Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 17, 1621-1623. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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THE papers contained in the present volume begin in April, 1621, and end in April, 1623, a period of twenty-five months. They come exclusively from the great repository at the Frari. The bulk of the material is supplied, as on former occasions, by the despatches of the Venetian ambassadors in England during the period; in this case there are two of them, by name Girolamo Lando and Alvise Valaresso. Lando left England on the 4th July, 1622, having been in residence since December 1619. He was a conscientious and painstaking ambassador, and his despatches are full of matter. He unfortunately affected the wordy, florid style, which was considered fine writing at Venice in his day, and in consequence his despatches are unduly lengthy and at times it is difficult to be quite certain of what he is driving at. On returning home he read in the Senate the usual account of the country to which he had been accredited. He begins by stating his determination to study brevity before all things, and succeeds in producing one of the most lengthy Relazioni of the whole series. It is also one of the most interesting and important. This document has been printed in extenso in the great collection of Barozzi and Berchet, but their text is full of errors, many of them of a serious character. Accordingly a full translation has been given here (No. 603), where the errors of the previous text are indicated in the footnotes.
Lando's successor, Valaresso, was chosen at the very beginning of 1622 (No. 269), and he entered London on the 17th July of the same year. He is somewhat less verbose than his predecessor, but has even more important matters to report, and so his despatches are almost equally voluminous. A volume at the British Museum (Add. MSS. 30,645) contains the whole series of his despatches from July, 1622, to September, 1624. It belongs to a set, Add. MSS. 30, 525–30, 766, presented to the Museum by the Bibliotheque National at Paris, said to have been made for the instruction of the French King, Louis XIII, and therefore nearly contemporary in date, as, indeed, the handwriting indicates. Carte, who quotes freely from Valaresso's despatches in his History of England, appears to have made use of this volume, or of its duplicate still preserved at Paris. It differs in many instances, both in arrangement and wording from the despatches at the Frari, it omits all the enclosures and is full of grotesque blunders. It seems probable that the original copy was made from the Register kept by the ambassador of all the letters sent by him to the Senate, by a person very imperfectly if at all acquainted with Italian. Valaresso himself states that his register is so badly written with so many abbreviations and alterations that to copy it would demand some skill, great patience and every facility (No. 747). One case of the ambassador's Register being copied by an unauthorised person has already been noticed in this Calendar. (fn. 1) The present volume contains other instances of similar leakage. Among the Miscellanea at the Frari are a series of volumes containing all the despatches sent by Marc Antonio Padavin, the agent of the Republic, from Vienna. These are in a contemporary hand and have also, to all appearance, been taken from the agent's Register. In this case the original despatches are preserved at the Austrian capital, a modern copy being kept at the Frari. For the excerpts given in this volume both the contemporary and the modern copies have been consulted.
Also among the Miscellanea at the Frari is a case labelled Varie Instruzioni della Corte di Roma. It consists of copies, in the handwriting of the time, of the instructions given to the nuncios sent to the various Courts by Pope Gregory XV. Two of these papers are quoted here (Nos. 849, 850). They contain the instructions to Massimi, the nuncio in Spain, about the dispensation for the marriage with England, drawn up by Cardinal Ludovisio, and considerations upon which the English marriage might prove useful to the Catholic religion.
The remainder of the material calls for little separate notice. The officials at the Frari were unable to find the despatches from Constantinople for the year 1623. Fortunately, for the greater part of this year the Rubriche were available. These consist of very full abstracts of the despatches made by the secretaries at home, and some extracts from them are published here. The letters of the Captain of the Guard of Crete are also missing for the whole period covered by this volume, and repeated search has failed to discover their whereabouts. Unfortunately, in this case, no Rubriche are available.
Towards the close of the volume the despatches from Spain become of exceptional importance, owing to the presence of the Prince of Wales at Madrid. It is in accordance with the perversity of things that the ambassador's secretary, who wrote a beautiful hand, should have fallen ill at this very time, and the Ambassador Corner himself, whose handwriting was anything but beautiful, should have had to write all the despatches himself. So bad was Corner's handwriting that the Senate had some of his letters written out fair by one of their secretaries. It is some consolation to a modern struggler in the same field to find that the contemporary copyist, with all his obvious advantages, has fallen into manifest error on more than one occasion. It is an additional misfortune that many of these letters have suffered considerably from the damp.
Passing from the documents to the matters with which they deal, the affairs of Germany naturally loom the largest. The Protestant cause there seemed in a desperate plight. Towards the end of March, 1621, Albert Morton returned from Heilbronn, where he had left the assembly of the Princes of the Union. He brought word from the princes that in spite of their exhaustion they were ready to do everything in their power if only James would come to their assistance without delay. They asked for 6,000 foot immediately, to reach the Palatinate in four or five weeks, and for a subsidy of 25,000l. a month. Otherwise they protested that they would have to make terms with the emperor. It was the last time they would approach his Majesty on the subject. (fn. 2) There was nothing that James disliked more than to be hustled in this manner. The more he reflected upon the subject the more angry he grew, and vented his wrath upon poor Morton, whose only offence was in having been the messenger to bring such unreasonable demands (No. 2). Nothing effective of any kind was so much as attempted. Where immediate and incisive action was imperative James remained ineffective and irresolute as ever. An effort to raise a modest loan of 20,000l. in the city completely failed (No. 17). At length after a month of hesitation Trumbull, the English agent at Brussels, was sent to the princes to show them how unreasonable they were, and to try and keep them in a good temper (No. 33) though it is not apparent on the surface how the first part of his mission would conduce to the success of the second. Trumbull fared badly on his journey, being robbed, stripped and beaten by disbanded soldiers; but long before he could arrive the Princes of the Union had made terms with Spinola and agreed to abandon the defence of the Palatinate. They wrote to James laying upon him all the blame for their failure, and even threatening to let their disbanded troops go and ravage the Palatinate (No. 40).
Left single-handed to deal with the question of the Palatinate, James still imagined that he could arrange everything successfully by means of pacific diplomacy. In a moment of expansion he explained his plans to the Dutch ambassador, Caron. He placed implicit reliance upon the promise of the King of Spain to have the Palatinate restored, if the Palatine would give up his pretensions to Bohemia. In this the Palatine would readily follow the advice of his father-in-law. He would negotiate with the emperor on this basis, and if that monarch refused to agree, he would insist upon the Catholic king fulfilling his promises. If the King of Spain then refused to do his duty and redeem his promises, James declared he would have every reason of right and duty to take up arms against him, and he hoped, with God's help, and in so righteous a cause, to make him repent of having roused a pacific lion (No. 73).
Accordingly Lord Digby was despatched to Vienna. Before he started confirmation reached James that the emperor was fully determined to transfer the electoral vote from Frederick and to have the imperial ban confirmed at the forthcoming diet at Ratisbon. This drew from the pacific lion a vigorous bleating, and even some appearance of action. The king sent for Digby and told him roughly that in Flanders he had done nothing, at a great expense, and he must take care not to repeat the same again. He must behave himself well and diligently, as the king did not want any more words but deeds. Small wonder that Digby started on his unpromising mission in a very perturbed state of mind, especially as the king hurried him out of the country by imprecations (No. 70).
At first everything seemed to go well. When Digby reached Vienna the affairs of the emperor were in none too promising a condition. The ambassador had a gracious reception, and two ministers were told off to treat with him (No. 98). For a while hopes ran high. At Vienna itself it was thought that the restitution of the Palatine to his dominions and the electoral dignity had been decided upon, within a fortnight of Digby's arrival (No. 113). Less than a month later Cardinal Ludovisio told the Venetian ambassador Zen that the Palatinate would undoubtedly be restored, owing to the offices of the King of England (No. 132). It may be doubted whether the cardinal's remarks were sincere. Only a week later Zen wrote that the pope insisted that the Palatinate should not be surrendered, promising the emperor all the help he could give (No. 139). The Duke of Bavaria protested that he would yield nothing of his just pretensions to the Upper Palatinate and the electoral dignity. He had an active representative at Vienna in Father Hyacinth, a Capuchin friar, ably seconded by the nuncio, who told the emperor it was an opportunity for conferring the electoral vote on a Catholic prince, and thus establishing the empire for ever with the House of Austria. The King of England, whom they proposed to satisfy, was a long way off, he had no money to help the Palatine, and his great naval force could not do any harm to the emperor (Nos. 123, 133). The King of Spain could not so easily afford to ignore the English fleet, and he urged the emperor to satisfy England. With these conflicting interests the obvious policy for the emperor was to try and gain time. He accordingly sent word to Digby that he agreed to an armistice for six months, during which interval they could settle their differences by negotiation (No. 165).
Digby started for home, to all outward appearance perfectly satisfied with the results of his mission. His complacency was soon to receive a severe shock. The armistice had been arranged in the vaguest possible manner. The Margrave of Jägerndorf and Bethlen Gabor were not included at all; the consent of the Duke of Bavaria, essential before everything else, had not been obtained, and although Digby mentioned the Count of Mansfelt he was not in a position to promise for him (No. 170). Before Digby was fairly on his way hostilities broke out with the invasion of the Upper Palatinate by Bavaria. The Palatine's position seemed to break up all at once. At Ratisbon only after strenuous effort did Digby succeed in breaking up a threatened agreement between Mansfelt and Bavaria (Nos. 187, 195). The former then took his force straight to the Palatinate, and arrived in time to raise the siege of Frankenthal, upon which the Spanish forces had just made an unsuccessful assault (Nos. 208, 210, 221). Digby meanwhile hurried home, where he arrived early in November.
