Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 24, 1636-1639. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1923.
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The present volume covers a period of 43 months, from June 1636, to the end of 1639. The material is all drawn from the state archives at the Frari, with the exception of one paper from the Correr Museum (No. 471), and four from the Public Record Office. Thanks chiefly to the efforts of Mr. Rawdon Brown, our own country is richly provided with Venetian records, originals as well as transcripts. This Calendar has now arrived at a period for which this material is exceptionally abundant. Of transcripts there are very full extracts from the despatches of Anzolo Correr, and the full text of all that were sent by Zonca and Giustinian, from the time that Correr left London to the end of the volume. There are also full transcripts of the Espositioni Prinicipi, and of Correr's Relation of England. In addition we have the original letter books of Alvise Contarini and Anzolo Correr, ambassadors in France, for the whole term, (fn. 1) and that of Contarini, ambassador in Spain, from April 1638 to the end. (fn. 2) Owing to the deplorable state of the file of original letters at Venice, the possession of this last is a singular piece of good fortune. The volume has been used here for the text of the despatches from Madrid, and in three instances (Nos. 559, 578, 642) it is the sole authority. For a different reason the letter book is the sole authority for the letter from Paris of the 17th Feb. 1638 (No. 399).
The period dealt with in these pages contains the climax and final collapse of Charles's attempt at personal government. Although the field has been worked over by historians, there is a great amount of material with which they have not dealt, for one reason or another. Within the limits assigned to this Preface it is impossible to enter critically into the various questions that arise, and the narrative contained in the following pages must be understood as representing the point of view of the various Venetian ministers, omitting or touching lightly upon such matters as historians have already made use of in their published works.
In the spring of 1636 the earl of Arundel set out for Germany, whither John Taylor had already gone, chiefly to protest against the peace of Prague. It was intimated that this would be the last attempt to settle by peaceful agreement the claims of the Palatine House, and that if it failed, more energetic measures to obtain redress would at once be adopted. (fn. 3) Charles had written to his sister definitely assuring her of this (Nos. 4, 18). Arundel claimed to have full powers to make an adjustment, and his task was to try and negotiate a general peace, without which no settlement could be more than a temporary truce. (fn. 4) To this end he carried instructions to act in full accord with the Danish ministers at Vienna, whose master had interposed for a general understanding (No. 2). The moment seemed propitious ; the emperor was most anxious to secure the election of his son as king of the Romans, and it was considered unlikely that the electors would commit themselves before they had some idea what course the war and the negotiations would take (No. 19). Arundel was expected to direct his efforts to prevent the meeting of the diet, which might not only confirm the hold of the Hapsburgs on Germany, but secure to Bavaria the permanent possession of the electoral vote, both of which it was the interest of England to prevent (No. 17).
When Arundel reached Linz he had no reason to complain of the cordiality of his reception, though his acceptance of such favours provided material for the sarcasm of his enemies, to confirm the Prince Palatine's prejudice against him and to annoy the ministers, who thought he was wasting his time (Nos. 11, 35, 47). These strictures were hardly fair, for he began at once. Producing definite promises from the emperor to restore a considerable part of the Palatinate and the electoral vote, immediately after Bavaria's death, he presented a formal demand for the whole of the Palatinate and the vote as well. The imperial ministers were rather taken aback. They interpreted Arundel's appointment as an indication that England had no intention of appealing to force, and had forthwith instructed Radolti, in London, to abstain from all serious negotiations. To meet the unexpected attack they appointed commissioners to treat with the earl, and messengers were despatched to Bavaria and the Spanish ambassador Oate, to learn their opinions (No. 19). It is probable that the emperor's show of readiness to make concessions was nothing more than a blind (No. 329, p. 306), though Arundel professed himself satisfied of his good intentions (Nos. 36, 132). In other quarters the earl met with the most determined opposition. The ecclesiastical element, represented by the nuncio and the bishop of Vienna, one of the commissioners, was determined to resist any increase of the Protestant power in Germany by the restitution of the Palatine House (No. 36). The nuncio, in particular disliked the idea that Arundel might negotiate for a general peace, thereby taking the affair out of the pope's hands (No. 11). The bishop enraged Arundel by telling him that he ought to be satisfied with the removal of the ban and a declaration that the Palatines were princes of the empire, with the assignment of a suitable pension (No. 19). He said he marvelled at the bishop's ignorance of European affairs (No. 36). When he blustered about what England would do especially if the diet confirmed the vote to Bavaria, the bishop retorted that they would not be disturbed by threats; they could not shut their eyes to the harm which the Palatine had done in Germany (No. 68).
Bavaria offered even more serious opposition, claiming compensation for any concessions he might make. He assured the nuncio that he had not given and would not give any satisfaction to England, and he had received a promise that nothing to his prejudice should be done at the diet (No. 83). Arundel for his part openly called the duke an enemy and refused to see him (No. 68). But the most formidable opposition came from Oate, the Spanish ambassador. The power of this minister was so great that nothing could be decided without consulting him (No. 11). His personal ascendancy bore down all opposition from the imperial ministers, almost without exertion on his part (No. 36). In Paris they declared he was more ruler in Germany than the emperor himself (No. 123). Although Spain had far more to fear from the hostility of England than Austria, he made light of the danger, and if the emperor had to choose between offending Bavaria or England, he left no doubt as to which he considered the safer course. He assured the ministers that while king and parliament were out of harmony, England would not go to war or pay out subsidies for a cause in which the country had no real interest; and still less would they risk the loss of trade with Spain. The very worst to be feared was secret help and encouragement to the French and Swedes with men and money (No. 115). On his arrival Arundel had avoided meeting Oate (No. 29), but subsequently they met frequently, as the Spaniard had no objection to beguiling the earl with futile proposals, so long as he chose to listen.
Arundel began by demanding full restitution, but he soon showed a disposition to modify his claims and was ready to accept the Lower Palatinate provided the Palatine House was not thereby debarred from claiming more at another time, and that England should not be saddled with any obligation to make an alliance against the French or Dutch. This proviso was due to Taylor having compromised the position by offering an alliance in return for the cession of the Lower Palatinate, an offer for which Arundel declared that he deserved punishment (No. 36). Arundel was prepared to accept a suggestion to refer the question to the diet, and he thought of paying a visit to the Elector of Saxony at Prague, to enlist his support (No. 44).
With all this the negotiations languished, and Arundel complained bitterly of his treatment, accusing Taylor of having led to his mission by misrepresentation. With the approach of autumn there was a revival. Fear of trouble with the Turks made the imperialists more ready to listen (No. 83) and there was probably a further motive in a secret letter from his master, who, after an abortive discussion in the Council, wrote to the earl in his own hand, without taking any one into his confidence (No. 54). At any rate, from early October until mid November, Arundel was engaged in active negotiations with the emperor, the king of Hungary and Oate. The discussions seem to have ranged over the whole question of a general peace, including France and Lorraine (No. 102). Efforts were apparently made to purchase English help against the enemies of the empire at the price of territorial concessions in the Palatinate. At a final conference it was suggested that England should promise help against those who disturbed the empire, but that the Palatine House should at the same time renounce all claims against the duke of Bavaria, and give up all idea of the electoral vote so long as the Bavarian line lasted. At this suggestion Arundel rose from his seat in great excitement, declaring that this was the way to a rupture, not an agreement. He broke off the conference then and there, setting out for home immediately after (No. 115).
