Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 18, 1623-1625. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1912.
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THE present volume extends from the beginning of May, 1623, to the 5th of April, 1625, the date of the death of James the First, and thus completes the reign of that monarch, to which nine volumes of this Calendar are devoted. The material from which this volume is composed calls for no special notice. It is all drawn from the state archives at the Frari, Venice. The contemporary copies from the registers of Valaresso and Padavin have been described in the Preface to the preceding volume. The despatches from the Bailo at Constantinople for the earlier part of 1623 and those of the Capitano della Guardia of Crete for the whole period are missing. The rubrics which help to supply the gap in the Constantinople despatches apparently do not exist between the dates July 8 and November 11, 1623. Fortunately the complete series of despatches from Constantinople is available from September, 1623, onwards, although the earlier papers have suffered greatly from the damp.
The previous volume left Charles at the Court of Madrid, in the midst of his love-making. The present volume continues the story and gives the sequel. The whole episode of the sojourn at Madrid has been worked out very fully by Prof. Gardiner in chapters 43–45 of his History of England, where he has made considerable use of the despatches of the Venetian ambassadors, Valaresso and Cornaro. The material presented here naturally enters into greater detail, much of which is significant, and as the views expressed by the Venetian ambassadors are not always those adopted by Prof. Gardiner, their statement will be set forth here with some completeness, with special emphasis on the points where they differ from the modern historian. As impartial observers who wrote down events and current opinions from day to day, their evidence must possess a much greater value than that of those who wrote some time later, often with some object to serve.
The journey to Spain had been undertaken with a light heart in order to force the hand of the Spaniards and bring about the marriage in a month, (fn. 1) so that James might not become a laughing-stock to the world by everything falling through after such prolonged negotiations (No. 3). The presence of the Queen of Bohemia in Holland was considered sufficient protection for both James in England and Charles in Spain against any evil designs which the Spaniards might have on the persons of either (Nos. 11, 13). James declared that if the Spaniards broke their promises he would send for his daughter and grandchildren to England (No. 33), and in May a rumour got abroad that the princess was actually in England incognita (No. 26).
James grievously underestimated the capacity of the Spaniards for evasion and delay. With the parties concerned all aiming at cross purposes and for the most part trying to deceive each other, it is extremely difficult to unravel all the threads of this tangled business. It is important as a general guide to bear in mind what objects each of the parties hoped to serve by the negotiations and the conclusion of the marriage. The Spaniards had begun the negotiations many years before merely in order to thwart a proposed French match for Charles. They were deeply impressed with the necessity of preventing England from joining their enemies by all the means in their power. Nevertheless, they did not desire a matrimonial alliance with England, and at best looked upon it as a last expedient, to be resorted to only when everything else had failed. The conviction that James would do anything rather than make war on them rendered the adoption of this expedient by them extremely unlikely. At the same time they did not wish to incense James unnecessarily or to offend the prince if they could help it, as the English people were only too ready to fly at their throats once their rulers gave the lead, and, indeed, might even force their rulers to action.
The pope cherished the delusive belief that the marriage could be worked to bring about the conversion of England. The belief was firmly held at Rome that the Protestantism of England was the sole work of Henry VIII, and that a Catholic sovereign would bring that docile people back again to the true fold. Gregory thought that there was a good chance of converting Charles, and even failing that, that arrangements could be made to ensure the offspring of the match being Catholics, so that the faith of the future ruler of England might be secured. In the meantime, by means of the marriage articles, relief could be obtained for the English Catholics from the operation of the penal laws.
James hoped that the marriage would provide a cheap way of recovering the Palatinate without trouble, while the dowry would help to relieve the distressing lightness of his money bags. He was also moved by two other contradictory motives, the glamour of a Spanish alliance, and the fear of assassination, which was not altogether idle, considering the fate of William of Orange and Henry IV of France.
The obvious policy of the Spaniards was to spin out the negotiations as long as ever they could without ever coming to a definite decision on any point. They had carried out this policy successfully for ten years, and although the presence of Charles at Madrid was intended to prevent it, they were able to continue the comedy for some months longer. They relied chiefly on the pope to raise difficulties and create delays over the dispensation (No. 14), and this, with the question of the fulfilment of the promises made about the Catholics, would allow them to go on as long as they pleased (No. 35). At Vienna many thought that the Spaniards would encourage the hopes of James and contrive to let the prince depart satisfied, even without his bride, by promising to send the Infanta to Brussels until the difficulties were settled, and that in the meantime they would pursue their own plans and finally give the Infanta to the emperor's son (No. 98). The Spaniards undoubtedly thoroughly disliked the idea of the match, and as the year advanced the opinion grew stronger that the marriage could only take place upon impossible conditions, that Charles should become a Catholic and that fortified places in England should be given to the English Romanists (No. 95).
It must be said that Rome did not play up to the Spanish policy. The pope clung to the idea of compassing the conversion of England through this alliance, eventually, if not immediately. He did not wish to prejudice the position of the English Catholics by appearing to raise difficulties, and he somewhat disconcerted the Spaniards by granting the dispensation before they altogether desired it (No. 84). Massimi, the papal nuncio in Spain, had instructions to get all that he could, but not to imperil the marriage (No. 38). He put a liberal interpretation upon this and, relying upon Charles's love for the Infanta and the advantage to be derived from the prince's presence at Madrid, he attempted to drive a hard bargain. He declared that the prince must become a Catholic or have Catholicism preached throughout his dominions, or he must allow complete liberty of conscience throughout his dominions with security for its maintenance. He remarked that if he had demanded a great deal more before the prince arrived, he wanted much more now he was there (No. 5). He even went so far as to forge letters ostensibly from Cardinal Ludovisio, making alterations in the demands insisted upon by the Congregation of Cardinals for the dispensation, representing to Olivares, who knew of it all, that since the marriage was avowedly for the benefit of the faith, it was necessary to get all the advantages possible (No. 78).
It is not easy to say how much Charles was governed by a real love for the Infanta and how much his behaviour was mere dissimulation in his desire to extract himself from a difficult and possibly dangerous situation. He certainly succeeded in creating the impression at Madrid that he was deeply in love and that his conversion was extremely probable. It seems hardly likely that Charles should be desperately in love with a lady he was scarcely allowed to see. He made the most desperate efforts to get glimpses of his destined bride, but with very indifferent success. The princess was much too hedged about for any lover-like intercourse. At the interview at Easter, which proved such a fiasco, (fn. 2) the Spaniards prescribed to the prince the very words he should use when he paid his respects (No. 29). Even when the treaty was announced as arranged he was only allowed to meet her at the public comedies, which she had not attended before (No. 104), and not then unless she was attended by the queen (No. 128). When Charles wrote home in August that he was so bound by love that he could not tear himself away, Valaresso expressed the belief that it was merely an excuse to cover his previous behaviour (No. 136).
In the matter of conversion, Father Zaccaria di Saluzzo, the Capuchin friar, who had been told off to convince the prince and meet his doubts, was very hopeful if only Buckingham and "the other devils" could be got out of the way (No. 34), and Charles himself told the nuncio that after the marriage he would hearken readily to the representations made to him about religion, but he could not do so at the time for various respects (No. 48). All this was mere subterfuge on the part of Charles, whose Protestantism remained as firmly rooted as ever. The gruesome spectacle of the flagellants in Holy week, intended to impress him, only increased his horror of the Catholic rites (No. 11). He wrote home to the Marquis of Hamilton that although the Spanish journey might seem strange to many, it should never lead to any action that would cause honest men to blush for him (No. 42).
In England, James apparently desired the match as much as ever, and having committed himself thus far there seemed to be no limits to the lengths he was prepared to go. He is said to have told some Spaniards, who asked him, that he proposed to renounce every friendship with those hostile or ill-affected towards them (No. 35).
With the prolongation of the prince's stay and the absence of any news of a settlement and often, for long periods, of any news at all, James's jaunty expectation of forcing the Spaniards to a speedy settlement gave place to a deep anxiety as to whether he should ever see his son and favourite again. He kept the whole business in his own hands, writing and receiving all the letters himself and communicating them to no one soever. On one occasion he opened all the letters that arrived and burned many addressed to private individuals No. 35). One of the leading members of the Council asked the Venetian ambassador earnestly for news, as he was as much in the dark as the common people (No. 42). In public James affected to make believe that all was well, and that he was expecting the immediate return of the prince with his bride. He chid Rutland for not being ready to sail as the prince might have embarked before the squadron arrived, although his latest news from Spain, then a fortnight old, was that nothing had been settled (No. 51). Nevertheless James could not conceal his inward perturbation. He was melancholy and irritable; he called himself desperate and damned, though when Pembroke tried to console him he only got snubbed for his pains. Valaresso was of opinion that the king would not survive any calamitous event, either from his own agitation or some external accident (No. 35).
The situation of Charles and his companions in Spain was no pleasant one, and it was not long before the folly of the step to which they were committed was brought home to them. They soon found that the prince's presence had no effect in hastening matters. The Spaniards were as fertile as ever in finding excuses for delay. They carried on their own proceedings as if the prince had not been there. The Junta for the marriage met frequently, but none of its proceedings was communicated to the English (No. 29).
It was Buckingham who first began to chafe at the humiliating position in which he and his master found themselves. He perceived that the Spaniards were playing with them, and was filled with disgust and indignation. At first he concealed his feelings and fathered his sharp sayings against the Spaniards on Archie the jester, who was one of the English company (No. 34). Perhaps one of these was the remark that the marriage would never be settled unless they showed their teeth to the Spaniards (No. 93).
But Buckingham was not one to conceal his thoughts for long. Olivares openly accused him of being an enemy to the match, and relations between the two became so strained that for some days they would not speak to each other (No. 55). Buckingham began to insist that the prince ought not to remain any longer away from his father, and to agitate for a return (No. 38). When, early in June, the Junta of divines, especially appointed, decided that the Infanta must be detained for a year, so that they might see how the promises on behalf of the Catholics were carried out, Buckingham broke into a violent rage, declaring that it was all a plot to mock and betray them (No. 54). He seems, at this time, to have quite made up his mind to return, and he wrote to that effect to the Marquis of Hamilton (No. 93).