Digby was thoroughly disillusioned. Before his arrival he wrote to the king asking pardon for his too great credulity, adding that neither Caesar nor Spain had any disposition to yield up what they had taken, unless by force. They spoke fair, but their acts belied their words. Neither Spinola nor the Infanta was inclined to give any satisfaction, not even a truce or armistice for a few days. Everything was referred to Spain with the excuse that they had not sufficient authority, and they advanced pretexts that were clearly deceitful (No. 217). He taxed the emperor with duplicity, saying that he had left him with letters to Bavaria and the Infanta, signed by his Majesty, with orders to the one to restore the places then held in the Upper Palatinate, and to the other to give up those taken in the Lower, after the execution of certain articles in an agreement, which presented no difficulty (No. 226). For the moment, as on some previous occasions, it seemed as if James might be galvanised into some resolute action. Buckingham remarked to an intimate that the king would be compelled at length to make up his mind to war (No. 217).
For the completion of the first part of this policy it was necessary that James should obtain from his son-in-law a complete renunciation of his claims to the crown of Bohemia. In this he found an active opponent in his daughter. Despite her misfortunes, Elizabeth showed a spirit worthy of the name she bore. Whatever tears she shed in private, in public she displayed all her vivacity and courage (No. 189). She was all for action, with not a thought for surrender or humiliation. When her father sent her his portrait set in diamonds, she remarked with fervour that she wished there were a thousand soldiers for every diamond or the money to pay for them (No. 107). When her husband showed her a humble petition presented to the emperor by Anhalt's wife, saying: See what a good wife she was and how well she advised her husband, Elizabeth answered: I am a better wife, because I do not advise such baseness and never will (No. 173). Much later, in February, 1623, she told one of her ladies in confidence that she would be sorry to return to the Palatinate, and was very eager to see Prague again (No. 758).
Frederick himself, though far from possessing his wife's spirit, had begun to chafe at the ignoble part he was called upon to play. The difficulties in which the emperor found himself at the moment seemed to offer a favourable opportunity for taking the field in person and profiting by the forces of Gabor, Jägerndorf and Mansfelt, then in arms against Caesar. Accordingly he accompanied the Prince of Orange on his campaign against the Spaniards. His action roused James to fury and has called down on his head, in later days, the severe strictures of Professor Gardiner. (fn. 3) James and Digby both complained that by taking the field against the Spaniards and refusing to dissociate himself from Gabor, Jägerndorf and Mansfelt, Frederick had entirely ruined every prospect of success for their negotiations. It may be asked whether they ever had any real prospect of success. There is every reason, on the contrary, to suppose that the Spaniards would have played their old game, which had succeeded so often, of putting things off by negotiation while the prospect seemed unfavourable for them, and awaiting a favourable moment for the realisation of their plans. It was a game to which they could always feel sure James would play up. Undoubtedly Frederick had the approval of so level-headed a man as the Prince of Orange, who advised him to write to England and say that he could not disarm for fear of losing everything and could make no treaty without first consulting those powers who had followed his fortunes (No. 143). The Prince was strongly opposed to any thought of a truce in the Palatinate and probably hoped to force James into action. Although that was not a very likely contingency, yet, considering the temper of the English people, it had more prospects of success than the other course.
James, however, was determined that Frederick should obey him, and to that end he sent Edward Villiers on a secret mission to the Hague. Frederick hastened back from the army to meet Villiers, and at a secret interview assured the envoy that he would follow the wishes of his father-in-law if he could do so with honour and be reinstated (No. 197). This submission came too late, as Digby's negotiations had already broken down, and within a month James himself was advising his son-in-law to take the field in person, this time in the Palatinate, in the hope that his presence would rally his friends round him (No. 227).
The first part of James's policy having thus broken down, there remained the second, of appealing to Spain to carry out the promises made about the restitution of the Palatinate. The air was full of talk of preparations for war against the emperor, but Gondomar went about protesting that if there was any blame it did not attach to his king, who had done all he could, but to the emperor (No. 217), while Digby declared that the Spaniards had always spoken in the same way, and the breakdown could not be attributed to them (No. 226). Aston, the English ambassador in Spain, was instructed to remonstrate about the conduct of the emperor and to claim the fulfillments of the promises. In Spain, however, the only thing that made them hesitate about giving offence to James was the European situation, the war in progress with the Dutch and the threatening state of affairs in the Valtelline, Father Hyacinth, the energetic Capuchin, had hastened to Madrid from Vienna, in order to forestall Digby there and to plead the cause of Bavaria. (No. 249). As usual in such emergencies the one object of the Spaniards was to gain time. No definite reply was given to Aston until the end of February. It was then to the effect that they would not restore the Lower Palatinate because of its importance for the wars in Flanders and other reasons, and they could not honourably give up the Upper Palatinate because of the promise to Bavaria, but they spoke of giving another state in exchange (No. 369). James blazed into wrath at this reply, but the flame speedily flickered out. All he did was to send Digby at last to Madrid to treat about the marriage and the Palatinate, though without reasonable hope of obtaining any real advantages for the latter (No. 375).
In the same way all the talk of war with the emperor died away into nothing. All the fiery declamations of the autumn dwindled down to a letter of remonstrance written by James to the emperor at the end of the year, saying that the promises made to Digby had not been kept, asking for the restitution of the Palatine to his dominions, titles and rank, and promising that he would renounce all his claims to Bohemia and all his alliances, and make any form of submission customary among princes. If the Palatine was not reinstated, nature and duty would compel him to help his son-in-law with all his power. Experience had taught the emperor the way to meet such a letter. When first he heard about it he decided to send the Count of Schwartzberg (fn. 4) on a special mission to England, to buoy up the king with false hopes and prevent him from taking any adequate measures to meet the situation (No. 258).
Another excellent device for keeping James inactive was the suggestion that a congress should meet at Brussels, to be attended by representatives of the emperor, Spain, Bavaria, Neuburg, England and the Palatine, with the idea of giving James satisfaction, at least in appearance (No. 388). The English representative selected for this congress was Sir Richard Weston. Even before he started Weston recognised the hopelessness of his task, and said that he was going in obedience to his sovereign and without any hope of success (No. 432). From the first he saw through the hollowness of the whole business, and had hardly got out there before he was asking to be allowed to return home (No. 561).
In every direction James allowed himself to be flouted with impunity. While he was being put off with these well-worn devices the forces of the enemy completed the conquest of the Palatinate, and the emperor transferred the electoral vote to Bavaria. His envoys could no longer rely upon meeting with ordinary civility. The remonstrances of Chichester, whom James had sent to the Palatinate, about the action of the Spanish generals, were treated with contempt (No. 518), and Tilly roughly told him that he did not know what the King of England had to do with the dominions of the emperor, and he would do better to have the remaining two fortresses surrendered; for his part he served the emperor and not the infanta (No. 614). As if these insults were not enough, when Chichester was descending the Rhine on his way home, one of his suite was arrested, despite his protests, and two couriers whom he had sent to Sir Horace Vere with passports from the infanta, were stopped by Tilly, who said he had nothing to do with her Highness there (No. 644).
To gild the pill of the transfer of the vote, the Spaniards suggested that Bavaria should enjoy the dignity for life and that it should descend with the Palatinate to Frederick's son. Cardinal Ludovisio thought that this bait would suffice to delude England (No. 723). James stormed and swore that he would move hell itself against the emperor (No. 859), but, of course, he did nothing. When everything in the Palatinate had gone except the fortress of Frankenthal, Ferdinand Boischot was sent over from Flanders to get James to consent to the place being deposited in the hands of the infanta and arrange an armistice. He succeeded in both these tasks, in spite of much reluctance on the part of Frankenthal to surrender, and although, as Valaresso remarks, it seemed absurd to suspend hostilities which did not exist (No. 868).
The blindness and insensibility of James at this period almost surpass belief. He clings to counsels of peace, wrote Valaresso, and agrees almost readily to loss and deception (No. 634). Some of the leading nobles of the realm, including Buckingham, Doncaster, Holderness and Middlesex, made a strong remonstrance to the king about the grave injury done to his reputation and the imminent peril to the kingdom by the fraudulent negotiations, evil actions and formidable progress of the Spaniards. James was moved to tears, but could only feebly reply that if war broke out with the Spaniards he would no longer have any security for his life (No. 604). So far did his fatuity go that he is said to have written to the King of Spain asking for a passage for his troops through Flanders to the Palatinate (No. 644). It was even thought possible that he might yield to the instances of the Spaniards, and write urging his daughter to go and live at Brussels, where she would receive honourable treatment becoming her quality, much better than she could have among the Dutch boors and rebels. If my father writes to me to that effect, said Elizabeth, I have my answer ready, that the first of April is past (No. 864).