It is remarkable that the negotiation of a general peace, supposed to be the main object of his mission, was hardly touched upon until towards the close of Arundel's stay, and was then immediately overlaid by what amounted to an offensive and defensive alliance. Of co-operation with the friendly ambassadors there is scarce a word. As a matter of fact Arundel was regarded with some suspicion by those on whose assistance he might have been expected to count. The Dutch minister complained that he could only get him to talk of pictures and galleries, and suspected the earl of concealing some agreement that would pledge England to help the Spaniards against his countrymen (No. 83). The Venetian Ballarino declares that Arundel's professed dissatisfaction was not genuine, and that negotiations went on (No. 102). It was observed that after all that had been said Taylor stayed on to keep up the thread of negotiation.
Arundel travelled direct to the Hague to confer with the Princess Palatine. Towards the Dutch he observed extreme reticence, refusing public honours and declining to discuss any business. He spoke favourably of the emperor and the offers he made, but could not say if his master would accept them. An appeal to arms was the last resource, and in his opinion matters had not reached that extremity. It was conjectured that the imperial ministers had got hold of him after his departure from Ratisbon, and talked him over. Yet the Princess Palatine declared herself completely satisfied with the way in which he had looked after her interests (No. 132).
Before Arundel reached home the emperor's son had been elected king of the Romans. The earl's presence seems to have had no effect on this result, and, contrary to expectation, he had not been able to turn the affair to advantage. In the midst of his triumph the emperor felt some misgivings as to the line which England might take, and sent after Arundel suggesting fresh terms for an adjustment. He put this affair in the hands of the archbishop of Mainz. At the same time he made advances to the Dutch (No. 122). He tried to persuade Oate to yield more liberal conditions for the Palatinate, but the ambassador declared he would rather his master engaged in an honourable war than see him surrender what he held by a just title (No. 130). The Spanish ministers continued to assert that nothing was to be feared from England, owing to the strained relations with France and the differences between the king and his subjects (No. 145).
The event proved how correctly they had gauged the situation. At the news of Arundel's return Charles expressed his displeasure with the House of Austria, and assured his nephew that he would not let this pass without taking vengeance (No. 137). When the earl arrived the king received him with every honour and made him give a full account of his experiences for his private ear. He continued to talk big about what he intended to do, and on the 26th January assembled the Council to hear Arundel's account of his mission. The earl made a long statement, at the end of which he expressed the conviction that the Austrians had no desire to settle the Palatine question ; their offers of restitution were all a pretence, with the object of keeping England quiet. The king thereupon proposed that all further negotiations should be suspended and active measures adopted, without waiting for the result of the negotiations with France. The readiest and quickest way was to equip a naval force. But even in this heat it was decided that it should be in the Palatine's name since an open rupture with the House of Austria was neither desirable nor practicable under existing circumstances (No. 147). At the same time the Palatine was to make a public protest that both the peace of Prague and the election of Ferdinand were illegitimate.
This project thus launched was pushed by the king with energy and determination. The fleet was to consist of 22 ships including a nucleus from the royal navy. Funds were to be supplemented by voluntary contributions towards which the devoted Lord Craven at once promised 30,000. The king's subjects were given leave to volunteer for the force, which was expected to make an attack on the Spanish treasure fleet (No. 156). Five royal ships and ten merchantmen were selected for a start. They revolved great schemes in which this fleet should be part of a great allied force, with the Palatine as supreme Admiral (No. 168). But after the first spurt of enthusiasm difficulties and misgivings began to present themselves. Volunteers and contributions did not come in so freely as anticipated. The French were indifferent and the Dutch silent, in the conviction that it would all end in nothing (No. 170). Doubts arose about the best means of employing this force and whether, without adequate support from the allies, it might not do the Palatine more harm than good (No. 188). By April Beveren was able to report that the fleet would be limited to 15 ships, while gentlemen had been forbidden to volunteer for it (No. 193). Foreseeing a collapse, Senneterre suggested that it should be attached as a squadron to the French fleet. The Princess Palatine disapproved of the plan altogether, for she wished to see her son in command of an army in Germany (No. 244). Before the summer was well advanced the plan was completely abandoned, the entire squadron being merged in the royal fleet under Northumberland, of which it formed much the largest part (No. 274).
When the project was first mooted, the younger Ofiate, newly arrived as Spanish ambassador, made a great to do, declaring that if the king thought of waging war on the House of Austria under cover of the Palatine, he was making a great mistake. His master preferred open enemies, and Spain was quite capable of waging war with England (Nos. 160, 165). His bluster made very little impression, particularly as he professed anxiety to arrange a friendly settlement, and showed no disposition to break off relations. The imperial minister Radolti showed more determination, demanding his passports as the consequence of a manifesto issued by the Palatine. This was granted with alacrity and he was hurried out of the country with scant ceremony (Nos. 168, 180). During a stay in England of little less than a year he had transacted no business of any account. Living in complete retirement he had only appeared twice at Court after his first audiences, once to present a letter, ostensibly from the emperor, which he was believed to have concocted in his own study (No. 90), and again to inform the king of the election of the king of the Romans, on which occasion Charles rounded on him so fiercely that he had not a word to say (No. 147).
The mission of the earl of Leicester to France in April 1636 was understood as being complementary to that of Arundel, so that if the latter's negotiations at Vienna proved abortive England might join in an active alliance with France to extort by force what the imperialists would not yield to persuasion. (fn. 5) For many months two ambassadors had been in London to promote such an alliance, but without making any progress. Owing to rooted differences and more particularly to quarrels over maritime questions the two nations seemed rather to be drifting farther apart, and even war seemed possible. The seizure of the Miniken ketch had brought things to a serious pass, for Northumberland sailed with orders to take all ships flying the French flag, while the French openly talked of combining with the Dutch fleet in order to check the overweening pretensions of England (No. 6). Neither side was acting quite sincerely. The French looked askance on the negotiations of Taylor and Arundel, about which their enquiries only met with vague replies. From the time of Arundel's departure their ambassadors in London abstained from saying anything more about the alliance, their only serious business being an attempt to get Irish levies for their armies (No. 80). Their own government left them entirely in the dark (No. 69). Only once was this reticence abandoned. In July 1636 the imperialists broke into Picardy and pushed almost to the gates of Amiens. Corbie fell on the 15th August. On the 25th Senneterre asked for audience of the king. In a lengthy harangue he pointed out the need for resisting the overwhelming power of the House of Austria. He suggested that the best means was an alliance between France, England and the Dutch without which any attempt to recover the Palatinate would be hopeless. If this were not arranged he intimated that France might be tempted to make a separate peace in which she would consider her own interests alone. He pressed for a definite answer, but the king only replied with generalities, expressing his friendship for his brother, speaking hopefully of the negotiations in Germany, and telling the ambassador that if his advances to France had met with a better reception something satisfactory might by that time have been arranged (No. 55).