It is at this point that the behaviour of Charles becomes ambiguous. At first he seemed to share to the full Buckingham's indignation against the tricks of the Spaniards. At a comparatively early stage the Earl of Carlisle told Valaresso that if God willed the prince to return, whatever happened, he would not return a Spaniard. He vowed that he would not agree to the new conditions demanded by the Spaniards, even if his father accepted them (No. 68). He drew up a statement declaring that he could not leave without taking the Infanta with him as his bride (No. 78). But when Olivares told him that they must abide by the decision of the Junta of divines and withold the Infanta until the promises on behalf of the Catholics were being carried out, Charles suddenly gave way, declaring that he would waive his character as a prince and act as a simple gentleman in love, doing all that was required of him (No. 89).
Charles acted thus entirely on his own responsibility, and contrary to the expectation of all the English, who considered that the negotiations were broken off. It evidently filled the English with dismay and even consternation (No. 95). The Spaniards were hardly better pleased. The prince had come uninvited, and his visit was far from welcome. He was accompanied by a swarm of followers, whose behaviour was unruly and licentious, and who even threatened to sow the seeds of heresy in the dominions of the Catholic king (No. 29). Moreover, the cost was very heavy to the impoverished state, and fresh arrivals were constantly adding to the expenditure (No. 56). The Prince of England, wrote one, has sacked Madrid without an army and produced an extreme scarcity of everything there; only copper money was to be seen in Spain, all the silver being exhausted (No. 63). The English were made to feel that they were unwelcome, and their treatment became constantly worse (Nos, 75, 160), so that they complained both of their entertainment and their food (No. 128). Even Charles did not escape; he had but few visits and few pastimes and but rarely saw the Infanta (No. 75). Charles was made to feel that if he stayed on until the time came for giving him the Infanta, as he seemed inclined to do, he would give offence; and he further learned that if he did not leave, the marriage would not take place so soon, and even if it did, he would have no greater opportunities of familiarity with his bride (No. 104).
In spite of this Charles seemed determined to stay on, owing to his suspicions that the Spaniards meant to deceive him about the Infanta (No. 114). The comedy of the persistent guest and the unwilling host was not unduly prolonged. When Charles went to tell the king that he had heard from his father, who expressed his exceeding desire that he should leave as soon as possible, and tried to move Philip to consent to the marriage and its consummation, the king merely expressed his pleasure at what the prince told him, but said nothing more, except that he hoped his Highness would receive every satisfaction. He never uttered a syllable to indicate whether he would like Charles to stay or to leave, although the prince repeated that he was doubtful about what he ought to do, as it would grieve him greatly to leave the Infanta, while his father would not approve, and, on the other hand, he feared some mischance might befall his father when he remained so long away from him (No. 128). Charles did not take this plain hint, although others noticed it as an indication that the king wished him to go. Not long after, seeing that Charles had apparently no intention of moving, Gondomar was sent to complain to him of the licentious behaviour of some of the members of his household, and urged him, if he intended to remain until April, to reduce his train and only keep Catholics with him. Though somewhat staggered by this, Charles still made no sign, and even sent to ask permission to present in person some valuable jewels to the Infanta and kiss her hand. The king received the offer politely, but said that the prince had better keep the presents until the marriage was fully completed. Stung by this slight, Charles wrathfully told Olivares that he had received news of his father's ill-health and of some disturbance among the people at his absence, and he would therefore have to leave without delay. The Spaniards promptly seized upon this opportunity to force Charles to go, and gave him no chance of drawing back. Accordingly they made him a rich present and told him that the king understood that he had made up his mind to go, praising his resolve not to imperil his grave interests at home, and remarking that his presence with his father would better establish and accelerate their agreement (No. 147). In this fashion Charles was hustled out of Madrid on the 9th of September, much against his will.
Although Charles was filled with indignation at the way in which he had been treated, and by no means trusted the Spaniards, he does not seem to have made up his mind at once to a complete breach with them. He at least kept up appearances. On his way to the coast, out of respect to the Infanta, he visited a nun named Luisa, in high repute for her sanctity and supernatural powers. In his presence she rose from the ground and stood a while in ecstasy. She then told the prince that she knew he was well disposed towards the Catholic faith, and he ought not to spurn the Divine guidance that had been vouchsafed to him out of mere earthly considerations, because the dangers he thought of would disappear and not cause the prejudice that he feared and which was falsely represented to him. Charles replied that he only prayed for light, and as a result of the interview the people were convinced that the prince would soon become a Catholic and that only Buckingham prevented him from taking the decisive step (No. 171). The Spaniards who accompanied Charles on his journey all agreed in reporting that he publicly professed an extreme love for the Infanta, and though he frequently complained of not being allowed to take her with him, he declared that he would remain constant for a conclusion. He confided to Gondomar that he foresaw that various means would be employed to prevent the completion of the marriage, and therefore, for safety's sake, they ought to hurry it on in Spain, in order to frustrate all hostile offices and attempts that might be made with the king his father, a remark recognised by Gondomar as an allusion to Buckingham (No. 187).
As soon as Charles reached home he wrote the most affectionate letters to Philip, describing his arrival and reception in London; with others to the Infanta, promising sincerely and fully to carry out her commands to protect the Catholics. The King of Spain was greatly relieved to see that his somewhat unceremonious dismissal of the prince had apparently done no harm. Everything went forward as if the completion of the marriage was only the affair of a few weeks. They began to set up a column in the Escurial, where the king and prince parted, with an inscription summarising the things agreed to and the promises sworn. The Infanta set herself assiduously to learn English, and they promised that she should receive frequent visits from the English ambassadors, who would present letters from the prince. The Infanta seemed more disposed to the marriage and frequently remarked that she hoped either greatly to assist the Catholic faith or to quit her life gloriously for it. Olivares set himself energetically to work once more to smoothe away all difficulties and effect the match, while the Duke of Pastrana, the Spanish ambassador at Rome, was rebuked for his dilatoriness in forwarding the business at Rome (Nos. 187, 201). It was reported in Spain at the beginning of December that the new pope had confirmed the dispensation; the ambassadors were summoned and informed, and the Infanta also was told a while later, and seemed pleased at the news. Olivares pushed forward the preparations for an early celebration of the ceremony (No. 212).
In spite of appearances it cannot be said that the Spaniards were altogether easy in their minds. They knew that Buckingham had gone away their bitter enemy, and much depended upon the influence he might exert over the prince. From the first the duke and Bristol had been on opposite sides. When Buckingham arrived in Spain he took over the whole of the negotiations into his own hands, and the man who had been sent for this very business was entirely excluded (No. 11). But after Buckingham had quarrelled with Olivares, Charles seemed to turn away from him, rebuked him for his harshness and entrusted the conduct of the negotiations to Digby (No. 71). Attempts were made in England to discredit Buckingham with James, because he showed too little respect to the prince (No. 93), and Charles was himself said to have written home against the favourite and to have slighted him frequently (No. 128). In the disputes between Buckingham and Bristol, Charles sided with the latter (No. 149). When the prince finally set out from Madrid, Bristol was left with full powers to complete the business and espouse the Infanta in the prince's name (No. 152). It is especially noteworthy that the Spaniards were astonished to hear of the graciousness shown by Charles to Buckingham after their return, as they expected the reverse (No. 258).
At the moment when Charles left Madrid it certainly looked on the surface as if Bristol was the one who had the prince's confidence and as if Charles meant to go through with the match. That things were not precisely as they seemed was shown by the fact that the prince left Bristol uncertain as to the real wishes of himself and his father and apprehensive of what Buckingham might say and do (No. 168). His apprehensions certainly were not removed by the letter he received soon after from Charles, forbidding him to use the proxy which had been left for the match (No. 217). Charles did not behave like one who intended to become the brother-in-law of the King of Spain. When he reached the coast he went straight on board ship, and though detained a fortnight in port by contrary winds, he never went on shore again. His letters to his sister, written while he was waiting there, betray his disgust with the Spaniards and his desire for revenge (No. 172). Although his escapade had proved a complete failure, he probably felt relief at having come safely through a dangerous adventure. The Spaniards are not good falconers, he observed after his return, they should have held the bird when it was in their hand, and a bird that has once been caged does not return a second time (No. 678).
Yet in spite of his very unambiguous feelings towards the Spaniards, Charles did not at first see his way clear. Although received on his return with a frantic outburst of loyalty and affection, he maintained a studied reserve. While those who had been with him in Spain were loud in their abuse of the Spaniards, exciting an increasing indignation in the country against the hereditary enemy, dead silence was observed at Court about the marriage (No. 180). Charles knew how much James was set on the match, and he was still exceedingly afraid of his father (No. 678). He ventured on no liberties with the king, and even continued to speak in praise of the Infanta (No. 189). The Venetian ambassador did not know whether to attribute his conduct to dissimulation or to stupidity (No. 207). A show of friendly relations with Spain was still kept up, though there was a marked change of tone. Couriers followed one another to Madrid in quick succession. By the first Charles sent letters expressing his resentment at the withholding of the Infanta and declaring that it was futile to talk of the marriage before the Palatinate was restored. James also wrote telling the Spaniards that parliament had been summoned, but that it should make no difference to the marriage, a thinly veiled menace.
The Spaniards soon began to perceive the fallaciousness of their hopes that Charles had not taken offence and that no harm had been done. Although when Charles was at Madrid they seemed ready to chance everything to get rid of him, yet they could not contemplate the risk of a war with England without serious misgivings. In moments of exaltation they might affect to despise England as unwarlike, poor and disunited under a timid king and an inexperienced prince, and call the threat of war a revolt of mice against cats (No. 333), but they knew what mischief English sea power could do them, while the insecurity of their treasure fleets meant much misery, and their loss the bankruptcy of the state. Really they feared the English more than the Dutch or pirates (No. 819), and the news of the preparation of an English fleet filled them with dread (No. 869). The Ambassador Hinojosa once remarked that if his king had peace with England he would not mind war with the rest of the world (No. 202).
The Spanish ambassadors in England were filled with dismay when they heard that Charles was returning. They refused at first to credit it, declaring that their king would never allow the prince to leave dissatisfied (No. 153). They even issued a report that he had changed his mind and had decided to stay, moved apparently by fear for their personal safety (No. 160). Such action was at least childish, as the prince's arrival speedily gave them the lie. They soon felt the changed state of affairs in an increased difficulty of access to the king, while the latest arrival, Don Diego Mendoza, could not even obtain an audience, on the plea that James was indisposed (No. 197).