Such conduct in a man of James's undoubted shrewdness is explained by both the Venetian ambassadors, Lando and Valaresso, as the result of fear. My impression is continually being confirmed, wrote the latter, that this credulity is nothing but a show, for otherwise one could not imagine such ignorance in the most fatuous person in the world, let alone in one who has given previous proof of deep knowledge; but I must humbly repeat that the king is especially afraid of the Spaniards from fear for his own life, and is absolutely resolved upon peace with them. Negotiations are kept up as a pledge of friendship with them, and as a pretext to stop the mouths of others (No. 677). Lando relates that on one occasion the king was in his bedchamber with only two gentlemen of the chamber present, and was very perturbed and deep in thought. Suddenly, without any warning, he broke out: And so the King of Spain thinks he can use me in this fashion; does he think me dead? He will find me only too much alive and determined. Then casting a rapid glance all round the room, fearing he had been overheard, he changed his style and remarked: I have trusted and still trust the Ambassador Gondomar more than any man living (No. 419). This same Gondomar, who read the king like a book, used to say laughingly to his intimates that James did not desire friends, but moderate enemies. He was firmly of opinion that fear alone guided the king, and he once told the French ambassador that the more the heretics were beaten elsewhere, the more James would yield on the point of religion. "He now believes in two sacraments; if they are beaten in Germany, he will accept three; if the Huguenots suffer defeat, in four; if the Dutch, in five, and so forth" (No. 603, page 449).
The Spanish marriage negotiations continue throughout this period. They involved the reconciliation of things by nature irreconcilable, and neither side acted with complete sincerity. The Spaniards used them to prevent James from making any other alliance, more particularly with France, and to divert him from any action prejudicial to their interests; James considered they would serve to stop the mouths of friends and to keep the Spaniards from intrigues against his life. But, in spite of this mutual insincerity, both parties seem more than once to have deceived themselves as well into believing in the genuineness of the transaction.
The comedy was performed on three separate stages, in England, at Rome and in Spain. In England public sentiment remained as strongly opposed to the marriage as ever. During the king's progress of August, 1621, Buckingham, learning that the whole country considered him as the author of the marriage negotiations, said to the king before a number of people that his Majesty would recollect that it was not he but another, whom he named (fn. 5) (No. 146). Only one party favoured it, the Catholics, and their priests presented a petition to Gondomar in its favour (No. 271). James continued as infatuated about it as ever and would brook no contradiction on the subject. In the autumn of 1621 he told the Council that if God did not come down from Heaven to forbid him, he meant to make that marriage (No. 193). At the same time he was disturbed by rumours that the Spaniards had some other bridegroom in view for the infanta. It was reported that Philip III on his death-bed had told the infanta that he was sorry he had not married her, but that would concern her brother, who ought to make her empress (No. 40). The persistence of these reports about the emperor's son caused the king much uneasiness until he was assured by Gondomar that there was nothing in them (Nos. 155, 186). Somewhat later the Spaniards seem to have entertained the idea of marrying the infanta to the young Archduke of Tuscany (No. 459). Nevertheless, James professed the fullest assurance that the Spaniards would keep their engagements with him, protesting that they would be the biggest rascals in the world if they did not (Nos. 390, 542). At the same time he was becoming impatient at the long delay and anxious to bring matters to a crisis. He imagined that once they had the bride safely in England they could make the King of Spain do what they liked, while they need not submit to him in anything (No. 520). Despatch was the one thing essential. Before leaving for Spain Digby told Lando that he would rather marry the prince, who was of the right age and could not wait long, because he was the sole heir to the throne, to any princess soever in a month, than wait a year for the Spaniard (No. 397). As the summer of 1622 wore on this feeling of impatience seems to have grown stronger, both Buckingham and James becoming more and more determined not to suffer any further delay (No. 544).
At Rome the pope acted out of complacency for the Spaniards, to assist their general policy in Europe. The Dominican Lafuente was sent from Spain to ask the pope to grant the dispensation necessary for marriage with a heretic. A congregation of four Cardinals, of which the pope's nephew Cardinal Ludovisio eventually became a member, was appointed to go into the matter. They raised various objections, which Lafuente was able to answer in a satisfactory manner (No. 213). But in spite of every appearance of genuineness, carried so far as to deceive the Spanish ministers themselves, the whole performance was nothing but a solemn comedy staged in the interests of Spain. Fresh difficulties were constantly being raised with the sole object of gaining time. Cardinal Ludovisio confided to the Venetian ambassador Zen that the congregation was nothing and would do nothing. They made a show at the request of the Spaniards, who professed to desire the marriage, but in reality they neither desired the conclusion nor the exclusion of the business, so that they might afterwards do what the progress of events might show would profit them most (No. 308). James himself was in direct communication with Rome by means of an agent named George Gage, who passed to and fro with communications. The king is said to have written direct to Cardinal Borgia, asking for his interest in the affair (No. 572). He also sent letters to Cardinal Ludovisio and the pope. He also was by no means innocent of intent to deceive. He held out hopes of a more generous treatment for the English Catholics, which he can hardly have intended to realise. He even hinted at the possibility of his becoming a Catholic himself. It became widely believed that the Archbishop of Spalato, who had gone to England as a convert from the Catholic faith, had received a safe conduct from the pope to go to Rome and arrange for the reconciliation of James with the Catholic Church (Nos. 231, 294, 317). The rumour obtained such currency that James thought it necessary to make a public declaration that he never contemplated any such thing and to obtain a written statement from Dominis to the same effect (No. 369). About the same time the Nuncio Scappi at Milan was given to understand that he was to be one of two persons to go to England to complete the Romanising of the king (No. 224). That James was directly responsible for these reports is most unlikely, though his general behaviour gave them some colour. He can hardly be so lightly exonerated of attempting to deceive the pope by saying that he would like them to send him some distinguished man of learning, such as the Cardinal du Perron, who might reason with him (No. 740).
On the third stage, in Spain, political expediency was the ruling motive. Throughout the whole course of the negotiations, whenever Spain became involved in difficulties or James seemed likely to show active resentment for the way in which he had been beguiled, the marriage negotiations always blossomed into renewed activity. The conquest of the Palatinate was one of these occasions, and when Digby appeared at Madrid in the summer of 1622, with the intention of asking for a speedy settlement of the affair, the king excited remark by going twice to the Council of State on the subject. The infanta, who loathed the very idea of this union, was sufficiently alarmed to go to her brother and protest with tears that she would rather take the veil (No. 532). Owing to Philip's affection to his sister it was thought that this might overthrow the whole affair; but in order to satisfy Digby they appointed a Junta to deal with the matter. That no serious steps towards the marriage were contemplated is indicated by the fact that the two English ambassadors were never invited to attend its meetings.
Nevertheless, the marriage had one very important friend at Court. This was the king's favourite, the Count of Olivares, who was by no means certain of the infanta's good will, and fearing that her influence might prejudice him with the king, he thought that the English marriage would be a good means of getting her out of the way (No. 637). He set his confessor and other divines on to her in order to convince her that the marriage with England would be a holy act, as she might bring back that kingdom to the true faith, and he so far prevailed that she declared that in the service of God and to please the king she would consent to anything (No. 656). Olivares also received assistance from the nuncio in Spain and Gondomar, although the motives of the former at least were open to suspicion (No. 649). How little sincerity there was in all this is shown by a report current at this very time that they would give the infanta to Prince Phillibert of Savoy (No. 656).
With matters in this state, all Europe was astonished to hear that the Prince of Wales had suddenly started off on a secret journey to the Spanish Court with scarce any attendants. According to Clarendon the idea of this journey originated with Buckingham, who persuaded the prince, and together they wrung a reluctant consent from James. (fn. 6) The Venetian ambassador, on the other hand, unhesitatingly states that James was the sole author of the plan, which Buckingham pressed and to which Charles merely agreed (No. 794). He conjectures that the journey was pitched upon in desperation as the last means whereby they could bring about the desired conclusion of the marriage, in the assurance that the Spaniards could not send back the prince without a wife, detain him without offence or injure him without hurting their own interests (No. 804). In such a labyrinth as this affair it is most difficult to arrive at the truth, but judging from the known facts the probability is that the Venetian is more in the right than the English historian, who wrote long after the events he describes.
James was accustomed to keep matters of state very much to himself, and shared his confidence with few. Quite recently Endymion Porter had returned from his mission to Spain. After his arrival the king wrote and laboured a long while into the night, and seemed sad. Finally he feigned gout to cover his dissatisfaction, though in public he feigned as much joy as he could. The king's own son shared his father's secrets at this time as little as others. When two of those most in the prince's confidence asked him whether the reports about Porter were true, Charles answered with some irritation that he had precisely as much information on the subject as they had (No. 738).
There would be nothing remarkable about James suggesting Buckingham as a companion for Charles, but it would be extraordinary indeed if Charles and Buckingham had suggested themselves as travelling companions to James. To say the least their relations had been far from cordial. As a rule Charles was submissive, the mere shadow of his father; but occasionally the inner fires blazed out. In July, 1621, a serious quarrel occurred about the appointment of a bishop of London, Buckingham wanting the post for Williams, while Charles had another candidate. The prince spoke very bitterly against the favourite to his father, who finally succeeded in appeasing him (No. 102). Another altercation between the two occurred in March of the following year, the cause for which is not stated, when Charles is said to have shown his teeth more than ever before (No. 369). The most significant account of the relations between the two at this time is in Lando's Relation of England. He says: In speech he (i.e. Charles) shows good sense, his replies are prudent, he grasps things with quick judgment and leans to the better opinion. But if he hears his father or the favourite say anything to the contrary, he immediately changes, although at bottom he hates the latter and has shown his teeth several times. Generally, to please his Majesty, he caresses him like a brother, or rather behaves as if the favourite were prince and himself less than favourite. On this account he has occasionally put up with rebuffs from him and worse. Sometimes he has left the Court for a while on this account, but has returned soon, fearing to lose the daily blessing (No. 603, page 451). Charles was hardly likely to select voluntarily as his companion on a hazardous enterprise a man for whom he had such feelings, and there is nothing to indicate that he had reason to change his mind in the short interval since Lando wrote this account.