Charles had made no offer that was likely to attract France, even in extremity. He made it clear that he did not contemplate war with the House of Austria (No. 73), telling Correr that his ambition was to live neighbourly with all (No. 46). The naval assistance, which was the only positive help promised, was an obvious attempt to obtain French recognition of the supremacy claimed at sea, which they were by no means prepared to accept (Nos. 116, 119). He wanted France to sacrifice Lorraine for the sake of the Palatinate, and when he suggested abandoning this plan on condition that the French would also give up supporting the duke of Bavaria, he thought that the last obstacles were removed and that the French would promptly close with his offers (No. 93). Unaccountably they failed to display the eagerness expected of them, and the English ministers grew doubtful about the treaty, though outwardly they affected confidence (No. 122). The king also grew restive at the absence of any response to his advance, and remarked in public that his ambassadors had powers to conclude. He would not be to blame if the delay brought harm upon the common cause, but it would all be due to the over subtle circumspection of the French (No. 116).
At the end of 1636 the situation had altered materially. The French were driving the invader back, while Arundel's return empty handed from Vienna showed the hopelessness of any settlement of the Palatine question by negotiation. In the light of Arundel's disclosures the English ministers became very friendly towards the French. It was not good, they said, to allow the might and influence of the House of Austria to be always on the increase. There was, however, no sign that they meant to go to extremes, for which the means were lacking; and the king would on no account declare himself the enemy of the imperialists (Nos. 156, 160). Yet circumstances rendered the French treaty necessary before everything else, the thing upon which everything depended (Nos. 201, 233). But as the English grew more eager, the French became more difficult. Richelieu was not at all disposed to accept the sort of treaty which Charles had in mind. The English, he told Contarini, want to avoid pledging themselves and to do nothing while we do a great deal. They want to commit us without saying what they mean to do. England talked of war but did not say how she meant to wage it. If this was left vague, then France must consult her allies, the Swedes and Dutch, as she could not have fresh confederates about minor matters without hearing their views. But if England would declare war, France would be satisfied if she provided 30 ships and a force of 6000 foot and 1500 to 2000 horse for Germany (No. 203). He also required that England should cease to molest the Dutch fishermen so long as the alliance lasted, since it could not exist for long without a good understanding between England and the United Provinces. But England was not prepared to sacrifice the valuable trade with Spain and the king was not disposed to plunge right away into so costly a war; the reference to the fisheries was resented as a matter in which France had no concern (No. 199). Thus the negotiations threatened to break down altogether, and the Spaniards went about jeering over the scanty results after so much fuss (No. 194).
There remained the alternative of a limited alliance subject to reference to the allies. Agreement on this was easily reached and the alliance announced as concluded. The news was published in England at the end of June, amid universal rejoicing (No. 247). The Prince Palatine wrote to inform his mother of the happy event (No. 252) and Fielding imparted the news to the Signory of Venice at a special audience (No. 268). All this was decidedly premature, and it did not impose on anyone. The Venetians, struck by the absence of any information about the terms, made a polite reply couched in vague generalities like those of the ambassador (Nos. 269, 270). The Dutch, offended at being left out of the negotiations, treated the whole affair with derision (No. 288).
In effect Charles had merely accepted the conditions sent him from Paris. These comprised two treaties. By the first England promised a fleet under the Palatine to attack Flanders and the Spanish coast; while permitting France to levy 6000 men in Great Britain at her own cost ; France, in return, was not to make peace without securing the restoration of the Palatines. By the second treaty, all the claims of the princes concerned in the war were to be adjusted in a general congress at Hamburg. But before the first treaty could be signed it must be submitted to the Swedes and Dutch for their approval (No. 251). Such terms merely transferred the business from the principals to the allies of France, and opened the way to endless disputes and delays. The transfer was marked by the immediate departure of Senneterre and Beveren, much to the disgust of the king and Court, though Leicester and Scudamore remained at Paris.
The meeting of a congress of the allies at Hamburg or some other place had been suggested at Paris earlier in the year, to discuss the part to be taken by the various powers concerned in resisting the common enemy. The French favoured the plan because they considered that England was evading her fair share of the work (No. 185). England desired the treaty first (No. 191) and then to treat with the others separately (No. 201), and Charles had even declared that he would not send to Hamburg (No. 212). The French had carried their point and as the result of the agreement both Louis and Charles sent invitations to the Swedes and Dutch to enter the alliance and send their ministers to take part in the diet (No. 259).
The Dutch, resentful and suspicious, were determined to do nothing to help the Palatine while their fishermen were subject to molestation. They had enough enemies without antagonising the empire, whose neutrality assured them a valuable trade (Nos. 267, 278). They made a non committal reply, and raised difficulties about sending a minister. The Swedes, whose fortunes were then at a very low ebb, were suspected of being already in negotiation with the emperor for a separate peace (No. 244). Like the other allies they did not consider that England was taking her fair share, and announced that they could not approve of the treaty unless Charles agreed to take his proper part. Suspecting some secret articles in the treaty they insisted on seeing the whole before they would commit themselves (No. 322). The French had long since drawn their own conclusions. It pleases the English, said Richelieu, to see all the Christian powers fighting and they would like to commit them to supporting the Palatine, while they themselves do nothing (No. 314). The treaty would be worthless if Charles was determined not to declare war against the House of Austria and he suspected that if England could peacefully settle the Palatine question they would abandon every other thought (No. 289). This lack of confidence deeply offended Charles, who protested his own sincerity, while suspecting the French of conducting secret negotiations of their own with the Austrians. He grew indifferent about the treaty, from which he began to expect nothing. The fear of being deceived, which had taken firm hold of him, rendered him more inclined to re-open negotiations with the Austrians (No. 297).
Interest in the negotiations languished during the summer and autumn of 1637, with the suggestion of some other meeting place, such as Paris or the Hague, though the original choice of Hamburg was finally confirmed (No. 308). It was revived by the arrival of Bellievre, the new French ambassador, in November. His coming, after three months without any ambassador, was welcomed because it might bring the ratification of the treaty. In this he proved a disappointment, as his first efforts were directed to settling the maritime disputes between the two countries. The case of the Pearl in particular had been under discussion for over two years. (fn. 6) The English claimed both ship and cargo, as an act of justice, while the French would concede no more than the ship, and as an act of grace. Unable to reach any settlement the king ultimately granted letters of marque to the injured parties, who profited by the concession to capture two French ships. In retaliation the French immediately closed all their ports against the English and seized the ships and goods already there (No. 353). The situation was dangerous as likely to lead to war, while both sides suffered by the complete interruption of trade (No. 403). This mattered the more to the French since, owing to the war with Spain, they had become completely dependent upon English ships for their overseas trade (No. 364). Bellievre persuaded the king to send a proctor, one Wannerton, to Paris to settle the dispute. But though he took powers to the ambassadors to make what settlement they pleased (No. 371), he sent back an unfavourable report, and at the beginning of 1638 the English merchants were very pessimistic on the subject (No. 381). The king, however, showed great determination, moved by the outcry of the traders, that in spite of the heavy taxes they paid, they received no security and suffered as much loss as before the days of ship money. He sent instructions to Leicester not to conduct any business at the French Court until this matter was settled (No. 401). This resolution was followed by immediate results. The French agreed to restore the ship and pay 40,000 florins for compensation, while the English were to pay 8,000 florins for the French ships taken in reprisal, and to revoke the letters of marque. This arrangement satisfied the mart in general, but not those immediately concerned, who complained that the goods in the ship had been sold for over 80,000 florins (Nos. 405, 409).
