almost all the Portuguese are abundantly convinced, from the flagi
To the most Serene Prince, JOHN the Fourth, King of
our dearest Friends;
THAT your sedulities in the reception of our agent were so cordial and so egregious, we both gladly un
derstand, and earnestly exhort ye that you would perSansevere in your goodwill and affection towards us. And this we do with so much the greater vehemence, as being informed, that the same exiles of ours, concernarieling whom we have so frequently written, now carry themselves more insolently in your city than they were ebots wont to do, and that they not only openly affront, but the give out threatening language in a most despightful Berchmanner against our resident. Therefore once more by the bra these our letters we would have the safety of his perthe set son, and the honour due to his quality, recommended to your care. On the other side, if you inflict severe and timely punishment upon those fugitives and ruffians, as and well the old ones as the new-comers, it will be most acceptthable to us, and becoming your authority and prudence. best Westminster, May 31, 1650.
To PHILIP the Fourth, King of SPAIN.
To our infinite sorrow we are given to understand, that Anthony Ascham, by us lately sent our agent to your majesty, and under that character most civilly and publicly received by your governors, upon his first coming to your royal city, naked of all defence and guard, was most bloodily murdered in a certain inn, together with John Baptista de Ripa his interpreter, butchered at the same time. Wherefore we most earnestly request your majesty, that deserved punishment may be speedily inflicted upon those parricides, already apprehended, as it is reported, and committed to custody; who have not only presumed to wound ourselves through his sides, but have also dared to stab, as it were, to the very heart, your faith of word and royal honour. So that we make no question, but what we so ardently desire would nevertheless be done effectually, by a prince of his own accord so just and pious, though nobody required it. As to what remains, we make it our further suit, that the breathless carcass may be delivered to his friends and attendants to be de brought back and interred in his own country, and that such care may be taken for the security of those that remain alive, as is but requisite; till having obtained an answer to these letters, if it may be done, they shall return to us the witnesses of your piety and justice. Westminster, June 28th, 1650.
To PHILIP the Fourth, King of SPAIN.
How heinously, and with what detestation, your majesty resented the villanous murder of our agent, Anthony Ascham, and what has hitherto been done in the prosecution and punishment of his assassinates, we have been given to understand, as well by your majesty's own letters, as from your ambassador don Alphonso de Cardenos. Nevertheless so often as we consider the horridness of that bloody fact, which utterly subverts the very foundations of correspondence and commerce, and of the privilege of embassadors, most sacred among all nations, so villanously violated without severity of punishment; we cannot but with utmost importunity repeat our most urgent suit to your ma
| jesty, that those parricides may with all the speed imaginable be brought to justice, and that you would not suffer their merited pains to be suspended any longer by any delay or pretence of religion. For though most certainly we highly value the friendship of a potent prince; yet it behoves us to use our utmost endeavours, that the authors of such an enormous parricide should receive the deserved reward of their impiety. Indeed, we cannot but with a grateful mind acknowledge that civility, of which by your command our people were not unsensible, as also your surpassing affection for us, which lately your ambassador at large unfolded to us: nor will it be displeasing to us, to return the same good offices to your majesty, and the Spanish nation, whenever opportunity offers. Nevertheless, if justice be not satisfied without delay, which we still most earnestly request, we see not upon what foundations a sincere and lasting friendship can subsist. For the preservation of which, however, we shall omit no just and laudable occasion; to which purpose we are likewise apt to believe, that the presence of your embassador does not a little conduce.
To the SPANISH Embassador.
Most Excellent Lord,
THE Council of state, so soon as their weighty affairs would permit them, having carried into parliament the four writings, which it pleased your excellency to impart to the council upon the nineteenth of December last, have received in command from the parliament, to return this answer to the first head of those writings, touching the villanous assassinates of their late agent, Anthony Ascham.
The parliament have so long time, so often, and so justly demanded their being brought to deserved punishment, that there needs nothing further to be said on a thing of so great importance, wherein (as your excellency well observed) his royal majesty's authority itself is so deeply concerned, that, unless justice be done upon such notorious offenders, all the foundations of human society, all the ways of preserving friendship among nations, of necessity must be overturned and abolished. Nor can we apprehend by any argument drawn from religion, that the blood of the innocent, shed by a propensely malicious murder, is not to be avenged. The parliament therefore once more most urgently presses, and expects from his royal majesty, according to their first demands, that satisfaction be given them effectually and sincerely in this matter.
To the most Excellent LORD ANTHONY JOHN LEWIS DE LA CERDA, Duke of MEDINA CELI, Governor of ANDALUSIA: the Council of State constituted by Authority of Parliament, Greeting.
We have received advice from those most accomplished persons, whom we lately sent with our fleet into Portugal, in pursuit of traitors, and for the recovery of our vessels, that they were most civilly received by your excellency, as often as they happened to touch