Buckingham again was hardly likely of his own motion to suggest the journey. His absence from Court might easily endanger his ascendancy over the king, especially as he knew that his enemies were ever on the alert to catch him at a disadvantage. Very shortly before he had felt himself injured by some show of favour by the king to Cranfield's stepson, Brett, and had even quarrelled with James on the subject (Nos. 677, 708). This is not inconsistent with his ready adoption of the plan when suggested by James himself, and he might look for compensation for the dangers of his absence in the opportunities of conciliating the good will of Charles and also of scoring off Digby, whom was only too willing to injure even at this stage. (fn. 7)
The responsibility must therefore rest upon James, and indeed he was quite ready to take it. At first the mere mention of the subject made him testy, and when asked the reason for the step taken he would reply either that he did not know, or that he was driven to consent by the most ardent desires of his son, explanations which, it is safe to say, were equally untrue. He rejected with disgust a manifesto presented to him by the Council for publication, stating that the decision had been taken for good reasons recognised by his Majesty's prudence (No. 804). Yet when Valaresso hypocritically congratulated the king on the idea of the journey as a master stroke of policy, which could not derive from any one less wise than his Majesty, James was delighted and readily took all the credit to himself, saying that he hoped by such means to put an end to delays, and once this was settled he would be his own master. He gloried in the act and said the Duke of Savoy had praised it highly. He expected that all would be arranged in a month (No. 859).
In this happy assurance James seems to have dismissed all anxiety from his mind, at least for the time being. He went hunting every day, seemed cheerful and did not betray the slightest trace of melancholy (No. 794). He took no notice of the representations of his Council of the need of his presence near London during the prince's absence, and did not return to his capital before the middle of April.
The sojourn of Charles at Madrid has been so fully described by Professor Gardiner in his History that it is unnecessary to do more here than point out as briefly as possible some of the more salient facts brought to light by these papers. Although the Spanish ambassador Coloma expressed his annoyance because they never gave him the slightest inkling of the step to be taken (No. 785) it is stated that he had sent them a hint about it in Spain, though the difficulties in the way were considered insuperable (No. 837). The visit was manifestly unexpected at Madrid (No. 802), and for many respects it was also unwelcome (No. 794). The most extravagant courtesies and offers were made to Charles in outward show, but in all essentials he was kept at arm's length and evidently considered somewhat of a barbarian. At the first informal meeting, when Philip and the infanta drove together in the Pardo to give Charles a glimpse of his intended bride, when they met the prince the king rallied his sister, saying: Here stands your gallant. Your beauty must have great power to draw him from such distant countries with such great consequences; and he continued to joke in the same strain (No. 833).
The repugnance of the princess for the match only seemed to grow stronger as the prospect of its conclusion came closer. She wept and vowed that she would never marry a heretic. Her distress affected her health and she fell sick of a low fever, although some thought it was only feigned in order to avoid visits from the prince (No. 837). In any case Charles was studiously kept away from her on one pretext or another. When at length they decided to receive him, the manner of the reception must have been almost more galling than the long witholding of his destined bride. It was arranged that Charles should go to offer the infanta his respects at Easter. For this ceremony the prince arrayed himself with especial care in a gala costume, with various ornaments after the fashion of his country, and notably a pair of blue hose and a collar such as was then worn in England. The royal chamberlain objected to this attire, and when Charles persisted saying it was what was customary in his own country, they would not let him have his way. Finally, the Count of La Puebla asked for the hose as a present, hinting that it was not becoming for him to appear in them before the infanta, and the Countess of Olivares sent him some things, including the Walloon collars then in fashion, begging him to do her the honour to wear them on the day that he saw the infanta. Seeing no other way, Charles meekly submitted to be dressed as he was told. But even when correctly attired according to the ideas of his hosts, he failed to find favour in the eyes of his lady. Accompanied by the king and followed by all the grandees and many cavaliers, Charles entered the queen's apartment, where he seated himself, the king sitting next his sister. After offering his salutations to the queen, the prince approached the infanta and began a long speech of an endearing character. Murmurs in the room, a hint from the queen, and signs of boredom on the part of the infanta stopped him before he had said all he meant to say, and the interview closed with a few cold and formal words from the infanta (No. 863).
In the negotiations which took place at Madrid at this time the leading part was taken by the nuncio Massimi. The papal dispensation rested in his hands, and upon that everything was made to turn. He posed as a friend to the match, and seemed glad at the prince's coming. When in chapel the ambassadors chaffingly asked him if the prince had any intention of becoming a Catholic, he answered coldly that he did not know, but he was aware that people would form wrong opinions (No. 802). The line he was to take is clearly indicated in his instructions, and more particularly in the letter of Cardinal Ludovisio which accompanied them. They show that the pope was attracted by the opportunities offered by the marriage of securing some notable advantage for the Catholic faith and of bringing back England into the fold of the Church. But the pope wished to make quite sure that these advantages would be secured before he committed himself. The English king must grant freedom of worship and of conscience to all his Catholic subjects, and this must be approved by the Council and the parliament. The dispensation must not be consigned to the King of Spain unless he could obtain security for this from the King of Great Britain, and unless the Catholic would promise to see it carried out. After this the nuncio was to use every effort for the conversion of the Prince of Wales, without which his Holiness would not desire the marriage to be made (No. 849).
This last clause practically settled the whole matter. But Massimi was a strong partisan and incapable of seeing things in their true proportions. He thought there was reasonable hope of the prince's conversion, and indeed at Madrid the belief was general that the prince would become a Catholic (No. 837). He did not understand that even if this happened it would probably provoke civil war in England, indeed he went so far as to suggest that James should give the English Catholics some guarantee, such as was afforded to the Huguenots in France, by giving them some fortress or place of refuge (No. 841). During Holy week an attempt was made to edify Charles by showing him processions of flagellants and of the reformed bare-footed friars, while other friars were fetched to convince him by argument (No. 863). Charles affected to listen respectfully to the arguments, but his position had already become irksome to him. At heart he was ill at ease and very sad, and he was reported to have lost his appetite (No. 868). The remainder of this episode belongs to the next volume.
English relations with France during this period are mainly concerned with the treatment of the Huguenots. That body was accustomed to look to England for succour, and James liked to pose as their champion. The disarming of the Protestants in Normandy created considerable excitement in England, especially as refugees kept flocking into the country with their families and goods (Nos. 56, 69). The news that La Rochelle contemplated establishing itself as an independent republic was not likely to kindle much enthusiasm in James's breast, but he thought fit to send and remonstrate with the French ambassador, threatening to use the Algiers fleet in defence of that town. The Earl of Haddington told the king laughingly that if he did not do what he professed for his religion he would throw out of the pulpit the first preacher whom he heard call him defender of the faith (No. 59). On the 6th June, 1621, the English ambassador in France, Sir Edward Herbert had a stormy interview with King Louis, at which Luynes was also present. He told them that his king would not suffer the hurt done to the Huguenots, and if they persisted he would come with a large force to the assistance of La Rochelle. Louis deeply resented this office, and a serious altercation took place between Herbert and Luynes. Ultimately they desired the ambassador to write home to ascertain whether his master really intended to protect rebels against their lawful sovereign, as in such case the king would give a reply befitting his interests (No. 78). Remonstrance was made in England by the French ambassador about Herbert's behaviour, and James had the effrontery to declare that he had exceeded his instructions. Herbert sent a copy home to show that he had not, but James met this by denying that he had ordered them to be sent (No. 95). To satisfy the French Herbert left Paris on the plea of ill health. He was much cast down at the results of his interposition, and declared that he would give up the sorry business of an ambassador and become a soldier, as he could serve his king much better with the sword than with the tongue (No. 106).
In the meantime La Rochelle was pressing James for assistance, and sent four deputies secretly to represent their hard case (No. 68). They asked for 4,000 men, the Algiers fleet, 30 guns with powder and munitions (No. 95). To such high demands James made a very modest response. He gave them permission to have a collection made in all the churches in the realm, gave orders for the care of the numerous French refugees, and promised to grant them a levy if his diplomacy failed to procure redress for them (No. 173). He selected Doncaster, a favourite in France, to go as ambassador extraordinary, with instructions to treat with such mildness as not to irritate the French king, and so that James might not seem to be arrogating the position of arbiter between the king and his subjects (No. 102). Doncaster travelled with his usual splendour, but he expected but little success from his mission (No. 126). It was considered unlikely that James would do anything considerable for the Huguenots when his own children cried in vain to him for assistance. Nevertheless a person of authority in Savoy took a different view of the king's policy. He told the Venetian ambassador that the King of Great Britain was playing the blockhead with design. He likes to be thought Spanish, but he works prudently for his own ends. He has done everything to avoid a war of religion, and that is why he did not take up the Bohemian affair. For the same reason he gives the King of Poland money against the Turks, to prove his zeal and set France an example of true service to religion. If the French mean to extirpate the religions his Majesty will be compelled to draw the sword. The affairs of France engage that king's attention much more than the Palatine and his own daughter. He recalled his ships from the Mediterranean on the pretext of a dispute with the Dutch about Flushing and other ports, but the settlement of that affair lay in his own hands, and therefore he meant to use the ships to succour La Rochelle, as he was determined to keep that place for his own religion. He had arranged some articles very secretly with the commissioners of La Rochelle by which they may make an accommodation with their sovereign, and if he will not accept them it will be a strong reason for not obeying him. England will seize upon the pretext of religion to make himself felt, and will take possession of the two forts at the mouth of the Seine or of the port of La Rochelle itself. The ambassador had no instructions to show his hand, but was to let the Huguenots themselves treat (No. 142).