With this difficulty out of the way the coast was clear for the resumption of the negotiations about the treaty and the Hamburg congress. Much irritation was felt at the hesitation of the Dutch (No. 339) and surprise at the indifference of France (No. 345), whose behaviour seemed very ambiguous (No. 384). Leicester suspected that the French were secretly encouraging the Swedes and Dutch to hang back in order to force England's hands (No. 380). The fundamental difficulty was the well founded suspicion of the allies that England did not mean to contribute anything substantial to the common stock. Richelieu impatiently exclaimed to Correr that England was a country where they talked of everything and decided nothing. Ambassadors had been discussing the question for three years, and the position was worse than ever. They did not intend to come to the point, their sole object being to preserve their own ease. But the wheel of Fortune might have an unlucky turn for them (No. 403).
Dissatisfied with the ambiguous replies of the English Agents at Hamburg, the Swedes sent to London a Scottish colonel, who had been serving in Germany, to discover their real intentions (No. 389). He represented the serious plight of the allied cause, the danger that Sweden might be constrained to make a separate peace, and urged the sending of an ambassador to the congress with full powers. These offices, actively backed by Bellievre, at first met with very little apparent success. But the Dutch having at length decided to send a minister, Charles resolved to do the like and selected Anstruther, who had previous experience in Germany. Anstruther succeeded in evading a position for which he was generally considered unfit (No. 427) and the king thereupon selected Sir Thomas Roe, the man whom public opinion had already indicated as the most suitable (No. 438), who was known to be devoted to the interests of the Palatine House. Although an experienced diplomatist of proved ability Roe had been pining in neglect for some years. (fn. 7) He must have welcomed this opening, unpromising as the prospect might be, and was very soon ready to start. Before leaving he had a long secret interview with the king. He took with him authority to promise help to the Swedes, so that they should no longer obstruct the treaty with France, he was to give the Dutch assurances about their fishermen, and to treat with Denmark and the Princes of Germany in order to get help for the Palatine (No. 440).
Roe expressed confidence in the success of his mission and declared that he meant to put the thing through (No. 469). But no sooner had he arrived that he was met with the straight question whether his king meant to break openly with the House of Austria. He could only make an evasive reply and write for fresh instructions (No. 484). As the Swedes continued to insist upon substantial assistance both in men and money as a condition of the alliance (Nos. 519, 549), there was obviously little hope of progress when England had no intention of doing anything serious in either way. Yet Roe stayed on and at times Charles seemed sanguine of success, although the months slipped away and still the treaty remained unratified. Early in 1639 Leicester had a special audience at which he urged the French king to conclude the negotiations at Hamburg, as if they were not soon resolved his master would recall the ministers he had sent there. The French laid the blame on the Swedes (No. 585); but the collapse of the negotiations was by that time recognised as inevitable. Roe himself saw the position to be hopeless and asked for permission to return (No. 605). By April Richelieu had come to the conclusion that the projected alliance had completely vanished away (No. 643). The faint hope of help from England completely disappeared with the progress of the revolt in Scotland, and the same cause equally dissipated any possibility that Charles might make himself disagreeable. The changed relations were indicated by the prompt response to Bellievre remonstrances at the seizure, by way of reprisal, of a ship from French Canada (No. 534), and by the fear that a French concentration in Normandy might be intended for a descent upon the Channel Islands (No. 629). The turn of Fortune's wheel, foreshadowed by Richelieu, had already come. At the same time, to recall Roe was felt to be too open a confession of failure (No. 623). Accordingly he stayed on and employed his time usefully in coming to a friendly arrangement with Denmark with respect to her claims against the English crown, and for help to the Palatine in the future, while he redeemed jewels pledged in that country (Nos. 696, 707).
The provision of a fleet and the French alliance did not exhaust the efforts made by Charles for the benefit of his nephew. The prince's mother favoured her son appearing in Germany to assert his rights at the head of an army. In the spring of 1637 the Landgrave of Hesse afforded an opportunity of realising this plan by offering the services of his own army in return for a subsidy from England (No. 194). The French ambassador strongly urged the Palatine to take advantage of this chance (No. 233) ; but the prince had no ardent desire to plunge into the welter in Germany. He preferred the ease and pleasure of the English Court (No. 244) and could not conceal his dread of exposing his person in the field (No. 206). He preferred to compromise by accepting what the Spaniards seemed to offer, saying that such proposals ought not to be disdained, since it was better to make sure of a certainty than to run risks for what was uncertain. His ministers were constrained to point out that these Spanish offers were not genuine and were only intended to deceive (No. 221).
With the reported conclusion of the treaty with France the prince set sail for Holland, escorted by the whole fleet. Before he left he received numerous presents, payment of all his debts, the promise of a yearly pension of 12,000, an assurance of help and abundance of good advice from his uncle (No. 253). On his side he presented a paper asking what he should say in reply to the reasonable demands of the allies, the Swedes, the Dutch and the Landgrave of Hesse (Id.). The king's answer, given in person was mainly to the effect that these questions would be dealt with by others (No. 256), and with this answer, which amounted to a snub, the prince was forced to rest content. How little he expected from his uncle's promises appeared very soon after he sailed. His Agent in England called on the Venetian ambassador. After remarking that the prince did not expect much from the French alliance, as they were too feeble to resist the House of Austria, while the Swedes were ruined and the Dutch exhausted, so that all together were unequal to reinstating the prince or to uphold him if they did, he went on to intimate that the friendly mediation of Venice would be highly acceptable (No. 266). The hint was repeated a few weeks later even more explicitly (No. 285). Correr believed that the suggestion originated with the English Court and felt sure that the king would welcome any satisfactory arrangement, even if he had no hand in it himself (No. 282). Yet Charles told the ambassador at this very time that he placed the affairs of his nephew foremost among his most important interests (No. 297), and Leicester was informing the French government that his king would supply the prince with troops to form an army in Germany with which to recover his own (No. 286).
The army suddenly materialised by the unexpected death of the Landgrave of Hesse, whose force was in East Friesland at the time. By the advice of his mother and the Prince of Orange, and encouraged by the offices of the French ambassador at the Hague, who promised help from his master, the prince decided to go and take up the command. At the same time he wrote asking for his uncle's advice, professing that he would be entirely ruled by it. But this feeler merely drew a reply praising his spirit, with only vague promises of support. The English government welcomed any step taken without consulting them first, thinking that under the circumstances the French would have to shoulder the entire burden and that they would escape scot free (Nos. 336, 356). In spite of this chorus of encouragement the prince hesitated to take the plunge. He said he would defer taking up the command until the spring, on the plea that the scarcity of food and forage prevented campaigning in those parts (No. 350). Moreover when it came to the point, the French made their assistance absolutely dependent upon England coming openly into the war on their side (No. 398). Under all the circumstances it is not surprising that the enterprise gave rise to no concern at Vienna (No. 342).