Everything seemed to depend upon Buckingham. The favourite's position was indeed a most critical one. If the king acted according to his inclinations and Charles submitted to him, then the duke was a lost man (No. 241). Men were eagerly on the watch to note any sign that the king's affection for him was on the wane. But Buckingham never lacked courage, and relying on his ascendancy over Charles and his favour with James, he determined to push matters on to an open breach with Spain.
The Spanish ministers at first tried to mollify the duke and buy him over. Finding this unavailing, they determined to do all in their power to ruin him. Adopting the Gondomar vein, Hinojosa told the king that the favour of Buckingham was incompatible with friendship with Spain (No. 219). In March, 1624, the Spanish ambassadors went to the king to take exception to the manner of Buckingham's relation to parliament, declaring that if any Spanish grandee had similarly attacked the honour of the King of Great Britain his head would have paid the penalty (No. 299). Finding this of no avail, they ventured, in May, to present a long paper to the king practically accusing the duke of treason in conspiring to deprive the king of his throne (No. 496), an accusation that incidentally involved the prince and parliament also. As Buckingham was able to vindicate his innocence, this violent proceeding merely reacted upon its authors, who were thoroughly discredited from that moment.
In the meantime Charles was coming more and more to the front. It was obvious from the first moment of his return that there was a close alliance between him and Buckingham. After a month or two of reserve the prince began to show less respect for the king and to speak with more freedom against Spain (No. 219). He was determined that the Spaniards should not play with him any more, and it was even surmised that he was the prime mover and not Buckingham (No. 225). At the end of the year 1623 Valaresso could write that he was marching straight towards a breach with Spain and was quite determined (No. 228).
He and Buckingham had a difficult task in bringing the king to agree to what they desired. James was most averse from an open rupture with Spain and very anxious to keep the peace. The two young men kept up a most vigilant watch upon the king, as if he was in a state of siege. They kept away from him all those whom they considered suspect, knowing that he was as willing to be deceived by the Spaniards as the Spaniards were to deceive him (No. 253). James was helpless to resist vigorous handling. He would like to have turned to his beloved negotiations; he did not wish to act as his son and favourite desired; but after protests and even tears, he gave way in the end (No. 225). The chief danger was that the Spaniards or the Spanish party would elude this vigilant watch and regain the king's ear and their influence. Upon one occasion Charles broke out, threatening those who participated in the evil counsels of his father (No. 216). His wrath blazed out against Bristol in particular, whose very life he threatened (No. 228).
The Spaniards persisted in their attempts to beguile James by negotiations. Those who dreaded the power of England deeply regretted the course that events had taken. Gondomar, with his usual humour, remarked that the Junta about the marriage were like physicians of the provinces, who bleed the patient until he dies, as by demanding provision against every eventuality while the prince was in Spain, they bled too freely and ran the risk of losing everything (No. 223). The Spanish desire for the marriage seemed to increase as the English drew back. In February, 1624, they offered to send the Infanta in March and to surrender the Lower Palatinate in August, making urgent representations to the emperor for the surrender of the remainder. They touched upon a marriage between the Palatine's son and the emperor's daughter, apparently agreeing that both the young people should reside in England (No. 260). Towards the end of March they despatched the friar, Lafuente, to England with the object of preventing a breach at all costs (No. 315). In England men said jestingly that he had come to give extreme unction to the moribund negotiations, and many supposed that when he said he had been robbed of his papers on the way, his story was merely an invention to screen himself, because he perceived the hopeless nature of his task (No. 333).
Almost at the moment of Lafuente's arrival the despatch was written breaking off the treaties, and so the long farce was brought formally to an end. At the same time Bristol received peremptory orders to return to England. He was recognised as the chief exponent of the policy of the Spanish match, and it was fully expected in England that he would be made the scapegoat of the failure of the prince's escapade (No. 377). Bristol's position was that the Spanish alliance was necessary to England and that Charles was bound in honour to fulfil his promises to espouse the Infanta. He maintained that the marriage would have taken place if the prince had not gone to Spain and if Buckingham had not precipitated the business (No. 341). He considered that in England their actions were too much under the influence of excitement and subject to unforeseen accidents. The marriage negotiations were still on foot, and he believed that they would ultimately be obliged to complete them. He received munificent offers if he liked to remain in Spain, but he declared he would rather risk his life than allow any doubt to rest upon the sincerity of his actions. His scruples, however, did not prevent him from accepting valuable presents in plate and jewels from the king's own hands. He returned home with many misgivings, because of the prince and favourite, but he relied upon parliament to uphold his innocence and to enable him to justify his conduct (No. 341). He arrived home in the middle of May, and was promptly ordered to remain confined to his house. No further steps were taken against him. It was supposed that his affairs could not be touched without bringing to light things better kept concealed, concerning Buckingham as well as the king. He brought back with him crown jewels of great value, and this was considered an argument that he considered all would be well with him (No. 388).
With the meeting of parliament at the beginning of 1624 the control of affairs slipped more and more out of the hands of James, and Charles and Buckingham took the lead. In all the steps they took in order to force on a war with Spain they had to drag the unwilling king after them. He followed with the utmost reluctance, and ever and anon made efforts to check the pace and even to reverse the direction. He bitterly resented feeling himself deprived of the sceptre, and the thought of this incensed him against Charles and Buckingham. He had not the energy or character to resist them single handed, but he would have welcomed anything that discredited or even ruined them. When he told them of the charges brought by the Spanish ambassadors, to which they practically forced him, he wept copiously, as if he believed the truth of the accusation and wanted to excite their compassion and so secure himself against their plots. He told Charles, possibly to sound him, that he would leave him to do everything, while he himself just lived on. He was a poor old man, who once knew how to rule, but now knew nothing about it (No. 388). The prince had attained to a position of great authority and many of the leading men would have liked to see him with the control of affairs, taking the government out of the king's hands by degrees and leaving him to his pleasures (No. 400).
This is what actually occurred in great measure, in spite of James's efforts at resistance. The war party was therefore able to push forward its projects, and they did so with the greater hopes of success because Buckingham had come back profoundly impressed with the inherent weakness of Spain (No. 241). Their chief plan was to raise a considerable force and place it under the command of the Count of Mansfelt for the recovery of the Palatinate. They also considered designs for co-operating with France and Savoy to seize Genoa, (fn. 3) and also for the collection of a large fleet for an attack on Spain itself. In connection with the last project it is interesting to note that the talk was not of a mere raid on the Spanish coast, with designs on the treasure fleet, as of yore, but the seizure and permanent occupation of Cadiz (No. 397). This idea had the approval of Mansfelt, who was probably the chief military adviser of Charles and Buckingham.
The question of the employment of Mansfelt rested largely with France, without whose co-operation England could not undertake extensive operations on land. They were reluctant to enter upon a war with Spain, unless France would take an equal share (No. 607). James was very reluctant to make war under any conditions. Although he permitted the raising of levies to serve under Mansfelt, he so restricted his operations as to render the employment of the count almost useless. Against war with Spain James resolutely set his face. So late as August, 1624, he refused to recall his ambassador, Aston (No. 548).
However, despite all his efforts, James was swept along by the impetuous young men who held the reins of government. He was induced to enlarge the commission to Mansfelt, and in January Aston was recalled (No. 787), though he left on the pretext that he was going home on private affairs (No. 819). In France, indeed, Carlisle stated that Aston was returning to England at the request of the Spaniards themselves, who wished to use him in England in favour of their interests (No. 878). Aston was an advocate of the Spanish match, but he returned at an unfavourable moment for pressing it, indeed his attitude towards it endangered his own fortunes at home, where the prince and Buckingham were much incensed against him (No. 678). When he passed through Paris, Carlisle warned him that he would ruin himself if he spoke in favour of the Spaniards (No. 878). Matters had already gone so far that some forty Hamburg ships, conveying munitions for the Spanish Brazil fleet, had been arrested in the Downs. The Venetian ambassador considered this as the boldest act that James had ever committed. At the same time the Council announced that letters of marque would be issued to all who had suffered hurt from the subjects of the Infanta, and who could not obtain redress (No. 793). It is true that James's courage could not for long be maintained at so high a pitch, and that despite all the efforts of Buckingham he was induced to release the ships upon the remonstrances of the agents, Bruneau and Van Male (No. 818). About the letters of marque the king showed rather more firmness, though still leaving the impression that he would finally give way (No. 827).
Although the treaties with Spain were definitely broken off in April, 1624, the Spaniards kept up hope all through the summer that negotiations would be resumed. Aston, seconded by his master, refused to admit that the negotiations were at an end (No. 570). Of the attitude of Olivares to the match these papers give a very different impression from that which is propounded by Prof. Gardiner and which is generally accepted. Stated briefly this is that while Olivares outwardly professed to wish for the marriage, he so arranged things that it would not be possible except upon terms that England would never accept. This view seems to rest chiefly on the authority of Count Khevenhuller, the imperial ambassador at Madrid, who reports that when Charles accepted the terms finally submitted to him, Olivares exclaimed: Is it possible? I should as soon have expected my death. (fn. 4) Cornaro, the Venetian ambassador at Madrid, considered Olivares as the prime author of the marriage and is perfectly certain that he desired its effectuation (No. 223). It is possible that Olivares set about deliberately to deceive Khevenhuller, though, if that was the case, he does not appear to have succeeded, for while Prof. Gardiner thinks that the granting of the dispensation by the pope was a blow to Olivares' policy, (fn. 5) Khevenhuller believed that the count had induced the pope to grant it, and was using every effort to persuade the Infanta to accept the match (No. 114). In Spain the marriage was considered as chiefly the work of Olivares (No. 128). Just before his recall Aston told Cornaro that the Spaniards always meant to deceive about the marriage with the exception of Olivares and some of his dependants (No. 440). When Charles and Buckingham had made up their minds to depart, Olivares was very depressed at the breakdown of the negotiations, obviously fearing that it would injure his credit, and he went about seeking opportunities to declare that he only thought of the marriage with England for the service of his sovereign, but if they thought better of it he would rejoice exceedingly, as he only valued the interest of the king and the satisfaction of the Infanta (No. 147). Nevertheless, he did not give up hope, and to the very end of the year 1623 he persisted in his efforts to bring the match to a successful completion, using all his efforts to obtain the Infanta's joyful consent (No. 187). He seemed determined to carry the affair through at all costs, overcoming every difficulty (No. 201). It is true that at the beginning of 1624 the count's zeal for the match seemed to have cooled somewhat, and he remarked that if it fell through his master might rejoice (No. 258), but it soon became apparent that he was eager to take up the negotiations again (No. 414). When Aston communicated to him the breaking of the treaties he could not conceal his extreme trouble (No. 440).