Whether this diagnosis of the situation was correct or no, Doncaster's first representations produced so much effect that negotiations were opened for a general accommodation (No. 160). Doncaster's position was a delicate one; he wished to act as mediator, but knew how jealous the French were of letting it appear that they could not control their own subjects, and of increasing the hold of England over the Huguenots (No. 246). On the other hand the Huguenots did not trust either Doncaster or his master, and the Rochellese wrote to him that they would be glad if he did not meddle with their affairs (No. 349).
When Doncaster returned to France later on he was a mere spectator of the successes of the royal arms. The influence of James in France counted for nothing. There was some fear that he might help the fugitive Soubise, but even that created no alarm, owing to the slight consideration in which England was held at the time (No. 517). All the same, when peace was made at Montpellier on the 18th October, 1622, James was ready to take all the credit to himself (No. 718), although it was brought about by causes in which he had no share. The peace paved the way for France to attend to foreign affairs, and was quickly followed by the league between France, Venice and Savoy for the recovery of the Valtelline. There was some idea of inviting James to join this confederacy, but the French viewed him with contempt and did not consider him worth the asking.
The expiry of the truce between the Spaniards and Dutch happened to coincide with the beginning of a new reign in the peninsula. The young Philip IV was determined on war with the Dutch rebels, and so all question of the renewal of the truce disappeared for the moment from practical politics. The ambassadors sent to England to try and engage James to support them in the coming struggle with Spain could get nothing out of him. The king told them fiercely that before the questions of the herring fisheries and the East Indies were settled it was not reasonable to suppose that he would desire a closer alliance with those who caused him so much annoyance. By careful planning on the king's part, a crowd of merchants appeared simultaneously on the scene and spoke very bitterly against the ambassadors asking the king not to allow them to leave the realm before they have due satisfaction (No. 17).
This mission therefore ended in failure, and the Dutch decided to send another to settle the question of the East Indies. The situation there was very strained and became steadily worse, so that there was some fear that James might authorise his subjects to make reprisals. In spite of the danger and of much pressure from Carleton, the Dutch were very dilatory over the sending of this second embassy, and it did not actually start until the very end of 1621. It was the moment of Digby's return from his unsuccessful mission to Vienna, when feeling ran high against the emperor, and it seemed that James might at last be moved to energetic action. It seemed a most propitious hour for the representatives of the most uncompromising opponents of the House of Austria. They were very favourably received, but it soon became evident that James did not really intend to take any serious steps against the common enemy, while the settlement of the questions in dispute was certain to present great difficulties.
The English merchants claimed 11,000,000 florins for damages, to which the ambassadors replied with a counter claim for 17,000,000 florins. On the English side thirteen deputies of the Council were appointed to treat (No. 300). For the moment feeling ran so high that the Earl of Oxford with a squadron of the royal ships had instructions to seize two Dutch ships expected from the East, by way of reprisals, an act that might easily have led to war, as the Dutch meant to resist to the uttermost. This step was occasioned by the news that the Dutch had taken the island of Banda, which the English claimed to have occupied first. According to the Dutch version, Banda had never belonged to the English. They had made arrangements with them to occupy it together, but as the English said they could not have their ships ready for three months, the Dutch decided to take the island at once, lest the Portuguese should take advantage of any delay. Reports in England of the high handed and cruel behaviour of the Dutch raised a very strong feeling against them. The ambassadors, on their side, complained that they could not get a fair hearing, that some of the most influential of the commissioners appointed to meet them made no secret of their desire to destroy the friendly relations between England and the Netherlands, and they could get no opportunity of speaking with the king, who on their arrival had promised them that every time a difficulty occurred he would act as arbiter (No. 330).
The Dutch showed themselves very stiff in adhering to their claims; and although several of the directors of the East India Company were gathered at the Hague for the purpose of inducing them to satisfy the English as much as possible, by sacrificing the interests of their company, they could not be prevailed upon to abate their original claims (No. 381). A fatal riot in Scotland, caused by some Dutch fishermen landing to dry their nets, added fresh fuel to the flames. The first meeting between the ambassadors and the commissioners broke up without anything being settled. It was hoped that matters would go more smoothly on the king's return, otherwise the ambassadors might as well go straight home at once (No. 342). They sent immediately for fresh instructions and fuller powers enabling them to make concessions (No. 347), and with these matters at once took a better turn (No. 398). Matters dragged on, however, for several months until everything had been settled except the question of mutual restitution, upon which they came to a deadlock (No. 570). The question was referred to James, who decided in favour of the Dutch. After this the negotiations with the commissioners were resumed; once again serious difficulties were encountered, and the question again dragged on until February, 1623, when a definite settlement was finally arrived at through the intervention of the king. The Dutch were to pay 80,000l. in three months, the English were to share the expenses and risks, and the two nations were to trade together in amity. Unhappily this settlement partook of the nature of all those arranged by James, in bringing about an agreement by ignoring or slurring over the chief difficulties. Nothing was said about the forts, and other matters were left unsettled because the affair was so delicate that anything that pleased one side displeased the other for no other reason (No. 761). An arrangement of this kind only meant postponing trouble, which was likely to arise in a more acute form in the near future.
Side by side with this affair of the Indies there was another thorny question between the two countries. On the resumption of the war with Spain the Dutch established a blockade of the coast of Flanders. Considerable alarm was occasioned in the Netherlands by the report that James meant to demand' free access to the ports of Flanders. The Prince of Orange told the Venetian agent Surian that this would amount to a declaration of war against the United Provinces, as it would take away all their trade and put it into the hands of the Spaniards and English (No. 134). For nearly two years this remained no more than a threat; but at last, in March, 1623, the English ambassador Carleton announced in the Assembly that it was the intention of his sovereign that the ships of his subjects should have free access to the ports of Dunkirk and Ostend, and further that he wished his own ports to be free to Spanish men-of-war, and that the Dutch must desist from blockading them there. The Prince of Orange was very bitter on the subject and complained that James was not observing a strict neutrality (No. 809).
Lando explains James's cavalier treatment of the Dutch on the ground that the moment he chose to change his attitude to them they would open their hearts and let him do what he liked (No. 287). He had no particular love for the Dutch, as being republicans and rebels.
The Spaniards did their utmost to stir up bad blood between England and the Dutch, and sometimes with apparent success. It was even reported at Madrid that James offered the Spaniards help against the Dutch in return for assistance against the rebellion he feared among his own subjects (No. 198). Lando and Caron, the Dutch ambassador in England, refused to believe in the possibility of any such thing (No. 239), although not many months later James was to supply abundant grounds for such suspicions. (fn. 8) But there were many reasons why James could not afford to drive the Dutch to extremity. The United Provinces constituted a formidable military and naval power at his very gates. At the resumption of hostilities with Spain they claimed to have 60,000 foot, 45 companies of horse and 150 men-of-war (No. 66). They held such command in the Channel that no ships could pass without their notice (No. 44). The energetic war they carried on against the Spanish power kept the Spaniards busy, and if the Dutch were driven by necessity to make peace with Spain, the power of the Hapsburgs would be left unrestrained and the recovery of the Palatinate would be hopeless. The Netherlands afforded an asylum for his daughter and son-in-law, who might come to England, the last thing James wanted, if they could not remain there. Finally, the English people, apart from the merchants and the Spanish party were friendly to the Dutch. The two East Indiamen that Oxford was sent to take at the beginning of 1622 actually anchored a short distance from Plymouth, and their sailors went on shore and fraternised with the people, enjoying the good English beer, smoking their pipes in peace and even taking wives (No. 342). A large English contingent was always in active service in the Netherlands, and there never seems to have been any lack of volunteers to fill up the gaps. At the siege of Bergen-op-Zoom the English played a prominent part, of which some interesting particulars will be found in this volume.
Thus, although James had no real love for the Dutch, and it was one of the chief aims of Spanish policy to embroil him with them, he was always careful not to push matters too far. He assured them more than once that the marriage with Spain should not make any difference to his relations with his old friends, and at the worst moment of the East Indies dispute he assured Caron that no prince in the world should disturb his friendship with them (No. 406).
Of James's character these papers, as usual, contain many interesting particulars besides those which have already been alluded to incidentally. His faults had increased with his years. Just before Charles started for Spain, Valaresso writes of the king: He is too blind in disordered self-love and his wish for quiet and pleasure, too agitated by constant mistrust of everyone, tyrannised over by perpetual fear for his life, tenacious of his authority as against the parliament and jealous of the prince's obedience, all accidents and causes of his fatal and almost desperate infirmity of mind (No. 776). He is said to have kept a great number of spies employed (No. 111). He lamented the loss of the confidence of his old friends and allies, who no longer imparted their secrets to him; but this was small wonder, as they immediately became known to the Spaniards, and in order to win the confidence of the Spanish ambassador more completely James was in the habit of telling him the most important things imparted to him by the other ambassadors (Nos. 70, 677). The knowledge that his own secrets were disclosed threw him into a frenzy (No. 169). He was unwilling to believe what he did not like, and in consequence was not always informed of the truth (Nos. 317, 542). Lando declared that he had always found the king very slippery and apt to speak in different ways for the attainment of his ends (No. 239). His chief diplomatic skill lay in a sorry kind of trickery (No. 804). The feebleness of his conduct made him the scorn of Europe, and his ministers abroad were often hard put to it to find a reasonable explanation for his weakness.