A small force with such meagre backing rendered any considerable enterprise hopeless. But the new year opened prosperously for the allies. The treaty was signed between France and Sweden, the Swedes advanced in Pomerania, and Bernard of Saxe Weimar won a resounding victory on the Rhine. The prince had already purchased Meppen in Westphalia as a magazine, and the brightening prospect stirred his uncle to unwonted efforts of generosity. From the depleted exchequer 20,000 were remitted to Holland for the prince's use, and guns and munitions were forwarded to Meppen while further supplies were promised for the future (Nos. 438, 440, 453, 497). The cause was taken up with enthusiasm in England and many of the younger nobility prepared to go and serve under the young prince (No. 425). The Scots shared in the emulation (No. 507), while the Swedes offered all their forces in Westphalia under General King, a Scottish soldier of fortune in their service (No. 452). By the summer the army had grown to some 5,000 men; an officer was sent to England to raise an additional regiment for which the king readily granted permission (No. 476). But misfortune dogged the enterprise. In May the imperialists surprised and captured Meppen with all its stores. The funds supplied by Charles, though a drain on his slender resources, were quite inadequate for the support of the army, which dwindled so rapidly in consequence that it threatened to disappear altogether (No. 515). Retreating from the siege of Lemgo it was caught in a narrow pass and, the cavalry taking to flight, the infantry were all but annihilated. The prince himself escaped to Minden with the remains of his force. His brother Rupert with Lord Craven fell into the hands of the victors (Nos. 526, 529). The English levy of 600 men did not sail until the end of September (No. 509), and did not arrive in the Weser until after the disaster. Though ready to take service anywhere they found themselves stranded, with no one willing to have them (No. 537).
This unhappy issue to the prince's venture affected the king deeply. His sister, with her usual indomitable spirit, at once wrote to ask him to maintain a force of 4,000 men for her son (No. 535); but this was out of the question, owing to the trouble in Scotland, and because of the demands made upon him by the sudden arrival of the queen mother to claim his unwilling hospitality (Nos. 513, 527). His first thoughts were to obtain the release of Rupert. While in England the young prince had seemed engrossed in the pleasures of the Court and the delights of female society (No. 119). The charms of ease appealed to him more than the practice of arms (No. 206), and amid a round of pleasures he appeared to care little about the honour and fortunes of his house (No. 238). He had now won his spurs by his gallantry in action and in defeat charmed his captors by his superior manners and ideas (No. 611). He was lodged in the imperial palace at Linz in the custody of the Count of Staremberg. It was a relief that he had not been handed over to the duke of Bavaria, who asked this boon of the emperor (No. 563). Very characteristically Charles wished to procure his nephew's enlargement at the expense of someone else. He wanted the French to exchange him against Prince Casimir, whom they had in custody. But the French had other views and did not consider that Charles had any grounds for expecting them to make this sacrifice for him (No. 704).
The emperor proceeded to depress still further the unhappy state of the Palatine by formally excluding him from the peace conference to be held at Cologne. The act stirred Charles to great indignation and a determination to get the decree abolished (No. 570). But fresh schemes were now being woven on the prince's behalf. At the end of 1638 Duke Bernard put the seal on his successes by the capture of Breisach, which at once cut the Spanish land communications with Flanders and gave him the choice of several different lines of attack. Although this success had been won chiefly with French assistance Charles hoped to use it for his own ends and urged the French to get Bernard to make an immediate attack on Bavaria (No. 580). The French made no response to this suggestion, but it was not abandoned on that account. Charles was inclined to encourage the duke's disposition to be more independent of the French and persuade him to use his army for the Palatine's cause (No. 610). This scheme was largely promoted by Oliver Fleming, English Resident with the Swiss, a man of strong anti-French bias, who hoped to make sure of the duke's help by arranging a marriage between him and the Palatine's sister (No. 582). Fleming was in England on this business at the beginning of 1639, when he received the honour of knighthood for his services before returning to his post (No. 617). By April he was back again, bringing a letter from the duke to the king. It was hoped that after completing his operations in Burgundy the duke would lead his army to reconquer the Palatinate, and many English officers wished to go and serve under such a distinguished leader (No. 687). Once again the sudden death of its leader gave the young prince Palatine the chance of an army of his own. He at once hurried to England to persuade his uncle to give him the necessary financial support, of which he was the more hopeful since the agreement with the Scots had just been concluded.
The idea of getting Bernard's army and the possession of Breisach for the prince seems to have originated with Fleming who was to try to enlist the support of the Swiss by trading on their mistrust of the French (No. 694). Notwithstanding this an appeal was made to France for assistance, naturally without any success, indeed the only result was to stimulate the determination of France to get control of that army at once (No. 710). Under existing conditions there was no hope of obtaining money from England, yet the officers of Bernard's army were sounded about the project, and they wrote saying that if England would supply monthly subsidies sufficient to keep up their strength they would have no objection to the Palatine as their commander (No. 705). After deliberation in the Council it was decided to pay the prince three years of his pension in advance, and to promise further supplies if he was successful (No. 707). To find even this amount was a matter of difficulty, and though the king was thought to be eager to get rid of his nephew, it was mid-October before the prince set out from London for Breisach with remittances for 10,000 in his pocket. On the same day Fleming left for Basel (No. 713). The king had his misgivings and sent a courier after the prince warning him to avoid seeing the French king on his way through (No. 718). The expedition was already too late. Four days before the prince started, the French had made an arrangement by which they obtained control of the army. They did not mean to leave anything to chance, and the prince was arrested at Moulins, en route, (fn. 8) while Fleming and Lord Craven were stopped at Paris. The French justified their action by saying that the prince wanted the command in order to pave the way for a settlement of his affairs with the emperor, and the secrecy of his proceedings showed that his design was unfriendly to France (No. 727). The prince was conveyed to Vincennes where, with perhaps intentional irony, he shared captivity with that same Prince Casimir whom his uncle had wished to be exchanged for Rupert. Although closely guarded the prince seemed little disturbed by his misfortune and passed his time very cheerfully with such diversions as were open to him (No. 730).
In England the news at first caused a great sensation, but the feeling soon gave way to indifference, the Court being absorbed in a round of gaiety (No. 731). Over a month passed before Thomas Windebank was sent to Paris to try and obtain the prince's release, but his instructions were all for mildness and peace (No. 738). The French received the envoy courteously, but only gave him general replies, and Richelieu intimated to Correr that they proposed to take advantage of the opportunity to bring pressure on England and make her take part for the common cause, for which every effort had so far been unavailing (No. 749). Bellievre assured Charles that the incident would redound to the prince's advantage (No. 738). The French contemplated putting the prince in command of the army after all, on condition that Charles would supply the cost (No. 735).