After everything else had failed, one last expedient remained to the Spaniards to avert the dreaded war with England. Towards the end of 1624 it was announced that Gondomar was coming on a fresh mission to London. The Spaniards hoped that by his influence over James he would check the career of Charles and Buckingham. The report certainly caused much alarm to the war party in England, as it correspondingly raised the hopes of the Spanish faction. James was only too ready to listen to the blandishments of Spain even behind the backs of his son and favourite, and to return to his vomit of negotiation (No. 678). But Gondomar himself did not relish the appointment, as he did not wish to risk his reputation in a hopeless mission. When the Venetian ambassador Moro asked him when he was leaving, Gondomar whispered in his ear with mock confidence: I am going to England to beg the king there to agree to our sending to Ireland the fleet we are preparing here for Brazil, and your Excellency may write to Venice asking them not to object if we send it to the Adriatic (No. 700). Being in this state of mind Gondomar showed no alacrity in making his preparations. He seems to go like a snake to the charm, wrote Moro in December (No. 715). When the Council of State directed him to leave for England at the earliest opportunity, he declared that he would rather go to prison (No. 720), and when Olivares urged him to start, Gondomar refused to move, though he made a show of doing so (No. 793). However, as a subject, Gondomar was bound to obey eventually, and his sovereign seems to have bribed him by promising him the governorship of Galicia on his return. He decided to proceed with caution, and to send some one over first to feel the way (No. 819). For this purpose he selected a gentleman of his own, an Englishman named Tailor, who took letters from him to Buckingham. In these Gondomar said he was coming for the peace of Christendom and for the restitution of the Palatinate; to kiss the hands of the king, prince and duke as a native Englishman, to confirm the sincerity of his operations. For other differences he said jestingly that he was prepared to settle them by combat in the gallery of the Thames.
Buckingham expressed his astonishment at Gondomar coming, and said he was very daring to undertake the journey; he relied too much on English credulity, after having deceived so many times, and he would not be believed any more. The duke was for refusing a passport (No. 853). Gondomar also wrote letters to the king, prince and all the Lords of the Council, and Tailor seems to have had no difficulty in obtaining a passport from James, despite the opposition of Buckingham (No. 863). He took back to Gondomar the answers of James, Charles and Buckingham, and Lewkenor, the Master of the Ceremonies, professed to have orders to prepare quarters for the reception of the coming ambassador (No. 869).
What might have happened can only be matter for surmise. Gondomar might easily have provided the support that James needed to enable him to resist Buckingham and stay himself from being hurried into war against his will. The Spaniards had every reason for relying upon the king's peaceful disposition. No life could be more useful to them than that of James, who seemed incapable of hurting them (No. 752). But the threatened crisis never matured, before Gondomar had completed his preparations James died unexpectedly, and with him passed away the last glimmer of hope that Gondomar might have had in the success of his mission.
After the failure of the Spanish marriage negotiations an alliance with France seemed the obvious alternative. Such an alliance had been in contemplation for Prince Henry years before, and was taken up for Charles immediately after his brother's death. A marriage between Charles and the Princess Christina of France had been discussed for some years, and in 1615 it had seemed on the point of realisation. The Spaniards, in alarm, had then made overtures on their own account, in order to thwart it, and with complete success. Christina had since become the wife of the Prince of Piedmont, but there remained Henrietta Maria, the youngest daughter of Henry IV, who at the time of the breach with Spain was fourteen years of age. It was necessary to consider a settlement for her, and as, in the spring of 1623, the alliance between England and Spain seemed a foregone conclusion, the French turned their eyes to the Court of Vienna to find a mate for her. The alliance was not one to excite much enthusiasm in France, as it would only tend to strengthen the house of Austria, but in May, 1623, the Venetian ambassador reported that active negotiations were on foot for a marriage between Henrietta and the emperor's son, supported by the Queen Mother, who wished to see her daughter an empress (No. 6). No progress, however, was made with them (No. 45). The only reference to the subject at Vienna was the reflection that if the Spanish Infanta married Charles there would be no one for Prince Ferdinand but the French princess (No. 57).
The return of Charles without his bride relieved what had become a painful situation. An Anglo-Spanish alliance was a bitter pill for the French, who seemed to feel it more acutely than anything else soever that had occurred to their disadvantage (No. 113). The French ambassador, Tillières, was the first of the foreign ministers to go and congratulate Charles on his return (No. 180). As the year drew to its close and it became more and more evident that the Spanish match would never take place, the way seemed open for France.
In England the match had a strong advocate in Buckingham, who had come back determined on a war with Spain, and who required a French alliance for the realisation of his plans. Without such support he felt that he was a ruined man. In France the Queen Mother had expressed her inclination for an English marriage for her daughter even when the Spanish alliance seemed certain (No. 179). When the ground seemed more clear she began to work hard to set negotiations on foot (No. 231). Among other motives for her obvious eagerness she seems to have wished for a safe retreat for herself in case of emergency, as she had only too much experience of the instability of French politics (No. 495). The new pope, Urban VIII, who had succeded Gregory XV in the middle of 1623, was French in sympathy and disposed to favour the alliance (No. 561), so that no difficulty was to be apprehended from that quarter. The pope said that he desired the marriage and the nuncio in France was very indignant with the Duke of Savoy for having represented the contrary (No. 566).
On the other hand, there were numerous difficulties in the way. James obstinately refused to give up the idea of the Spanish match, and was correspondingly opposed to a French one. To Charles he enlarged on the slight benefits and the numerous drawbacks that such an alliance would involve. He said in particular that it would serve to separate the English from the Scots, and thus utterly thwart his original objects and prove most prejudicial to the crown (No. 541). Charles desired the marriage for political reasons, but a portrait of the young princess which the French ambassador gave him does not seem to have created a very favourable impression (No. 450); perhaps he still yearned for the more mature charms of the Infanta, with whom he had professed himself so much in love. There was even some talk of his marrying Maria de Bourbon, Mlle. de Montpensier, a great heiress, instead of the princess, but the French would not hear of this, as they were determined not to allow a foreign prince to acquire the rich revenues and sovereign states in France which would go with the lady's hand (Nos. 232, 459, 481). There was also the active opposition of Spain, which desired nothing less than to see a strong alliance between her two most powerful rivals. A chaplain of Philip, named Matteo Renzi, was sent to France for the purpose of thwarting the match by making various counter proposals (Nos. 268, 387). With the same object, the nuncio, Massimi, in Spain concocted the story that Charles had gone to Spain not only for the Infanta but to offer a league in opposition to the one between France, Venice and Savoy for the Valtelline (No. 440). In England the Spanish faction never ceased from its opposition, and tried to make all the mischief possible (No. 591).
One of the principal stumbling blocks was the question of the English Catholics. Soon after Charles left Spain, Massimi wrote to Corsini, the nuncio in France, that as the Prince of Wales might have gone away in a very discontented frame of mind, he did not believe that France would take up marriage negotiations to the diminution of the service of the Catholic faith. Corsini accordingly asked Puisieux that if they contemplated any such negotiations they would not conclude upon lower terms than Spain had obtained for the Catholic religion (No. 199).
In desiring the alliance the two countries had different aims. The English wanted a complete defensive and offensive alliance directed against Spain, but France did not wish to be dragged into war and wanted the marriage only (No. 524), chiefly in order to prevent a Spanish one. The English did not altogether trust the French, thinking that they wished to drag others into war while keeping at peace themselves, and they wished to unite the affairs of the Palatinate and the Valtelline into one common cause, owing to the fear that if France received satisfaction they would be left to fight alone (No. 303). The claims of the Count of Soissons upon Henrietta's hand constituted an additional difficulty, but one admitting of readier solution (Nos. 199, 259, 410, 446).
Although Charles returned from Spain in September, 1623, nothing definite was done until the turn of the year. About that time it is probable that Buckingham and Carlisle suggested to Tillières that the moment was favourable for offering the French king's sister to the prince. The ambassador replied that he had no instructions on the subject and did not expect to receive any, seeing that the negotiations with the Catholic were so far advanced (No. 258). However, he sent his secretary to France to report the overtures which had been made to him. There was some hesitation at the French Court owing to the suspicion that the proposal was only made in order to irritate the Spaniards, though on the whole it met with a favourable reception (No. 259). At all events, at the very beginning of the year 1624 King Louis decided to send to James a present of falcons, accompanied by huntsmen in livery, a complimentary overture for the purpose of improving their relations. They told Pesaro in France that the English had already made overtures, and the French would have liked Charles to show some courtesies to the princess such as he lavished upon the Infanta (No. 231). The present gave James great delight (No. 253). It was brought over by a gentleman named Bonneveau, who had orders to keep his eyes open and to introduce himself into negotiations (No. 279). He was received with great favour, and this was considered a sign that the marriage was desired in England (No. 282).
Once the start had been made progress became rapid. The Queen Mother sent both a gentleman and a friar to sound Buckingham on the subject (Nos. 253, 282). From England Lord Kensington went over to Paris, ostensibly on a pleasure trip, but really to see how the land lay and to try and induce the French to declare themselves (No. 252). After some delay, Kensington reached Paris at the end of February, and did not lose much time before getting to work. The ministers heard him favourably, and he at once wrote back for instructions (No. 293). He had frequent audiences, and by the middle of March everything seemed to be progressing favourably. The Spaniards took alarm, and their ambassadors in England reminded Tillières of an assurance given by Puisieux that his king would not think of a marriage with England and that they would never disturb but rather assist the one with Spain. Tillières wrote home for instructions, and was told that everything done in Puisieux's time was disapproved, and he was to put off the ambassadors with meaningless compliments (No. 312).