The influence of the Spanish ambassador Gondomar over the king remained unabated. Everything was done to please him, and the king even assigned to him the royal palace of Nonsuch as a summer residence (No. 34). Two or three members of the Council kept Gondomar posted up upon everything that happened (No. 136). The king could not utter a thing without Gondomar knowing, and the ambassador was undoubtedly more minutely and profoundly advised than the king. He had access to the Court at all hours, had audience without appointment, like the king's own councillors and ministers, and found wide open the doors which were usually shut or only grudgingly opened to others. Many depended upon his protection, and those who crossed his path suffered disgrace and dismissal (No. 603, page 442). He deceived James completely, and on one occasion James told the French ambassador that he did not believe a more sincere and true minister could be found. He believed the ambassador loved him more than he did his own master, for he even read the king all the letters with the most profound secrets which reached him from Spain, so that there was hardly any possibility of deceit or cunning trap (No. 73). In return Gondomar secretly laughed at the king's credulity and the fears that made him such an easy victim. By fear or fresh hopes he would force the king to do things even against his will (No. 288).
When the time for Gondomar's departure from England actually arrived, he was a little uneasy, because his influence with the king did not seem quite so great as it had been. However, he had a magnificent send-off, with every sign of affection and favour. He made a very deliberate journey to the coast, but the only noteworthy incident was the refusal of lodging to him at some village (No. 480).
Even after he had left England Gondomar wrote a letter to the king in the old hectoring style, telling him that he was ill-advised in his dealings with Spain. He should either open active hostilities or deal sincerely as a friend. He went on to enumerate all the offences which the Spaniards had received from the king, and concluded by admonishing and almost ordering him what to do in the future (No. 713).
Early in 1621 Sir Henry Wotton arrived in Venice to take up his third embassy in that city. The representatives of England abroad had some reason to be sensitive in those times, and Wotton considered himself slighted because of the small number of senators who came to receive him (Nos. 1, 8). The Senate protested that no slight of any kind had been intended, and though they refused to do what Wotton demanded by way of redress, he agreed before long to say no more about the matter (No. 14). The Venetians were rather anxious lest he should write about it to England, and communicated with Lando on the subject. He told them that Wotton was not considered to be so friendly to Venice as at first, as he was supposed to have received some offence, and he might be anxious to make trouble for the sake of currying favour with some of the ministers. The king considered him lightsome and too vivacious, and would not attach too much importance to his representations (No. 39).
The course of this embassy largely corresponded with this somewhat unlucky beginning. During his first autumn Wotton took fever, and in three weeks all his household fell sick. Two of the most prominent died, the steward and Gregorio di Monti, who for many years had been secretary to the embassy. His chief diplomatic task was to ask the republic to assist the Elector Palatine. He repeated this request upon several occasions, though his pertinacity never succeeded in eliciting more than the stock reply that the republic was already rendering the Palatine great assistance indirectly, and could not at the moment afford to do more.
But the chief event was the case of Lady Arundel. The main facts are well known, and it is not necessary to recapitulate them here. The countess was staying at Padua, as her sons were being educated at the University. It is worthy of note that a gentleman was already on the way with orders from the king to bring her back to England (No. 370). Wotton cannot have been aware of this, or he would hardly have acted as he did. The spirited behaviour of the countess placed him in a most unhappy position, in which he cut a very sorry figure. He was afraid that he had utterly ruined his fortunes and his prospects at Court. The countess was naturally much incensed and the earl, although he said he did not believe there was any malice, thought that the advice given by Wotton was neither good nor friendly, and it was not good for his Majesty to have such ministers. James, with his usual shrewdness, remarked that if Wotton knew of it fifteen days before, as he professed, he should have warned the countess earlier. The populace, who did not love Arundel, and looked askance at his wife's stay in Italy, made up their minds that there was something more behind, and many said that the republic was prudent and knew how to dissimilate (No. 473). The removal of Wotton from his post was considered possible, but the king owed him money, which it would not have been easy to find at the moment, and possibly for this, if for no other reason, he was allowed to stay on. He even seems to have made his peace with the Howard family, as we find him obtaining various concessions for the countess, and in the following July he presented Arundel's two sons to the doge (No. 516).
Wotton would have been quite ready to come home if he could have obtained some honourable employment. It seems at one time to have been understood that he should succeed to the office of Master of the Rolls, and when he lost that hope they proposed to satisfy him with another appointment equally honourable (No. 193). In the autumn of 1622 he is said to have been uneasy about his private affairs and to have sent home a servant about them, but no particulars are given (No. 578).
The embassy to England must have got a bad name among the nobility of Venice; one after another evil had befallen those who had gone there for some time past. Foscarini had returned home to a three years' imprisonment and eventually to a traitor's death; Barbarigo had died after a stay of but a few months; Marioni had been fetched home in disgrace, and finally Donato had been banished for life for his peculations. Whatever impression these repeated misfortunes may have made on the superstitious, they must have produced the worst effect upon the personnel of the embassy. When Lando arrived in England there was scarcely one of the servants left there whom he could trust. Donato had been personally popular, and many of his former servants and friends were animated by a feeling of personal hostility to his successor. It is small wonder that Lando felt himself to be surrounded by spies. Among these was his interpreter, Edward Watson, an Englishman, whom he believed to be a double spy, in the pay not only of the Archbishop of Canterbury, but of the Spanish party, through Sir Lewis Lewkenor, the Master of the Ceremonies (No. 121). A number of Italians in London, many of them exiles and Venetian subjects, were bitter enemies of the republic (No. 120).
Among the prominent Italians living in London at this time was one who called himself Amerigo Salvietti. He was an intimate friend of Donato, and at once showed his malice against Lando by reporting that he was not a good Catholic, merely because he proposed the health of the Archbishop of Canterbury at the banquet he gave on the day of his public entry (No. 119). A desire to discover further information for the Inquisitors of State about Salvietti led Lando into devious ways. His secretary Zon, being one day at the office of the Master of the Posts, noticed a packet of Salvietti's letters and contrived to steal it. He took it to the ambassador, who opened it, and one is glad to learn that he found nothing that served his purpose. Salvietti naturally made a great fuss about the loss of his letters, and accused Zon as the guilty party. Lando expressed great indignation that his man should be suspected, but apparently he deceived no one, as Calvert told Salvietti that he knew where the fault lay, but it would be best to let the matter go no farther. The other ambassadors were very indignant, and the incident cannot have failed to prejudice Lando's position at the Court very seriously (No. 135, and note).
Among the exiles were several glass workers of Murano. These men were practising their art and teaching it in England. Lando made it his business to get them to return to their native land, and he claims to have succeeded in some cases. Lando had no instructions like his predecessors to obtain weapons or gunpowder from England, but it is curious to note that in the autumn of 1621 he did receive an order to try and buy wheat. The year, he wrote, had been one long winter, cold and rainy, and no one seemed to remember anything like it. In some counties they had floods for more than 300 miles, and consequently the harvest had in large measure been lost. However, a large quantity of corn remained in the country, chiefly in Scotland and on the Scottish border. The chief difficulty was about the price, as he was not allowed to offer enough (No. 218).
A person named Phillips, probably a brother of Sir Robert Phillips, was employed by Van Male, the agent of Flanders, to attempt to work out the Venetian cipher from some intercepted despatches of the Agent Surian. Lando discovered what was going on, and succeeded in getting Phillips to give up his task. One of the excuses given by Phillips to Van Male for refusing to go on was that the king had recently professed his hatred for the art of working out ciphers and of those who practised it. Considering he knew no Italian Phillips succeeded remarkably well. What he discovered (No. 456) would have sufficed to give him a complete key with a little patience. Lando imagined that Phillips's discoveries amounted to nothing (Nos. 434, 455), but the Venetian Senate thought differently, and immediately issued a new cipher on a different principle, which was issued to all the new ambassadors or secretaries (No. 495).
The third parliament of James began its work in a spirit of remarkable harmony with the king. Each strove which could please the other most. The parliament proceeded with caution, showed great moderation over foreign affairs and refrained from touching on any points which might displease the king. James looked on their operations benignly, and even went so far as to tell them that if the favourite marquis himself had committed any errors they should punish him, without thinking of what he was then, but of what he was when he first arrived at the Court. Such remarkable and wholly unlooked for agreement naturally gave rise to general astonishment (No. 2). Up to the adjournment for Easter everything went merrily, with a remarkable unanimity between the two houses. A severe sentence was passed upon Mompesson, and parliament delivered shrewd blows against other delinquents, including the Lord Chancellor Bacon. On the last day of the session the king spoke in the Upper House with such eloquence and benignity that he captivated everyone, and all felt sure that he had some good plan in his heart (No. 17). The Prince of Wales, appearing in the national assembly for the first time, won great popularity by his modesty and other great qualities (No. 40).
