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the soonest, what your pleasure is in this particular, and that he may be at liberty to depart without molestation. Feb. 4, 1649.
ri, 1 , 1 To the most Serene and Potent Prince, Philip the Fourth, King of Spain: the Parliament of the Commonwealth of ENGLAND, Greeting.
. . . . . Die 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 majesty, nor any other person, who has but cast an impartial 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 infamous tongues of exiles and fugitives. 1 Now then, as to what is more the concern of foreign nations, after having subdued and vanquished the enemies of our country, through the miraculous assistance of heaven, we 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 na tions; or else, if it be your pleasure, to open a way for the ratifying of new articles and alliances. Our request therefore is, that you will grant him free liberty of 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.
To the most Serene Prince, John thc Fourth, King of
PORTUGAL; the Parliament of the Commonwealth of ENGLAND, Greeting.
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 necessity of altering for the chiefest part the form of government, 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. To which, as it is but reason, if credit might be rather given than to the most malicious calumnies of loose and wicked men ; perhaps we should find those persons more amicably inclined, who now abroad have the worst sentiments of our actions. For as to what we justify ourselves to have justly and strenuously performed after the 'example of our ancestors, in pursuance of our rights, and for recovery of the native liberty of Englishmen, certainly it is not the work of human force or wit to eradicate the perverse and obstinate opinions of people wickedly inclined concerning what we have done. But after all, in reference to what is common to us with all foreign nations, and more for the general interest on both sides, we are willing to let the world know that there is nothing which we more ardently desire than that the friendship and commerce which our people have been ac: customed to maintain with all our neighbours, should be enlarged and settled in the most ample and solemn ranner. And whereas our people have always driven a very great trade, and gainful to both nations, in your kingdom, we shall take care, as much as in us lies, that they may not meet with any impediment to interrupt their dealings. However, we foresee that all our industry will be in vain, if, as it is re-ported, the pirates and revolters of our nation shall be suffered to have refuge in your ports, and after they have taken and plundered the laden vessels of the English, shall be permitted to sell their goods by public outeries at Lisbon. To the end therefore that a more speedy remedy may be applied to this growing mischief, and that we may be more clearly satisfied concerning the peace which we desire, we have sent to your majesty the most noble Charles Vane, under the character of our agent, with instructions and a commission, a plenary testimonial of the trust we have reposed and the employment we have conferred upon him. Him therefore we most earnestly desire your majesty graciously to hear, to give him credit, and to take such order, that he may be safe in his person and his honour, within the bounds of your dominions. These things, as they will be most acceptable to us, so we promise, whenever occasion offers, that the same offices of kindness to your majesty shall be mutually observed on all our parts. : Westminster, Feb. 4, 1649. To the most Serene Prince, John the Fourth, King of Por
TUGAL: the Parliament of the Commonwealth of ENGLAND, Greeting.
ALMOST daily and most grievous complaints are brought before us, that certain of our seamen and officers, who revolted from us the last year, and treacherously and wickedly carried away the ships with the command of which they were entrusted, and who, having made their escape from the port of Ireland, where, being blocked up for almost a whole summer together, they very narrowly avoided the punishment due to their crimes, have now betaken themselves to the coast of Portugal, and the mouth of the river Tagus: that there they practise furious piracy, taking and plundering all the English vessels they meet with sailing to and fro upon the account of trade; and that all the adjoining seas are become almost impassable, by reason of their notorious and infamous robberies. To which increasing mischief unless a speedy remedy be supplied, who does not see but that there will be a final end of that vast trade so gainful to both nations, which our people were wont to drivewith the Portuguese? Wherefore we again and again request your majesty, that you would command those pirates and revolters to depart the territories of Portugal : and that if any pretended ambassadors present themselves from *******, that you will not vouchsafe to give them audience; but that you will rather acknowledgeus, upon whom thesupreme power of England, by the conpicuous favour and assistance of the Almighty, is devolved, and that the ports and rivers of Portugal may not be barred and defended against your friends and confederates' fleet, no less serviceable to your emolument than the trade of the English.
To the most Serenę Prince LEOPOLD, Archduke of AUSTRIA,
Governor of the SPANISH Low Countries, under King PHILIP, )! So soon as word was brought us, not without a most grievous complaint, that Jane Puckering, an heiress of an illustrious and opulent family, while yet by reason of her age she was under guardians, not far from the house wherein she then lived at Greenwich, was violently forced from the hands and embraces of her attendants; and of a sudden, in a vessel to that purpose ready prepared, carried off into Flanders by the treachery of one Walsh, who has endeavoured all the ways imaginable, in contempt of law both human and divine, to constrain a wealthy virgin to marriage, even by terrifying her with menaces of present death: We deeming it proper to apply some speedy remedy to so enormous and unheard-of piece of villany, gave orders to some persons to treat with the governors of Newport and Ostend (for the unfortunate captive was said to be landed in one of those two places) about rescuing the freeborn lady out of the hands of the ravisher; who, both out of their singular humanity and love of virtue. lent their assisting aid to the young virgin in servitude, and by downright robbery rifled from her habitation: so that to avoid the violence of her imperious masters, she was as it were deposited in a nunnery, and committed to the charge of the governess of the society. Wherefore the same Walsh, to get her again into his clutches, has commenced a suit against her in the ecclesiastical court of the bishop of Ypre, pretending 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 demand 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 hands. Westminster, March 28, 1650. To the most Serene Prince, John the Fourth, King of
PORTUGAL. 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 acceptable to us; and that there is nothing which we have decreed more sacred, than not to violate by any word or deed of ours, not first provoked, the peace, the friendship, and commerce now for some time settled between us and the greatest number of other foreign nations, and among the rest with the Portuguese. Nor did we send the English fleet to the mouth of the river Tagus with any other intention or design than in pursuit of enemies so often put to flight, and for recovery of our vessels; which being carried away from their owners by force and treachery, the same rabble of fugitives conducted to your coasts, and even to Lisbon itself, as to 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 flagitious manners of those people, of their audaciousness, their fury, and their madness. Which is the reason we are in hopes that we shall more easily obtain from your majesty, first, that you will, as far as in you lies, be assistant to the most illustrious Edward Popham, whom we have made admiral of our new fleet, for the subduing those detested freebooters; and that you will no longer suffer them, together with their captain, not guests, but pirates, not merchants, but the pests of commerce, and violaters of the law of nations, to harbour in the ports and under the shelter of the fortresses of your kingdom ; but that wherever the confines of Portugal extend