The negotiations were now formally taken up, the Earl of Carlisle being associated with Kensington (soon afterwards created Earl of Holland) in order to arrange a definite marriage treaty. Although Carlisle was appointed early in April, he did not start until the end of May, taking with him a splendid suite, according to his custom. So much delay seemed unnecessary and created a bad impression in France, where they feared that the influence of James and Aston's return from Spain might upset matters (No. 386). The chief reason was probably the prosaic one of lack of funds, as Carlisle had to raise 8,000l. by pawning his goods, though he told Valaresso that he did not wish to start until matters were more settled and until the Spanish imbroglio was out of the way (No. 410).
The negotiations thus begun did not run by any means smoothly. The chief difficulties were that the English wished for a complete alliance with France, and in particular that the French should assist them in supporting Mansfelt; while the French made it a point of honour to obtain as much for the English Catholics as had been conceded to Spain. Neither side entirely trusted the other, for while mischief makers told the French that the English were thicker with the Spaniards than ever, they represented to the English that the French wanted to lead them on and then leave them in the lurch (No. 459). The ambassadors themselves incurred suspicion and dislike. Carlisle was very intimate with the Countess of Tillières, no friend to the match, and was thought to owe his appointment largely to her influence (No. 459). He was supposed to be the sole repository of the king's wishes, and the king did not want the match (No. 541). It was even said that the French cast in the teeth of Carlisle his low birth and of Holland his illegitimacy (No. 477). Matters were not helped by the ambassadors quarrelling among themselves (No. 574). On the other side, Tillières was distrusted by the Queen Mother, who wanted to send over Sir John Seton to keep an eye on him. Tillières was thought to be too much of a Jesuit. He was very stiff about France obtaining as much for the Catholics as Spain. In the matter of Mansfelt, he did the count more harm than good by his ambiguous conduct (No. 380). Valaresso considered the negotiations hopeless in his hands (No. 342), but the French Court kept the business very much in its own hands, and Tillières was excluded from the essentials of the affair (No. 410). He remained absolutely inactive (No. 462), until at the beginning of July he was suddenly recalled (No. 477). He returned home in disgust, feeling that he had been badly used (No. 503). It was confidently expected that he would make mischief in France, representing the marriage as impossible, the king as too Spanish, and that England, being under the thumb of Spain, only meant to deceive the French (No. 507).
In the middle of August the fall of the minister, La Vieuville, threatened the entire affair with destruction. The French disowned the articles which La Vieuville had arranged with the English ambassadors, saying that they were contrary to their interests and only arranged out of La Vieuville's head. The English ambassadors attributed the minister's fall and the disavowal of his actions as a mere pretext for a rupture, laying all the blame upon Richelieu (No. 568). They wrote to England to this effect, creating a very bad impression. Fortunately Tillières had been succeeded by the Marquis of Effiat, a very adroit diplomatist, who was able to assure James that La Vieuville's fall was due to quite other reasons, and such suspicions cast a slur upon the prudence of the Most Christian, as if so grave a matter rested solely at the discretion of a single minister (No. 591).
Still the course of the negotiations did not run smooth, and more than once the assistance of the Venetian and Savoyard ambassadors was requisitioned in order to remove the difficulties (Nos. 577, 619). At last, however, on the 20th of November, the marriage articles were signed in France, and a month later the marriage was announced publicly by the French ambassadors at Venice and Madrid (Nos. 710, 715). At the end of November the French secretary of state, Ville aux Clercs, left for England as ambassador extraordinary, to obtain James's signature to the treaty and to complete all arrangements.
But even then all the difficulties were not overcome. Differences arose about the young queen's household, the matter being referred to France for decision (Nos. 731, 842). In England the French ambassadors considered that a fraud had been perpetrated on them by the insertion of the word "favour" instead of "liberty" for the Catholics (No. 745). Buckingham and the prince were very insistent on the need of an alliance with France, protesting to the ambassadors that otherwise the king would escape from their hands (No. 759). Ville aux Clercs at first refused to treat about anything but the marriage (No. 708), though later on he seemed more ready to pledge France, and he confirmed the engagement of Mansfelt by France for six months (No. 721), though this was more for the sake of making himself agreeable than because France had changed her mind (No. 731).
Ville aux Clercs returned to France taking the most favourable account of the disposition of the king, prince and Buckingham. This led the French to believe that they would get all that they wanted, but the outcome of so much confidence was only a great exasperation of feeling. The English ambassadors had been very stiff in their attitude, and as a consequence the French did not admit them to the more important parts of the negotiations, but referred these to England direct. The ambassadors remonstrated, and when the French ministers seemed inclined to satisfy them, the dispensation arrived from Rome with clauses making essential changes in the treaty. The ambassadors refused to accept these and made a great outcry (No. 833). They wrote to England that the French were trying to make a new treaty, they were backing out of the marriage and thought of coming to an understanding with the pope and settling the differences between Venice and Savoy. The king, prince and Buckingham were much upset, and James declared that he would not alter the things agreed upon in the smallest degree. Effiat assured him that the Most Christian was steadfast in his determination to make the match; the new difficulties came from the pope's side, and these must be weighed, accepting the reasonable and rejecting the harmful, and by argument they must move the pope or break with him. He so far prevailed with James that although the king protested he would not consent to fresh negotiations, he drew up a paper with comments upon the ten conditions which the pope made for the dispensation. Two of these conditions were new, one that it was necessary that the Most Christian should ask for the dispensation, which James said did not concern him; the other asking for the free and perpetual exercise of the Catholic religion for the king's subjects, which James refused absolutely. The other eight corresponded with the articles of the marriage treaty, though strengthened in favour of the Catholic Church.
Wat Montagu took the king's comments to Paris, with a note from James to Louis urging him to carry out the treaty now it had gone so far. Although the pope's requirements differed materially from the interpretation James put upon them, Effiat professed himself sanguine of the result (No. 863). Montagu arrived in the nick of time. Since the last dispute the English ambassadors had been so disgusted with the French ministers that they would not listen to any of their proposals or arguments, going so far as to announce that the marriage negotiations were broken off because of the French ministers, and that there was no longer any room for accommodation. Richelieu and Schomberg, on the other hand, reported that it was entirely the fault of the English. Montagu persuaded the resumption of negotiations and on the 22nd of March they had a conference lasting five hours (No. 867). It was finally arranged that a courier should be sent to Rome to induce the pope to consent that Louis should sign the articles and promise the observance of those recently sent with the dispensation, while James and Charles should not be required to sign anything more. Although the French gave the nuncio to understand that they would await the pope's reply before the final completion of the affair, and would not conclude anything without his permission, they promised the English ambassadors and drew up a fresh paper signed by all the ministers binding themselves to carry out the agreement without taking any notice of the reply from Rome. This settlement was due to the eagerness of the Queen Mother to have the matter finally arranged. To the disputes of the time was added one between the two queens, as the Queen Mother suspected the Queen Regnant of using her influence to keep the English ambassadors ill-disposed and break off the marriage, in the hope that the one with her sister might be arranged afterwards (No. 868).
The matter of the dispensation seems somewhat ambiguous. In September, 1624, Father Berulle was sent to Rome from France to arrange about it, and about the same time the Earl Maxwell went thither for James. Maxwell was delayed a month at Florence by sickness, and did not go on to Rome before the end of October (Nos. 580, 644). Berulle, however, went straight, and at Rome a congregation of cardinals was appointed to deal with the matter, consisting of the same members who had dealt with the Spanish affair (No. 596). By the end of November the conditions upon which the dispensation could be granted had been arranged (No. 682), and despite the efforts of the Spaniards to procure delay, the pope instructed Cardinal Magalotti to draw up the terms in conjunction with Berulle (No. 692). In spite of this Berulle did not leave Rome before the turn of the year, and did not arrive at Paris before the middle of February (No. 802). He was much impressed by the hostility of the Spaniards, who had obstructed the dispensation all they could. But their bitterness, he said, had made no impression on the pope, though it had greatly incensed the Most Christian, who was for making war at the earliest opportunity. He warned Henrietta against having more to do with the Spaniards than she was obliged (No. 768).
Meanwhile in London it was announced as early as January that the dispensation had been consigned to Bethune, the French ambassador at Rome, freely and entirely, though the pope wanted some pledge in the interest of religion (No. 731). Later on Effiat told Pesaro that the dispensation had reached the nuncio, Spada, on three conditions, that the marriage should be indissoluble, that the princess and her household should have the unfettered exercise of their faith, and that the children should be brought up in the Catholic faith until the age of thirteen (No. 818). It is hardly surprising that the difference between these statements and the actual facts caused suspicion and resentment in England. There was much talk in London of an alleged agreement between Rome and Spain with the arrangement that the conditions for the dispensation should be higher than those obtained by the Spaniards (No. 853), though in the case of Urban such suspicions were quite groundless.
While the diplomatists were busy over these teasing negotiations, the young princess grew weary of the incessant delays. She had manifested considerable jealousy of Mlle. de Montpensier when that lady had been suggested as a bride for Charles (note to page 229). In November she already styled herself the bride of the Prince of England and future queen of two kingdoms. She was impatient of all delay, and constantly importuned her mother and brother to bring the business to a conclusion (No. 661). The delay in the arrival of the dispensation increased her disgust, as she wanted to go as soon as possible to enjoy the rule of two most noble realms and the fruits of matrimony (No. 773). Immediately after the signing of the articles in France, Charles sent over to her Thomas Carey, with a love letter, his portrait and jewels worth 20,000 francs (Nos. 687, 696). The princess immediately wrote back expressing her great pleasure, although the French considered the gift premature (No. 759). Towards the end of January Charles sent Carey over again with an even richer present, consisting of a thread of 120 large pearls in a chain, a cross of diamonds of only two pieces, with a very large pendant, a diamond of incomparable size and worth, and two diamond earrings of a single piece, in the shape of pears, all crown jewels of the highest value and estimated to be worth from 200,000 to 400,000 crowns (Nos. 787, 795). These gifts might also be considered premature, since the dispensation had not even then arrived, but the marriage was necessary to both nations, and only the death of James prevented its immediate accomplishment.