While the prince lay in captivity at Vincennes the Venetian ministers succeeded in persuading the emperor and Spain to withdraw their ban on his personal appearance at the congress at Cologne (Nos. 715, 720). Towards the end of 1639 William Curtius, who had acted as agent for the prince in England set out from London to act as Eng lish minister at the diet of the princes held at Frankfort. He carried instructions to urge the princes to protect the Palatine and to prevent anything being done there to his prejudice, or failing that, to denounce anything so done as null and void (No. 740).
Since the departure of Don Carlos Coloma in February 1631 Spanish affairs had been in the hands of the Resident Necolalde, but in July 1636 a new ambassador appeared, the Count of Onate, son of the all powerful Spanish minister in Germany. His advent was awaited with interest and it was thought he might take up the project of an alliance already broached by Necolalde (No. 28). But the new minister from the first adopted an attitude of contemptuous aloofness, inspired no doubt by his father's conviction of the harmlessness of England under the existing conditions. He loitered long at Greenwich, declined an audience which was arranged specially for him and showed no anxiety to get to business (No. 35). He took a house at Chelsea, far from the Court, and continued incognito in the most complete retirement, studiously avoiding a meeting with the king or his ministers (No. 90). This conduct caused much resentment, and various efforts were made to provoke him to action, but all in vain, and even the seizure of money for Flanders did not move him (Nos. 55, 87). His close intimacy with the imperial minister Radolti, who also never appeared at Court, gave equal offence, and it was suspected that they were planning together to cause artificial delays and prevent any vigorous action by England (No. 47). Oate certainly was not idle. He came amply provided with funds, to be spent in bribing the English ministers, while frequent and most secret meetings were held at Necolalde's house (Nos. 65, 106). His first audience did not take place until October, and he gave great offence by employing as interpreter an English Jesuit well known at Court, thereby flouting the laws to the king's own face (No. 86). He had his first private audience at the end of the month after being nearly four months in the country. He merely urged that Arundel should be kept at Vienna, in spite of some criticism of the earl's temper. Charles replied dryly, as he had expected something more substantial after the long delay (No. 98). Onate then retired into his shell again, from which no provocation would draw him. To the amazement of the Court he showed not the least concern about the negotiations for the French alliance (Nos. 107, 116). Yet he contrived to work in secret and a probable result of his activities was a proposal made to Charles by some of his ministers to give his fleet to the Spaniards, in return for which they would obtain complete satisfaction for his nephew (No. 154).
The return of Arundel and the prospect of strong measures in favour of the Palatine at last stirred him to activity. His first line was to threaten immediate war as the consequence of any covert acts of hostility. Finding that this made no impression he began to attack the treaty with France. Boasting that he had full information of all that was going on (No. 201) he pointed out the weakness of France, her failure to support Parma in Italy, to hold her own in the Valtelline or to gain any advantage over the House of Austria, so that the English ministers were led to reflect that even if the Palatinate were won with French help, they could not feel sure of holding their conquests, since the French had never shown themselves capable of holding for long what the fortune of war gave them (No. 212). Onate insinuated that much more was to be anticipated from a friendly arrangement with the House of Austria, viz. : the immediate surrender of the Lower Palatinate, a compromise about the vote and even more if they would join in an alliance against the Dutch, who merited his Majesty's displeasure for daring to contest his claim to the sovereignty of the seas (Nos. 194, 212). He claimed to have full power to make the restitution and said that some fortresses in the Netherlands would be given to hold as a pledge until the transfer could be completed. As a token of goodwill he presented the king with two fine Spanish horses and gave another to Hamilton, remarking that he had some more very fleet ones to send the news of the final agreement to his master (No. 206). His proposals fell on willing ears, he had long conferences with the secretaries of state, and commissioners were appointed for him after this had first been refused (Nos. 201, 221). But news received from Germany exposed the duplicity of his offers (No. 230), while the grant of a levy of 4,000 men to the Swedes gave Onate an excuse for declaring that his instructions no longer held good and for threatening to demand his passports. The king, in response, merely remarked that if he wished to leave he would not find anyone to beg him to stay (No. 226). Revenge was taken for his previous conduct by steadily ignoring all his demands and the government apparently wished to treat him as Arundel had been served in Germany (No. 238).
At this critical moment Onate fell ill and took to his bed. It looked as if the French ambassador had driven him from the field, and his indisposition was referred to sarcastically as the French sickness. (fn. 9) But his illness seems to have been quite genuine (Nos. 246, 255) and the success of his rivals was more apparent than real. The French treaty was announced, but it was not ratified either then or thereafter, and while Senneterre departed, Onate remained. While still in bed he received Correr and railed at the English Court and its methods. The agreement with France looked very fine, but it was impracticable as the French lacked money and the king of England was in no condition to supply it (No. 255). As soon as he was about again he declared that he would make no further overtures, as he had already gone far enough, but he professed his willingness to settle the Palatine question in an amicable manner (No. 267), and even hinted that he would welcome Correr's mediation (No. 274). At the same time he threatened immediate war if the king's ships, whether commanded by the Palatine or any one else, committed any hostile acts against the king of Spain (No. 247). As for the French alliance, he laughed at it, affirming that his master had the means to stir up such trouble in Great Britain that would very soon compel the English to recall any ships and troops they might send to help the French (No. 379). The Spaniards had been preparing for some time to turn the disaffection in the country to account (No. 261). They had arranged to supply money to start a rebellion and were even ready to take the lead should war be declared (No. 279). But this was unlikely. The indifference of France and the conduct of the allies made Charles incline more and more to renew negotiations with the Austrians (No. 297). Oate was content to watch the trend of events and to bide his time (No. 327). Before he left England he was able to report that the king was more inclined to an alliance with Spain than to one with France (No. 448).
Though he had not failed diplomatically Onate had made himself personally impossible. He seemed to take pleasure in giving offence, and that even when he might have been expected to show himself most conciliatory. Thus he abstained from giving any formal intimation of the death of the Emperor Ferdinand II., when this was expected of him (No. 194). He deliberately refrained from visiting the ministers of state, declaring it was their business to call on him first, contrary to the practice of all his predecessors. When asking for commissioners to treat he expressly excluded Holland and Coke by name, as professed enemies of the House of Austria thereby eliciting a sharp retort from the king (No. 199). He gave mortal offence by failing to appear at an audience arranged at his own request and his plea of indisposition was not credited (No. 282). He ostentatiously went to visit the Polish ambassador Rey, whom the king had refused to receive, well knowing that the act would be taken in ill part (No. 312). He vindicated his ambassadorial privilege by rescuing by armed force some loose women who had relations with his servants. The king, when he heard about it, told Onate that if he came to harm on such escapades he would have to put up with the consequences (No. 279). His conduct aroused increasing resentment, and at last the king had formal complaint made against him at Madrid (No. 315). A successor was appointed soon after, but Onate remained in England nearly 8 months longer, sighing for the day of his release.