Such an idyllic state of affairs could not be expected to last, and a change was apparent immediately the Houses assembled after the Easter adjournment. James delivered two speeches, neither of which realised the eager expectations of his audience. In the main he appealed for a prompt supply of money, pleaded excuses for his past liberality which had exhausted his funds and explained how much had already been expended upon the Palatinate. He was making preparations for war, but he wished first to see what negotiation would do. All this was listened to coldly, but the most unfavourable impression was made by the king's betrayal of the fact that he was not so ready as he had professed for them to proceed with the reform of the abuses of the government and the punishment of the greatest and those most about him, who had recently received the greatest honours and were supported by the Spanish party with all their might. Money was scarce, and they did not relish the prospect of raising subsidies which would only be thrown away (No. 43).
The session thus opened proved a very stormy one, party feeling ran high and the harmonious relations with the king speedily vanished. Although James had discouraged parliament from going forward with the reform of abuses he had not forbidden them to do so, and the Commons proceeded with their prosecution of the offenders, and showed no inclination to supply the king with the additional subsidies he had asked for lest he should dissolve the parliament immediately (No. 55). They began to contemplate an attack on the favourite himself. Parliament, wrote Lando, resembles those birds of prey, who, when their first stroke fails, take a higher flight to make sure of the second. This was prepared by the affair of the ex-Attorney General Yelverton. Prosecuted at the king's instance for hinting that he had been unjustly punished for doing his duty, Yelverton made a fierce attack on Buckingham before the Lords. Called upon to make good his charges, he failed to do so, and was fined 15,000 marks, two-thirds to the king and one-third to Buckingham. James was deeply incensed and declared that the gallows would have been a more suitable punishment, and even that would not have been enough. Buckingham thought generosity the best policy towards a foe, whom he fancied he had entirely ruined, and he forgave Yelverton his share of the fine; but as a matter of fact public sympathy was all for Yelverton, as men thought that many of the things he had said were only too true, although he could not prove them, because they passed between the king, the marquis and himself alone, and parliament proposed to intercede with the king for him, as they were led to sentence him rather for technical reasons than because they were satisfied of his guilt.
In the House of Lords the Earl of Arundel sided with the favourite, while the popular party was led by the Earl of Southampton. Angry words passed between Arundel and Lords Sheffield and Spencer, two peers on the popular side, and Arundel was sent to prison by the House for his insulting language. Further heat was generated over the Floyd case, so that many feared a total dissolution of parliament very soon. The king frequently threatened as much, declaring angrily that there were too many kings in the realm just then and he no longer counted for anything (Nos. 56, 59).
Feeling thus ran very high right up to the Whitsun vacation. Parliament passed a most rigorous law against the Catholics through all its stages, and Arundel was kept in confinement. Some wished to bring fresh charges against the earl, while his friends tried to persuade the king to release him of his own authority. James, however, hesitated to take a step which would have incensed parliament too much (No. 66).
After the recess there was another sudden change. James had received word that the emperor was resolved to transfer the electoral vote and to have the ban against the Palatine confirmed at the forthcoming diet at Ratisbon. In the first blush of his wrath at this news James exclaimed more than once: I may well thank Naunton, as were it not for him I should not have summoned parliament. It is the more extraordinary that almost immediately the king decided to adjourn the Houses until after his return from his progress, at Michaelmas or All Saints. It was felt that this practically amounted to a dissolution, and the parliament was much moved and very sad, but when they proposed to ask the king to give them a few more days in which to finish some business which they had begun, he sent word that it would be of no use. His action was attributed to the influence of Gondomar and Buckingham, but those of better judgment considered that James was himself responsible, being afraid that if he granted to parliament what it demanded against the Catholics, he would lose all his hopes with the Spaniards, while on the other hand, if he really satisfied the Spanish ambassador by not enforcing the bills presented to him he would risk losing utterly the loyalty of his subjects, and therefore he hoped by this prorogation he would avoid offending either, and he could act afterwards according to the issue of Digby's negotiations (No. 70).
After all the proceedings closed in an amicable manner. James went down to the House and offered them a fortnight longer if they wished. The two Chambers had consulted together, but decided that they would not accept this offer, as such a short time would not suffice for what they wanted to do. Accordingly parliament was prorogued, the king engaging his royal word that he would convoke it again on the 14th November. Throughout all the various fluctuations the Prince of Wales kept the popularity he had won, and in some sense he served as a tie to unite the king and his people (No. 73). The one person who was not content was the Ambassador Gondomar, who wanted a dissolution and not a prorogation; he accused James of having incited the Commons, before they separated, to present a manifesto offering their assistance for the recovery of the Palatinate, telling him that it was not the right way to secure either the marriage or the Palatinate, though it might easily lead to war (No. 76).
Hardly had parliament risen than James caused the arrest of the Earl of Southampton and of some others who had taken a prominent part in its proceedings. This action is supposed to have been prompted by Buckingham in revenge for the attack upon him and for the imprisonment of Arundel. He was actively supported by the Spanish ambassador, who was playing to win at all hazards, in the hope of sweeping all the opposition party from his path or else drive them into open rebellion. James imagined that if he got these men out of the way he would be able to achieve his objects of the restitution of the Palatinate and the Spanish marriage more easily. In reality, by putting everything in the hands of the Spanish party, he was tying his own hands for any future action (No. 84).
When the time for the reassembling of parliament approached the Spanish party in the ministry was still further strengthened, the chief change being the appointment of Cranfield as Lord Treasurer (No. 193). But even so the king was afraid to meet the representatives of his people, and the date of reopening was postponed from the 14th November until the 8th February. The march of events again forced the king's hands; the conquest of the Upper Palatinate by Bavaria made him once more think of war, and it was hastily decided that parliament should reassemble on the 30th November. As a preparation, attempts were made to conciliate the Earl of Southampton, while Oxford, another opposition peer, was given the command of a squadron of ships, to keep him out of the way (No. 233).
James did not think it worth while to abandon his hunting in order to open parliament, and so that duty was performed by the Prince of Wales. The king hoped that he would be able to obtain the money for making war with very little trouble (No. 233), but the evil seed he had sown after the close of the last session bore its inevitable fruit. Southampton and some others refused to appear because they might not be allowed to express their opinions safely. This led to a noisy altercation in the Commons with the Secretary of State about the prerogatives of the Crown. There was much more inclination to take up once again the question of abuses in the government than to plunge into a war in the heart of Germany. For the king's immediate needs they voted one subsidy, but resolved to grant no more until they had assurance that the money would be properly expended. They reserved the right to take up the question of abuses again, with the object of ridding the realm of its many disorders and of those whom they considered its enemies. They hoped to break up the Spanish marriage and to force the king into war with Spain. Some of those who had previously associated with the Spanish party powerfully advocated this course in the Lower House (No. 238). Such behaviour precipitated a crisis at once. James sent word to parliament warning them not to meddle with matters of state, while Calvert told them to proceed with their business with all speed and not to interfere with anything but the making of laws and statutes. James was urged to assert his authority and told that if he gave way he would have to submit to be ruled by parliament for ever after, and would no longer be a king except in show. To this James replied: And if they will not give me the money what shall I do? Feeling was very much inflamed, and the Venetian ambassador considered that the country was approaching a very grave crisis. Calvert seems to have borne the brunt of the attack, but Charles converted his popularity into disaffection by speaking every day against the parliamentary party. Further heat was generated by an accusation brought against a member of having remarked that the King of Spain had promised his Majesty 10,000 men to bridle his subjects, a charge proved to be untrue (No. 253). The Commons, believing that the king had been misinformed, appointed a commission to lay their case before him; but the king's reception of this only made matters worse. The party leaders stirred up suspicion about the king's dealings with the Catholics. The feeling grew that not a penny more ought to be spent and enough had already been thrown away on embassies and in other useless ways. The Commons met and proposed to issue a manifesto asserting their undoubted ancient liberties and touching upon other points, but James forestalled this by two letters couched in milder language. Passion being thereby somewhat allayed, the House sent to thank James and adjourned over Christmas, the king promising to convoke them again on the 8th of February (No. 261).
Before adjourning the parliament made a declaration that their privileges were the undoubted birthright of English subjects. When James received this he tore it up, exclaiming: God give me patience, and declared his intention to have no more parliaments. At the same time he made enquiries to see if he could not punish some of the members for exceeding the privileges of parliament. He sent for the Journals of the House, a thing no sovereign had ever done before, and, although the Council begged him to let the matter drop, he sent Sir Edward Coke, "the darling of the parliament," to the Tower (No. 271).
After long consultation and much hesitation a proclamation was issued dissolving parliament. James told his Council that he would have no more to do with parliament and let it be understood that anyone who should venture to persuade him otherwise would excite his displeasure, as he did not want so many little kings in his realm who aspired to be above him (No. 287). Without a parliament James was obliged to give up all thought of war and return once more to the methods of diplomacy, which were equally doomed to futility without parliamentary support. Doncaster, who returned from France at this very time, said he had noticed that the aspect of parliament, when working harmoniously, had a great influence upon the consideration shown to his country, and he received very different replies when it got abroad that his Majesty's views did not coincide with those of his subjects, and this would be more serious and general if they were reported to be in disagreement (No. 375).