The point on which the Spanish marriage negotiations broke down and the object with which the French alliance was taken up was the restoration of the Palatinate. This was the chief aim of the diplomacy of the last years of James's reign, but one which never even approached realisation. The king's specific in the early months of 1623 was to get his son-in-law to sign a truce or armistice in the Palatinate for fifteen months. This had been arranged with the Infanta of Flanders at the beginning of May (No. 60). Frederick was most unwilling to sign such a document, and was thrown into a state of great agitation and perplexity. He did not see how he could sign without prejudicing his own reputation and the safety of his friends, while if he refused he perceived that the King of England would seize upon the pretext to abandon him utterly. He declared he would not sign the articles, and would rather go and beg his bread (No. 61). He said he was willing to be a son, but not a slave. The Prince of Orange called the treaty foolishness, and said it showed clearly that the Spaniards had won James over heart and soul and guided him as they wished The Queen of Bohemia eagerly and persistently urged her husband not to sign, or at least to wait. She seemed angered and upset at her father's conduct, and said there was no need for such haste. What folly, she cried, it would be in my husband to sign such a treaty so lightly, without any other security for getting back his own ( No. 59). In his perplexity the Palatine contemplated with-drawing from the protection of his father-in-law altogether, and sending to the French Court to ask Louis to help him to recover the Palatinate (No. 41). Finally, after taking the advice of his intimates and of the Prince of Orange, Frederick sent James an answer which really amounted to a series of objections to the terms of the articles of the proposed armistice (Nos. 66, 67).
James kept insisting on the truce being signed, and Frederick's reluctance and hesitation only incensed him. If the Palatine would not sign he threatened to abandon him entirely. He desired peace, but the Palatine would devote everything to fire and sword. Brunswick and Mansfelt would do nothing for him, as Mansfelt had agreed to enter French service (No. 97). At last, after Brunswick's defeat at Stadtlohn, and when it had become clear that nothing could be expected from Louis, who had recognised Bavaria as elector (Nos. 96, 119), the Palatine reluctantly agreed to sign the truce at the end of August, 1623 (No. 137). James was in no hurry to answer the letter conveying this submission, though he renewed his promises of help. It has been noticed, Valaresso remarks caustically, that the more hopeless it is to expect any action, the more lavish he is with his promises (No. 149). The princes of the circle of Lower Saxony were little better. In their diet at Brunswick they decided to arm for the common defence, but on the news of Brunswick's defeat they sent a very humble message to the emperor. The Queen of Bohemia remarked that if wars were conducted by drinking and if tankards were swords, they would be masters of the world (No. 146).
About the time of Charles's return from Spain another plan was suggested to James for the recovery of the Palatinate without the trouble of going to war. In the effort to placate Charles after his departure from Madrid, Oõate, the Spanish ambassador at Vienna, strongly recommended a marriage between the Palatine's son and the emperor's second daughter, and that they should send to Bavaria to tell him that all the trouble had arisen through the transfer of the vote, they could not resist the Turks without pacifying the empire, and this could only be done by transferring the vote again and by a settlement with the Palatine (No. 185). Possibly in alarm at this, or in a more general apprehension of the increasing greatness of the House of Hapsburg, and especially the fear that the Spaniards would demand of him the fortresses of Mannheim and Heidelberg, the Duke of Bavaria began to think of making terms with the Palatine on his own account.
The instrument chosen to make these overtures was an Italian Capuchin friar named Alexander d'Alix, who went to England disguised as an. Italian from Poland, under the name of Francesco della Rota. The suggestion was that the Palatine's son should marry Bavaria's daughter and that the couple should inherit the Palatinate on the duke's death. All that Bavaria wanted was the electoral vote for life (No. 211). An alternative proposal was that the Palatine should be made an eighth elector, but a fixed condition was that the young prince Palatine should be brought up at the Bavarian Court, though with freedom in his religion, because they could not trust the Palatine (No. 228).
In England these proposals were laid before the king, the prince and Buckingham, and received attention, especially from James. They had the warm support of Tillières and the more guarded approval of Valaresso. The Capuchin also wrote an artfully worded appeal to Charles, trying to make capital out of the prince's jealousy of the Palatine's popularity with the Puritan party in England (No. 277).
The whole business ultimately broke down on the question of handing the young prince over to the Duke of Bavaria. Only three lives stood between him and the English throne, and with Charles unmarried the prospect of his eventual succession was by no means remote. They were not prepared to send for the lad to England, but they knew that to give him up would give tremendous offence to the people, and an education at a Catholic Court might easily make him change his faith. James wept, deplored his manifold troubles and said that they now wanted to reach his children also. He declared that he would never give up the boy; he would give his word as a security, and if that did not suffice, he would give it to France and the Venetians. But on this point the Capuchin was firm, though he suggested some other Catholic Court, such as Lorraine, as an alternative (No. 276). He was also said to have offered to agree that the Palatine's son should be placed in the hands of the Duke of Saxony (No. 310), but that seems unlikely, as the principal object of the whole affair was probably to make the boy a Catholic (No. 228). Accordingly the friar was dismissed with a civil expression of an inclination towards a reasonable compromise, but that it would be too serious to place in the hands of others the boy who was the basis and foundation of the realm (No. 292). James remarked that he knew no prince in Europe better fitted than himself to educate his children in affairs, and it would prove the best means to get his own son poisoned by the Jesuits, who would like to see the little prince become the heir to all his realms if he was brought up in their principles and entirely dependent upon them (No. 296).
But though James spoke in this tone he abandoned such a chance of a peaceful settlement with great reluctance. He gave the Capuchin a valuable portrait at parting (No. 310), and sent word to him that he had thought of a solution of the difficulty about the son (No. 301). The Capuchin seemed quite ready to continue the negotiations, but he noticed that they did not wish him to go to the king again (No. 292).
From England Rota proceeded to the Hague on his way back to Brussels. In the Netherlands his proceedings had been viewed from the first with extreme suspicion. Frederick did not quite know what to think, but the Queen of Bohemia had very decided views on the subject. She said that the Spaniards had moved the nuncio at Brussels, possibly with Bavaria's knowledge, to send the friar to London to open new negotiations and postpone all resolutions indefinitely. The Spaniards were now well-known in England and exposed as tricksters and liars, and therefore they had sent this individual to negotiate under the cloak of Bavaria, with some show of plausibility, to delude everyone and keep the king, her father, fixed in his lethargy and lulled to sleep with hopes more than ever. She could not believe that a friar, sent by the nuncio at Brussels, would deceive the Spaniards in order to serve the interests of a prince of another religion, and consequently an enemy (No. 256). These views, after some hesitation, were also shared by the Signory of Venice (Nos. 230, 288, 294), following the lead of Moresini, their ambassador in the Netherlands. Valaresso thought differently and did not believe that the Spaniards had anything to do with it. He reported that the Spaniards had been late in finding out about it, and were much annoyed at not having heard earlier. They denounced the Capuchin, who, on his side, told Valaresso that he had written to the pope, pointing out how pernicious would be the marriage suggested by the Spaniards with the emperor's daughter, as instead of quieting matters it might involve the Palatine and Bavaria in ceaseless war. He added that Europe suffered from three plagues, namely the three Spanish ministers, Oõate in Germany, la Cueva in Flanders and Feria in Italy (No. 260). Frederick would not hear of having his son taken away or of changing his religion, though he said he would agree to anything else in reason (No. 243). Thus when Rota visited the King and Queen of Bohemia at the Hague at the end of March, he gained nothing, but only strengthened the belief that it was one of the usual tricks and deceptions (No. 325). The Capuchin did not at once give up all hope, as on the 19th of April he wrote from Brussels saying that the nuncio was much astonished that they would not listen to his proposals. They did not pretend to make the boy change his religion, and his father could choose which Catholic prince of Germany should educate him if he did not trust Bavaria. He pointed out that war offered little chance, as the King of England was uncertain and fallacious, France was occupied elsewhere, and the princes of Germany, awed by the prosperity of the Austrians, did not dare to raise their heads. Bavaria, on the other hand, was master in his own house; he had no son and was feared and hated by the Spaniards. Elizabeth showed the Venetian ambassador the letter and asked his opinion. Moresini told her that if they made restitution and seemed ready to give satisfaction, the matter might be worth consideration in the unhappy state of affairs; but while they spoke of taking away the boy as the first article, and held out nothing in return but promises and hopes, it was unreasonable to take such a step. The queen agreed, and was determined not to part with her son or give him up to any one soever (No. 371). Thus ended the episode of the Capuchin friar, but it is interesting to note that a month or two later the Duke of Bavaria absolutely denied that Rota was acting by his order or with his consent in treating for an accommodation (No. 425).
The case of Frankenthal affords an instructive object lesson in Jacobean diplomacy. Acting under pressure from James, the garrison of the fortress was withdrawn and the place handed over to the Infanta of Flanders to hold in deposit until the 13th of October, 1624. The inhabitants accepted this most reluctantly, saying that they did not recognise the King of England as their superior (No. 1). They yielded to necessity, although they believed that if James had not withdrawn his support they could have held out for a long time (No. 7). As soon as the Spaniards entered the place they began to violate the terms of the agreement (No. 13), and later on they used the possession of the fortress as a lever to induce Frederick to sign the armistice (No. 75). During the months that followed no thought was taken as to what should be done when the term of the deposit expired. James would scarcely listen to a minister sent from the town to urge that some steps should be taken (No. 574). At last, owing to the importunity of Rusdorf, the Palatine's agent, James instructed the Lords of the Council to meet and discuss what should be done (No. 557). They considered that there were four courses open, not one of which but was open to serious objection (No. 558). When James asked the opinion of the Palatine's agent, Rusdorf replied dryly that as his Majesty had caused the deposit against the wishes of his son-in-law, he felt sure he would have certain methods to recover it (No. 628). The Infanta proposed to give the place up, but the condition in which she received it, namely, destitute of arms and munitions and surrounded by the army of the league, in the hope of compelling England to leave it to her, so that Bavaria might not take it (No. 519). When James presented his demand for restitution, the Infanta was perfectly ready to accede to it, but as there was no force to take the place over and no means of getting there even if there had been, the offer was purely illusory (No. 628). At Vienna they were quite satisfied to let matters take their course, and Tilly was held in readiness to take possession (No. 643). Before the end of the year Tilly had orders to take his force into the Lower Palatinate and enter Frankenthal (No. 699). Thus fell the last fortress of the Palatinate. Its history is an admirable illustration of the ineptitude and nervelessness that James showed throughout in dealing with that province.