The last part of his stay was chiefly occupied with a dispute, mainly private in character, upon which the Domestic State Papers contain many particulars. He had come to England in the Victory, a royal ship, Captain Stewart. Among the cargo were ten cases of reals belonging to Franchi, a Genoese merchant. Oate declared these to be the property of his king, because they had not paid duty. He induced Stewart to seize them for him promising to guarantee him against any unpleasant consequences. Once in England Franchi brought an action for the money against Stewart, which he won ; but when Stewart asked Onate to make good his promise, the ambassador coolly referred him to Spain for redress. Thereupon Stewart sought and obtained powers to lay hands on Onate's goods, to indemnify him for his loss. For a long time Oate avoided speaking to the king about this affair. Eventually he did so, representing that the property seized by Stewart belonged to his king. At his request the case was referred to the Admiralty commissioners, but their procedure was too slow for Oate, who by that time was impatient to be off. The king then took the case into his own hand, and pronounced that the property of ambassadors was inviolable; but he offered to grant letters of marque to Stewart so that he could indemnify himself by Spanish ships and goods. At this Oate haughtily declared that he would not ask any more for the release of the goods. If the seizure was unlawful the king should annul it himself. He was very angry about the threat of reprisals, yet he stooped to ask for commissioners who could decide the case in the king's presence. They decided in Onate's favour, while covering Stewart against Franchi, much to the indignation of the last, who threatened reprisals at Genoa (Nos. 287, 413, 423, 434, 438, 440, 447).
In spite of all that had passed Oate had an excellent send off, the king giving him four horses, besides the usual present and putting a royal ship at his disposal (No. 449), yet at the very end, when he remained covered before the queen, all were convinced that he acted out of malice though he had the right (No. 447).
Oate was relieved by Don Alonso Cardenas, who was accompanied by the duchess of Chevreuse, than a refugee from France. At the same time Lord Aston was leaving Madrid after acting as ambassador there for 2 years. From the efforts of these three the Spaniards counted on good results. Before Aston left Olivares handed him a paper for the king, holding out hopes of the restoration of the Palatinate through the negotiations at Cologne (No. 448). The French had feared the intrigues of the duchess against the treaty (Nos. 292, 299), and the Spaniards expected much from her efforts (No. 400). She was a favourite of the queen, whom she had accompanied to England, and the king esteemed her highly (No. 304). She was at once in her usual atmosphere of intrigue. Her privilege of sitting in the queen's presence, as a kinswoman, made trouble with Bellievre and at Paris. She tried her arts on Holland to make him a Catholic and win him over from the French side (No. 447). She artfully threw out the suggestion of a marriage between the Spanish Infant and the Princess Mary. In spite of all that had passed, not only the queen but the king was attracted by this bait (No. 728). She succeeded in making both believe that she had power to conclude the match (No. 456), and as a step towards it, the queen let her take the little princess to mass (No. 659).
The Resident Cardenas played second to this active woman. She was in constant communication with Spain, and it became his practice to go to her for instruction and information (No. 519). But he suffered a mishap. A letter of his to Count Kurtz at Hamburg was intercepted advising the Count to drop the Palatine question, as he himself was dealing with it (No. 542). Charles was furious, since he had promised the French that he would not treat at all with the Spaniards so long as the Hamburg negotiations continued (No. 580). He declined to have any further dealings with the minister whom he denounced as a liar at Madrid, Brussels and Vienna (No. 542). Cardenas denied the actual message but asserted that the information came from the king's own lips, a statement borne out by the interpreter. (fn. 10) The king denied it stoutly, a warning says Giustinian significantly, to all who deal with his Majesty to trust in the future to the pen rather than to the tongue (No. 549). Cardenas was not restored to favour for over 9 months, when he was again received, chiefly through the efforts of Hopton (No. 709).
Despite the king's denial of negotiations with the Spaniards, repeated to the French and Venetian ambassadors, belief in their existence remained unshaken, not without cause. When Arundel left Germany the envoy Taylor remained behind and continued to negotiate (No. 130). Although he intimated that he was no longer a minister, this was not believed as he was known to be in regular receipt of letters and instructions from home (No. 202). Though he was undoubtedly there by the king's command and in the king's pay, the English ministers met French objections by asserting that his credentials had been withdrawn and any business he did was on his own responsibility (Nos. 285, 413). The Spaniards, on the contrary, asserted that he had fresh credentials for the emperor (No. 244). When the alliance with France was announced Vienna became apprehensive of an open breach ; but Taylor assured them it would not come to this. He kept alive the hope of an adjustment, promising that if the emperor would finally settle the matter England would give up all idea of helping his enemies (No. 275). Even when relations seemed most strained he remained on friendly terms with the ministers and was well received everywhere (No. 291). The Austrians were glad of this as though they did not apprehend much harm from the Palatine they recognised that a settlement of the question would do most to discourage their enemies and lead towards peace (No. 342). Thus negotiations with the Hapsburgs had never really been broken off. After the formal exclusion of the Palatine from the Cologne congress, Bavaria suggested referring the prince's affairs to a special meeting at Brussels. Measures were taken to secure the cooperation of Spain, and meanwhile the details of a settlement were thrashed out at Vienna with the help of Prince Tomaso of Savoy. By this Bavaria was to keep the vote and the Upper Palatinate. The Lower province was to be restored, with Heidelberg, for which Bavaria should have compensation from the emperor and Spain. The Palatines would only get the vote on the Bavarian line becoming extinct. In return for this England was to join in expelling the French from the empire, for the restoration of Piedmont, Monferrat, Alsace and Lorraine, and for a general peace (Nos. 587, 618). With this plan Taylor started for Brussels, telling Grimani that he had settled all the essential points with Bavaria and the Austrians, and they only wanted the consent of Spain (No. 627).
In spite of the utmost secrecy something of these plans leaked out, and the nuncio at Venice imparted to the Collegio what he had learned (No. 625). Something was also known at Paris, where the French were being asked to get passports for Cologne. The result of this double dealing was to excite suspicion and to paralyse action. The emperor, who had arranged the Brussels plan to please England, stayed his hand when he heard of the Paris proceedings (No. 632). There the denials of the Brussels affair met with polite incredulity. Leicester was put out of countenance because he felt sure that the conference had been arranged in concert with his master (No. 570). Under these conditions the Brussels plan came to nothing. To clear things up Correr wrote from Paris to England to discover whether Charles wanted passports for Cologne or whether he preferred a special conference at Brussels (Nos. 652, 665). He only elicited an assurance from the king that he had never agreed to Brussels. Taylor acted without authority and when he returned he would be punished (No. 671). Yet in spite of these denials and a repetition of the promise to the French, Cardenas denas continued to treat very secretly with Windebank (No. 661), and the king agreed to listen to his proposals (No. 656), though he would not hear of Brussels (No. 659). He told Bellievre that the idea had been started by the Cardinal Infant but had not been taken up in England, yet before the month was out the meeting was again under serious consideration (No. 670). When Taylor reached home the king demanded an account of his operations and sent him to the Tower. It was generally believed that this was only to save the king's face and to satisfy Bellievre. It was expected that he would eventually receive a reward instead of punishment (No. 707). (fn. 11)
The great service rendered to Spain at this time was the keeping open of her sea communications with the Netherlands. The ship which brought Onate had on board two million florins for Flanders. Three months later another million passed through Dover for the same destination (No. 87). In September five royal ships convoyed across a fleet of 24 Spanish vessels with 4,000 men and two million florins (No. 71). The French and Dutch ambassadors remonstrated in vain; but the king's own action seems to have checked the practice for a time. He laid hands on the money that came with Onate for some old debts he claimed to be due. It was taken across against his express command, an action which showed, incidentally, to what lengths the Hispanophiles were prepared to go, and for which Windebank and Cottington were for a while in deep disgrace (No. 62). To make up for the miscarriage the next instalment was also seized (No. 87). In response the Spaniards seem to have stopped trade with London on the pretext of the plague there, and they refused to withdraw the prohibition despite the strenuous efforts of Aston. At the same time the money for Flanders was all sent by way of Italy (No. 167). But in the next year the traffic was proceeding regularly as before, without interruption (No. 300), in spite of remonstrance from France and resentment in Holland (Nos. 417, 446). Nor was English help confined to this service. In July 1637 an English squadron came out from Portland and stopped a fight in which the Dunkirkers were being worsted by the Dutch (No. 261). Soon after Cardenas arrived in England he bought a large quantity of gunpowder and lead for Flanders. Gunpowder of excellent quality was made in England in large quantities, but it was a royal monopoly (No. 514). The king charged double the usual rate, but it was part of the bargain that the consignment should be convoyed across at the king's risk. When Joachimi remonstrated, Charles admitted the sale, but added, disingenously, that once sold the powder no longer belonged to him. In France this affair caused great indignation (Nos. 452, 456, 460, 464).