James found the parliament of Scotland much more obliging. The one that broke up on the 14th August, 1621, gave him a grant of a subsidy on land fifty per cent. larger than had ever been granted before, as well as a tax of 5 per cent. on the interest of all money put out at interest, to last for four years. No restrictions were put upon this generous grant, but the Lord Treasurer of Scotland was sent to beg the king to devote the money to the restoration of his son-in-law in the Palatinate and to help the French Protestants. If he would only do this the Scots would not only devote their goods but their lives (No. 155).
The reason James hesitated about dissolving parliament was because he was afraid of some revolt in the country. His action meant that he had thrown himself into the hands of the Spanish party, whose unpopularity in the country had already reached the uttermost limit. In conversation men went to every extreme; they suspected they would see a change in religion, that the Spaniards would come to the king's assistance, that the king would impose taxes on his own authority, and so forth. The behaviour of James in the government of the country had certainly exasperated his subjects to the verge of endurance. His reckless prodigality to worthless favourites, his truckling to Spain and the incredible feebleness of his foreign policy offended all the best instincts of the country. Though the king is full of benignity and frankness, wrote Lando, his nature is incapable of those tactful actions which conduce to popularity and affection and which Elizabeth knew so well how to employ (No. 603, page 444). When he did an action good in itself he spoiled it by the manner and motive of doing it. The edicts releasing the imprisoned Catholics from prison, and forbidding the preachers from attacking the Catholic faith or enlarging upon disputes or disagreements with the Catholic Church, though they gave great joy to the Catholics, only exasperated the others to a remarkable degree and threatened to sow the seeds of civil war. The idea of bridling the preachers in matters considered to pertain to their faith, wrote Valaresso, is like damming torrents which only rage the more furiously and easily break into sedition (No. 586). The country had become so thoroughly convinced of the impossibility of any generous resolution from James that Valaresso declared it would be less difficult to get the king to decide for war than to induce his subjects to believe the decision; they had been rendered incredulous by past events, and would fear that the pretexts were raised merely as a device for obtaining money, without a thought of doing anything serious (No. 604). The sudden departure of the Prince of Wales for Spain brought the popular discontent to a climax, and the general detestation of Buckingham passed all bounds (No. 794). The English at the Hague declared that if the people only had a leader they could give the king a severe shock (No. 585).
The possibility of a revolt of his subjects was always present with James. It made him afraid of his own daughter, whose popularity with the Puritan party was very great. When Elizabeth and her husband as fugitives were taking refuge in the Netherlands, James sent Carleton to tell them that they must on no account think of coming to England (Nos. 13, 18). In a letter to a leading countess, an intimate friend of hers, Elizabeth wrote that she and her husband enjoyed more popularity at the Hague than they had ever experienced anywhere else. They would stay there a long while seeing that she could not go where she ought. She asked the countess, if she heard anyone talking of her coming to England, to contradict it, as she certainly would not do so, for reasons which could not be put upon paper, but which might easily be inferred. The princess expected very little from her father except what would further the triumph of his enemies, who mocked and played with him (No. 40). Courtiers, who thought of crossing the water to pay their respects to their king's daughter, postponed their trip from fear that it might not please the king, owing to some words let fall (ib.), though some of the gentry seem to have gone later as well as the Countess of Bedford (No. 136). A suggestion of the Palatine himself that he might come to England in the autumn of 1622 was met by a prompt refusal, the messenger being sent back with feverish haste to forbid him to come (No. 604). James was not sorry to have the Palatine kept in low water, and would not even consent to have one of his sons at his Court, to be brought up there, from fear that there might be some understanding with his people to proclaim the boy king one day and depose him (No. 587). Elizabeth was next heir to the throne after Charles, and a large party in the country would have liked to see her queen (No. 603, page 444). When Charles went to Spain her position became even stronger, as in the event of anything happening to him she became heir apparent. At Rome it was thought that in the event of James's death during the absence of his son in Spain there would be a revolution in England, the people would send for Elizabeth and her husband to give them the crown, and leave Charles to marry whom he liked. In that case the Spaniards in their turn would learn what it was to have a son-in-law without dominions, and would have to decide whether it was their interest or duty to reinstate him (No. 854). The Ambassador Boischot tried to alarm James and incense him against the Dutch by suggesting that Elizabeth would come to England with their aid. The Venetian ambassador thought that, though bold, this would be the best course she could pursue (No. 831).
The Algiers fleet, sent against the Barbary pirates, returned unexpectedly in the autumn of 1621. Gondomar had asked for its recall in the spring, saying that it had done no good and had only made a shameful agreement with the pirates. This induced the king to tell the merchants interested in the private ships that if they would keep their ships at sea another six months he would keep the royal ships out also, but if not he would summon them all home. They answered that they would willingly make the provision if they were paid their outstanding debts. That proved too difficult a matter in the state of the finances, and so nothing definite was done (No. 43). In June a pinnace arrived from the fleet with news of a highly unsatisfactory character. They were very short of provisions and money and on that account the men complained and were half mutinous. Some had deserted to the pirates and many had died of sickness. Many of the ships were in a wretched condition, and one of the royal ones practically unmanageable (No. 69). This despatch must have been sent off shortly before the attempt on Algiers, made on the 20th May, and possibly helps to account for the failure of that enterprise. It doubtless led to the issue of the order for the fleet to return home which followed soon after. All parties worked for this end; the French and Spanish ambassadors advocated it because the presence of an English fleet in the Mediterranean made them nervous of what it might do if James should suddenly be induced to take up a resolute policy, while the national party wished to have it home so that it might be put in a thorough state of repair and be ready for any emergency that might occur (No. 102). Gondomar artfully suggested that it would be useful to keep the home waters clear and secure free intercourse with Flanders, hoping in this way to bring about a quarrel with the Dutch (No. 130). Conflicting rumours reached England about the success or failure of the fleet, but with its arrival all doubts were set at rest. The total of their achievement was the capture of two pirate ships. The merchants felt that they had thrown away their money for nothing. The sailors complained that they had been very ill treated on the coasts of Spain when in need. They clamoured for 10,000l. due to them for arrears of pay, and James was obliged to send to Amsterdam to get his jewels pawned to satisfy them. In its ostensible mission the fleet had failed utterly. In the interests of diplomacy it had served alternately as a menace to Spain, France and the Dutch, but in the opinion of Lando it had chiefly served to protect the coasts of Spain against the Dutch, who had to respect this force or else face an open rupture with England (No. 288).
The pirates, instead of being cowed, only seemed to grow more bold. The fleet had hardly been back a month when they created general consternation by the capture of fifty Scottish trading and fishing ships, with some 2,000 men (No. 205), and this was speedily followed by other depredations. The Dutch met the difficulty by making a treaty with the pirates. In England such a course was rejected as dishonourable, and the merchants petitioned that another fleet might be sent (Nos. 233, 480). The wives of the men taken prisoners by the Turks made a pitiful appeal to Charles, but in the end nothing was done. The matter came before the Council and they got as far as proposing that Mansell should command the royal ships and Mainwaring the merchantmen, but the merchants hung back from fear that the ships would not be employed as they wished, and without their co-operation nothing could be done (No. 493).
In spite of the reforms introduced by the commission of 1618 the navy was in a very unsatisfactory condition. The two ships a year had been regularly built as provided, but owing to appointments in the navy being by favour instead of by merit, they suffered from neglect. Some show of activity was made in the summer of 1622, but when a Spanish fleet was sighted off the Channel a few months later the country was in a dangerous state of unpreparedness. There was not enough gunpowder in the forts to fire a single arquebus, and although there were about thirty very large ships furnished at every point, they languished idly at Rochester without any sailors to give them life (No. 634). Vere's squadron of seven ships, sent to intercept the Dutch East Indiamen, was in such a bad condition that it could not risk a conflict (No. 342). The most serious factor in the situation was the decline of seamanship, due to the policy adopted by James, so that sailors had become very scarce (No. 819). In the old days, says Lando, men were even invited to sell their patrimony to buy ships. Now they take to other occupations and bring up their sons to other employments (No. 603, pages 433, 434).
There is no space left to refer in detail to various other matters of interest, although the references may easily be found in the index. Some alarm was caused by a report that the pope was inciting France against England (Nos. 173, 193), and later there was a more elaborate plan of a general league of the Catholic powers against the heretics (Nos. 265, 331, 358, 832). We hear of some Spanish intrigues against Venice and a faint echo of the Bedmar conspiracy (No. 164). James granted levies to the Spaniards of sailors as well as soldiers, although the spirit of the nation prevented the harm that might have resulted from such a course. The general discontent led to the first appearance of satires against the king and Buckingham, but no revolt occurred worse than the cloth riots, due to economic not political causes and easily appeased. The suspicion that James poisoned Prince Henry persisted, and even the Venetian ambassadors attribute the behaviour of Charles to the fear of a similar fate (No. 677). A man named Coppinger brought a specific charge against the king and Somerset of having committed this crime (No. 738). The return of the Archbishop of Spalato to the fold of the Catholic Church created considerable feeling in England. The prelate does not appear here to so much advantage as in Gardiner's History. There are some interesting items in connection with trade. The perennial question of the currant trade in the Levant naturally recurs. Parliament contained a strong party opposed to the privileged companies, and the grocers presented a petition to the king against the Levant Company (No. 26). The losses to the pirates made the English merchants hesitate whether they should withdraw altogether from Constantinople (No. 480), but with the new reign there the trade with that mart became more flourishing than it had ever been (No. 561).