The only real hope for the recovery of the Palatinate was by war. As Charles and Buckingham got the upper hand, the prospect of war became more and more imminent. The help of France was to be the main support in the contest with the Hapsburgs, but efforts were made to enlist other allies. Where James interfered they were often singularly half-hearted and inept. Wake and Anstruther were instructed to ask Savoy and Denmark respectively what they would do if England made war on the Spaniards (No. 342). When the princes of Lower Saxony had been united together, the first thing to do was to get them to send an embassy to the emperor praying for the restitution of the Palatinate (No. 488). The mission of Anstruther was the most important. He was to go first to Denmark and then to the princes of Lower Saxony to solicit help for the recovery of the Palatinate. Unfortunately his start was long delayed, and even when he had crossed the water he lingered a long while at the Hague. During the delay, and probably because of it, the Elector of Saxony, after long hesitation, decided to recognise the right of Bavaria to the electoral vote. It was perhaps the most fatal blow that the Palatine could receive at the moment (No. 541). The elector decided to remain neutral in the struggle, and wrote a long letter to James explaining and justifying his action (No. 665). Anstruther had great hopes of the King of Denmark, who had told him that he would be ready to take the field with 25,000 men in favour of the Palatine (No. 275). Valaresso considered that Anstruther had little hope of success and that his mission would only stir the Austrians to greater activity. The commissions of the discredited King of England carried little weight. The princes of Germany would follow Denmark and all would be restrained by fear of Tilly (No. 463).
When Anstruther reached Denmark he found the king there by no means inclined to move rashly. He had too much experience of his brother-in-law. He said he wanted a better inducement than the payment of a force under Mansfelt, an odious and suspect person (No. 574). He was surrounded by powerful enemies, and could not, like England, withdraw and be none the worse. The emperor had asked him to assist in establishing the peace of Germany; if he took up arms he could no longer act as mediator (No. 576). This attitude was perhaps influenced by the fact that he had, at the time, an ambassador negotiating at Madrid, a circumstance that created some little stir and much surmise, though he only seems to have gone on questions of trade (Nos. 523, 529, 532, 616). The prospect of greater activity on the part of England and the mission of M. de la Haye from France produced a a beneficial effect somewhat later, and Denmark promised to do anything if England would begin to interest itself and begin in real earnest (No. 842). When Anstruther returned to England in the spring of 1625 he was able to report that the King of Denmark would support 10,000 foot and 1,000 horse. The Elector of Brandenburg, the Duke of Brunswick, the Bishop of Magdeburgh, the Landgrave of Hesse, the Hanse Towns and others would all contribute contingents for the relief of Germany (No. 874). Brandenburg, who steadily refused to recognise Bavaria as elector, had already sent an envoy to England and France. He was to set forth a plan for the union or re-union of the Protestants in Germany, to seek the alliance of the two kings, and to protest against Bavaria having the electoral vote (Nos. 693, 776, 838).
On the other side of Europe efforts were also being made to stir up trouble for the House of Hapsburg. The peace with the emperor made by Bethlen Gabor in the summer of 1624 was regarded with dismay by the allies. By the show of their own activity they hoped to induce him to break this peace, and Sir John Eyre, who had been ambassador at Constantinople, was sent to him for this purpose (No. 804). At the same time efforts were made at Constantinople to induce the Turks to help him in this struggle (Nos. 560, 791). Gabor sent a minister to the Porte to treat about this, but the ambassadors there did not think that he was dealing squarely, and wrote as much to the prince. They also found the Turks very disinclined to risk active hostilities with the emperor while the war with Persia lasted, though favourably disposed to Gabor in general (Nos. 805, 832). The allies had further cause for perturbation in negotiations opened between the Viceroy of Naples and the Turks for a truce with Spain, carried on by a Portuguese Jew named Isaac Cormons. The ambassadors at the Porte, and Sir Thomas Roe in particular, did their utmost to thwart any such design, although the Turkish ministers assured them that they knew nothing about it (Nos. 733, 805). The republic of Venice was ready to second the ambassadors in these efforts (Nos. 835, 836). In their general policy the allies also hoped for help from the most serene republic, at least in money. It may have been the fear of this which induced the emperor to offer his alliance to the Signory, in order to detach them from the allies (No. 562). In Flanders, owing to the fear of the landing of an English force under Mansfelt, guns were sent to the coast towns from the Dunkirk ships, and the arrière ban was ordered to hold itself in readiness (No. 660), although Eggenburg affected to despise Mansfelt's cowardly troops (No. 780).
There was always some ambiguity in the attitude of James towards the Dutch. He seemed willing to wound, but not prepared to push matters to extremes against them. The probability is that he thoroughly disliked them and especially their form of government, but felt that their overthrow was incompatible with his own safety. The Spanish marriage negotiations caused the Dutch the liveliest apprehensions, as they feared that James might grant the Spaniards a place of repair in his own dominions. The king protested that he would never consent to this and that the Spaniards had not even asked for it. Suspicion was not allayed, however, and the Venetian ambassador thought it advisable to convey a hint to James that if he turned against the Dutch he would bring upon himself the wrath of all their friends (No. 51). The Spaniards were indeed anxious to turn the marriage into a general alliance and to get a clause inserted by which James would promise to abandon the Dutch. The king refused, not with a generous negative, but with subtle and base excuses. He said he could not do it because his subjects would not obey his rigorous prohibitions. He promised to give them help so sparingly that feathers would not grow on these young birds, as he put it. He told the ambassadors that as his kingdom was divided into parties, the Spanish and the Dutch, the greater was devoted to them, as the Dutch was composed of merchants, and would break up and dissolve of itself owing to divided interests. An incredible and monstrous thing, as Valaresso pointedly remarks, that a king should so far prostitute himself as to go out of his way to expose his own weakness in order to justify a refusal (No. 107).
In other respects James showed himself no friend to the Dutch, as he went out of his way to protect some Dunkirk ships which had taken refuge in his waters from some Dutch men-of-war. One of these Dunkirkers ran aground outside the port and was burned by the Dutch. To save the ship the crew hoisted the English flag, and the royal officials tried to protect it, but the people openly disobeyed and refused to harm the Dutch, while spoiling the Spanish sailors and soldiers (No. 35). A serious incident occurred in connection with this that might have led to war. James ordered that a Dunkirker, blockaded in Scotland, should be released, and sent a squadron to convoy it to Flanders. On the way down the Dunkirker became separated from its convoy, and the Dutch set upon it, shooting away its mainmast and inflicting considerable loss. The convoy came up and took it into the Downs. There the captain, Thomas Best, finding a Dutch ship at anchor away from the rest, fired upon it, killing some sailors. Various explanations were given for this incident, that it was because of the damage done to the Spanish fleet; that the Dutch had appeared where men-of-war were forbidden, or because they were flying their flag in English waters (No. 120). Best was called upon to explain his conduct before the Lords of the Council, but though he only made a lame excuse he suffered nothing worse than the deprivation of his ship (No. 149). An ugly complexion was put upon the affair by the Spaniards rewarding him with a chain worth 500 crowns (No. 136).
Another incident illustrating the curious relations between the two countries occurred when Charles was returning from Spain. Some Spanish ships, pursued by the Dutch, took refuge with his squadron. The Spaniards induced the prince to stop the Dutch ships, to send on board and under the pretence of entertainment to send for the Dutch captains and give them presents and plenty to drink, while the Spaniards profited by the opportunity to make good their escape (No. 199). In May, 1624, after a fight between the Dutch and Dunkirkers, four Dunkirk ships took refuge in the Downs, where they were immediately surrounded by twelve Dutch men-of-war. There they remained in safety, though the Dutch squadron prevented them from getting away. The Dutch ambassadors appealed to James to allow them to attack the ships, laying stress on the fact that they had 800 soldiers on board, including many Irish (No. 422). The king either evaded an answer or protested that he would do as much for the Dutch (No. 504); or else he said that if he did not protect them he would be committed to war with Spain, and that would not be convenient at the moment (No. 488). When Charles was appealed to, he merely shrugged his shoulders (No. 450). The ships were allowed to take on provisions, but not munitions of war (No. 462). They became very foul-bottomed, and it seemed inevitable that they must sooner or later fall a prey to their enemies. To prevent this the Spaniards proposed to give them to James or sell them to merchants (No. 477). At last, after a blockade of five months, they profited by a furious gale on the 13th of October to escape. Apparently two got clear away, aided by the interposition of an English man-of-war, one sank, and the fourth blew up (Nos. 621, 627, 628). The Dunkirkers rewarded James's complacency in this and other matters by considerable depredations upon English shipping (No. 806).
The year 1623 marked a pause in the long conflict between the Spaniards and the Dutch, both parties being exhausted by their efforts over the siege of Bergen op Zoom in the preceding year. The Dutch were feeling the financial strain very severely, and the outlook with respect to help from France and England looked all but hopeless. The Dutch statesman, Aerssens, considered the situation almost desperate (No. 11). With the return of Charles from Spain and the prospect of an Anglo-French alliance, the situation seemed much relieved, and the Dutch, though still far from sanguine, resolved to send special embassies to both countries to ask for help (No. 274). To England they sent Francis Aerssens and Albert Joachim, the mission being undertaken with the foreknowledge and approval of the Prince of Wales, and the ambassadors were to support him with their offices. They sent to France also to prevent the French from being jealous, and in the hope of doing something now that Puisieux had fallen (No. 307).
The ambassadors arrived in England towards the end of February and were well received; but James was in no hurry to commit himself, and they did not have a second audience before April (No. 329). Buckingham, Hamilton, Pembroke, Weston and Conway were then appointed commissioners to treat with them. The importance of these men and the fact that Charles presided at their first meeting with the ambassadors showed that the negotiations were intended to succeed (No. 364). The Dutch wished before all things to make the king break definitely with Spain, effecting this by means of a defensive and offensive alliance for the recovery of the Palatinate (Nos. 333, 364). On the English side two proposals were made, to arm a fleet of seventy ships, of which the Dutch should provide twenty, in order to attack Spain in her vitals; and to supply an armed force in the Netherlands. The Dutch were to hand over cautionary fotresses as security for the repayment of expenses (No. 358). The English wanted to make sure of two things, that the Dutch would never make a truce without their consent, and that the outlay on the troops should be properly secured (No. 382). Later on the demand for fortresses was abandoned in favour of one for the repayment of the money over a certain period (No. 388). The Dutch were in no condition to enter upon any such engagements, and the negotiations appeared on the point of breaking down utterly. The Dutch were resolved that they would not be dependent on either France or England, and would lay down their lives and goods before they sacrificed the liberty they had won. They complained that the Kings of France and England amused them with promises and polite phrases, but in the end gave them nothing (No. 394). In England the ambassadors complained that Spanish ships enjoyed every facility, which was denied to their own. They asked for leave to depart (No. 388). Their firmness achieved the desired result and an alliance was concluded shortly afterwards.
Early in the negotiations it had become apparent that England would enter upon no war in that year (No. 351). James not only rejected the idea of an offensive alliance, but also that of mere succour. Accordingly a defensive league was concluded, the chief provision of which was that England should at once provide a force of 6,000 men to serve in the Netherlands. Almost simultaneously an alliance was made with France, by which Louis undertook to provide the Dutch with a yearly subsidy.
James was in no hurry to sign the new alliance, and before he had done so news arrived of the massacre of Englishmen by the Dutch at Amboyna in the East Indies. At the first news James flamed into wrath and spoke strongly against the Dutch, though he grew calmer later (No. 437). Carleton, the English ambassador at the Hague, insistently demanded the punishment of the guilty parties. The Dutch admitted that the governor had gone too far, and that the execution of the Englishmen was too hasty and contrary to law, but contended that if they punished the governor, the fort might fall into the hands of the Spaniards to the detriment of both nations (Nos. 512, 608). Many members of the States General were inclined to satisfy the ambassador, but those with business or interests in the Indies, who formed the majority, resisted any concession (No. 531). The Dutch East India Company, in particular, used its great influence to gain time and prevent anything being done (No. 645).
The English merchants were hotly indignant. They said that the tale was an unlikely one, torture had been used to extort a lie, and it was all intended to frighten the English and make them abandon that trade altogether, leaving the Dutch in sole possession. James wrote strongly, adopting a high tone, and giving the Dutch a month in which to afford satisfaction (No. 524).
The Venetian papers give no indication of any general ill-feeling against the Dutch on this account; but many tried to stir up bad blood, especially those interested in the Indies, and those impoverished by the flourishing trade acquired by the Dutch at the expense of all, but of the English in particular (No. 608). The merchants clamoured for reprisals (No. 652), and it was reported in Holland in October that orders for this had already been issued (No. 604). It was in the following month, however, that Buckingham had instructions to arrest all Dutch ships in the kingdom (No. 660), though these orders were promptly mitigated, and the king merely gave powers to the merchants trading in the Indies to arrest only those Dutch ships which belonged to the East India Company, ordering the governors of the English ports to detain such ships, his idea being to show resentment against private individuals, not against the state (No. 668). Carleton told the Venetian ambassador that his king might easily stop the trade of the Company to a great extent merely by forbidding their ships to enter his ports, as they always did, to provide themselves with men and other things, which gave out on the long voyage, and which were necessary for their further progress, and also on their way out, when they supplied themselves with many things of which they only recognised the need after they had been some days at sea (No. 645).
Under strong and repeated pressure the Dutch yielded by degrees to the English claims. A pamphlet issued in Dutch giving a very partisan account of the affair was suppressed at Carleton's instance (Nos. 542, 555, 565). In August the Dutch published their own account of the affair, and asked James to send a commissioner to take information about the facts (No. 548). In October the Dutch refused reparation, but promised justice, though that required time and must be executed by the governor on the spot (No. 628). Later they offered to send out a ship on purpose, with commissioners to conduct the trial, asking James to send representatives to see the order and sincerity of their conduct. They said they could not punish before the judges went, as the people out there justified their conduct, and said that otherwise the English would have risen and taken the place (No. 639). As the English did not consider these proposals satisfactory, the Dutch, in November, promised to execute justice in Holland, not sending the culprits to England, as was demanded, but according to the laws and liberty of their country (No. 652). Carleton accepted this as an instalment of his claims, but further asked that disinterested persons should be sent to bring back an account of the incident, and also for the re-establishment of the English in that trade (No. 694). The matter still dragged on undecided until the end of the reign. Sir William St. Leger, who went to the Netherlands in March, was supposed to have gone about it, to secure greater satisfaction (No. 873).
Although numbers of English sailors' deserted from the Dutch fleet, when they had no excuse in ill-treatment or bad pay (No. 652), the levy of troops to serve in the Netherlands proved a great success, although the low Dutch rate of pay served to keep out the best (No. 517). If they had wanted 10,000 more men they could have had them quite easily, and all went very readily, especially the colonels and officers (No. 548). This serves to indicate that the indignation over the Amboyna affair was not very deep or widespread, and that it was probably mostly confined to the mercantile class. The high rank of the colonels, Oxford, Southampton, Essex and Willoughby, had a great effect upon the enlisting. Southampton went by the express desire of the Prince of Wales (No. 409). The earl would have preferred his son to have the post, but this was refused. There was some talk of the Earl of Morton having the fourth command, but the English objected to him as a Scot (No. 421), and so he withdrew of his own accord (No. 462). One of the promoters of the levy announced that the war was being made against Spain and the Infanta, a mistake for which he was sent to prison (No. 507).
The recruiting was done very rapidly, and the first troops reached the Netherlands before the end of July. They were divided among the fortresses, setting free the veteran Dutch soldiers for the field (Nos. 520, 536). A mild dispute between Oxford and Southampton for precedence was settled by James in favour of the latter, as being the older soldier, who had already served as general (No. 541). A similar quarrel arose in the Netherlands, between the new colonels and Vere and Cecil, which Frederick decided in favour of his old servant Vere (No. 542). Some difficulty arose later because the Dutch wished to reduce the pay of the colonels, on the ground that the ranks of their companies were so thinned by the bad air and desertion (No. 747). The Earls of Oxford and Essex replied that their ranks were not reduced by desertion or death, but chiefly by sickness (No. 781). An epidemic in the camp had already cost the lives of Southampton and his son (No. 675).
The principal military event of the time was the siege of Breda, among the defenders of which Colonel Morgan, with an English force, played a prominent part. It was largely in the hope of relieving this place that the Dutch consented somewhat reluctantly to allow Mansfelt to bring his army to the Netherlands, instead of landing it in France, as had been intended (No. 784). This further increased the number of English troops in the Netherlands, but scarcely had they landed before serious sickness broke out in their ranks (No. 834). To give his force employment and possibly in order to remove the suspicion with which it was regarded by the Dutch, Mansfelt offered to take it to relieve Breda (No. 858). He had apparently received orders from James which might be interpreted as a permission to do this (Nos. 863, 869).
The marriage negotiations and important foreign affairs have absorbed all the space allotted to this Preface, and it is only possible to indicate in the briefest manner various other items of interest contained in the volume. Before the elections to the parliament of 1624, James wished to send away to a distance three of the leading parliamentarians, on the pretext of honourable employment, but was dissuaded by Pembroke and Hamilton (No. 232). Seats were much coveted, and James tried hard to secure the return of his creatures (No. 253). In spite of this the elections were free, and the persons chosen were independent. Some recommendations made by the prince failed, and every courtier was rejected. All those who spoke most freely in the past were returned (No. 272). Charles took a prominent part in its deliberations. When James reproved him for making himself too popular, the prince replied modestly that he would always behave as an honourable man (No. 333). James forbad the Houses to make a too rigorous examination of his ministers (No. 299), but this did not prevent the prosecution of Middlesex, who defended himself with spirit. He tried hard to inculpate Buckingham with himself, and openly said that he did not mean to fall alone (No. 351). When Charles counselled him to avoid the king's presence, he replied that if the prince said so by the king's command, he would obey, otherwise he would continue as before (No. 377). An attack was also meditated upon Williams (No. 410). James called the parliament little kings, and was most anxious to see them dissolved.
The marriage negotiations brought the Catholics into great prominence. Their numbers increased, and since Charles left for Spain it was reckoned that more than a hundred families had declared themselves (No. 130). A bishop was appointed for them, in spite of the opposition of the Jesuits, and was thought to be necessary to curb their excessive zeal. The bishop, however, himself got into trouble with the authorities (No. 216), and was obliged eventually to take refuge at the Spanish embassy (No. 308). On Charles's return, the Catholics presented him with a memorial thanking him for his efforts on their behalf (No. 208). They were great friends of the Spanish match, but did not favour the French one, though some of them sent a petition to King Louis (No. 401). They were apt to make too much of the persecution to which they were subjected (Nos. 377, 517). They were ungrateful for the efforts of the French ambassador on their behalf and misrepresented him at Rome (No. 869).
Valaresso remarks on the naval decline of England (No. 14) and the scarcity of sailors, though the ships were the best the kingdom ever had (No. 333). The good ship Bonaventura distinguished itself in an affray with pirates on its return from Spain (No. 55).
In matters of commerce attention may be drawn to Shirley's negotiations about Persian silk, and two reports of the Venetian Board on the foreign cloth trade in the Levant (Nos. 105, 237). Wotton brings his long connection with Venice to an end, but does not seem to have cherished friendly feelings towards the republic which he had left (No. 752). The Venetian ambassador, Pesaro, who arrived in England in September, 1624, was early involved in trouble with an adventurer named Caimo. There are particulars of the death of the Marquis of Hamilton (No. 869), and of the last illness of James, who made matters worse by his excesses and fears (No. 875).
Of minor matters one may mention the presence of Sir Robert Elliot at Brussels (No. 250); the help given by Dudley to the Grand Duke of Tuscany at Leghorn (No. 336); the stir caused by the production of Middleton's "Game at Chess" (No. 557); the fondness of Buckingham for pictures (Nos. 319, 320, 827); and finally a good story told by the pope of Henry IV of France (No. 221).