To improve their communications with Flanders the Spaniards greatly strengthened the Dunkirk fleet, and there was considerable activity in the Spanish dockyards. English ships helped by bringing materials, and several of them fell a prey to the French navy (No. 510). Towards the end of 1637 a fleet from Spain succeeded in getting through to Dunkirk with 500 chests of money and 4,000 soldiers, though the Dutch captured two ships (No. 372). The fleet should have returned at once, but could not elude the vigilance of the Dutch. To facilitate their getting away unobserved the port was absolutely closed and the utmost secrecy enjoined (No. 409). After long delay they sailed at length, but returned almost immediately, having got no further than Calais (No. 413). A month later, on the 5th April the fleet sailed, making straight for an English port, where the admiral busily laid in stores and then slipped away safely to Spain (Nos. 423, 425). In the following year the fleet from Dunkirk was not so fortunate and suffered a severe defeat off Gravelines. Some of the ships which took refuge in English ports were seized as reprisals by the king's order (No. 582). The hazards of the voyage and the loss of Breisach led the Spaniards to prepare an expedition on the largest scale attempted since the Armada. They hoped at the same time to use English merchantmen to transport their troops. The French and Dutch gave fair warning that they would not respect the neutrality of ships so engaged (No. 629), and the Admiralty thereupon forbad merchants to send their ships to Spain for this purpose though already arranged (No. 644); but the embargo was almost immediately withdrawn. The king told Bellievre and Joachimi that he could not prevent merchants from taking what cargoes they pleased, but they should not be escorted by warships. He intimated that the captains could look after themselves (Nos. 649, 654). In spite of this Bellievre suspected that the eight ships kept to guard the Channel might be used to protect the passage of these troops (No. 656).
By summer the great Spanish fleet was nearly ready. To transport the soldiers they engaged 12 English merchantmen. Some of these started ahead of the fleet, either through the impetuosity of the English captains, or as an experiment as to the chances of the fleet. Tromp with 26 ships was patrolling the Channel from Portland to the Downs. On the 28th June he fell in with three out of the advanced squadron of five, and took off 1,070 Spanish soldiers, allowing the ships to go free and even leaving them their passage money (Nos. 670, 673). Those who escaped were landed in England and proceeded to London, whence they were safely passed over to their destination. They complained that the English captains had betrayed their comrades (Nos. 674, 684). Soon after 1,800 more men and 900,000 ducats were brought safely to England to go on to Flanders (No. 705). Under pressure from the merchants the king remonstrated with Joachimi for the search of ships under the English flag (No. 679). He spoke on the same subject to Bellievre, but the ambassador replied boldly that the English captains broke the treaty by taking men and munitions to Flanders, and France would look after her own interests (No. 684). This mishap to the merchantmen no doubt prompted an offer from Cardenas to pay 12,000 crowns for a royal ship to take money from Spain to Flanders (No. 687).
It was not until September that the Spanish Admiral Oquendo brought his fleet into the Channel. When he arrived in the Straits of Dover Tromp, with only 28 ships against 66, boldly attacked him and after a fierce fight, lasting two days, drove him to take refuge under the guns of Dover castle. The fight roused great excitement in England, where it recalled the Armada and admiration was felt at such a spirited attack against superior numbers and bigger ships. The Spaniard suffered by comparison, though he is said to have run out of powder. The Downs now became a centre of interest and intrigue. Cardenas tried to enlist the king's help for his fleet, to enable it to escape without a fight. The Dutch backed by the Princess Palatine urged him to lay hands on the ships and money and use them for his nephew's cause, because they cherished hostile designs against his dominions (Nos. 708, 709). Putting aside these suggestions Charles proclaimed his neutrality and said he would support the fleet that was first attacked (No. 709). At the same time he told Tromp that he meant to get rid of the Spaniards soon (No. 711). He interpreted neutrality very favourably for the Spaniards. Oquendo showed more skill in diplomacy than in war and it is hinted that he bribed both the king and his ministers (No. 709). Early in the blockade 14 small Dunkirkers got away to Flanders with a million in cash and the greater part of the troops. The Dutch declared that Pennington, commanding the English observation squadron, had deliberately arranged for this, and had escorted the ships out of danger (No. 711). Further the king supplied the Spaniards with powder, food and other necessaries of which they were short, despite the remonstrances of Bellievre and Joachimi (Nos. 707, 713). The English ministers would have liked to assist Oquendo to escape altogether, but this was frustrated by the growing strength of the Dutch fleet (No. 713). The king did his best to strengthen the force under Pennington. Several merchantmen were pressed into the service, and other royal ships were fitting out, including the Sovereign of the Seas, the most powerful ship then afloat (No. 709). But with all this it was not nearly strong enough to cope with the forces of which the Dutch now disposed. On the other hand, the Spanish fleet grew steadily weaker by the desertion and death of its crews (No. 709). The Cardinal Infant tried hard to send a squadron to relieve Oquendo, but found it difficult to evade the Dutch blockade (Nos. 707, 709), though he eventually got through a squadron of 16 ships and a reinforcement of 800 sailors, who were badly needed (No. 718).
In the Netherlands the greatest excitement reigned, and only the fear of offending Charles held them back from an immediate attack. The partiality shown to the Spaniards roused great indignation, which was fomented by the preachers (No. 712). But prudence made them hestitate. Many debates took place and the Prince of Orange was especially consulted. Tromp advocated immediate action, but he wanted definite orders, and the States tried to evade the responsibility (No. 711). The country was carried away by the expectation of certain victory, and that achieved, they felt sure they could mollify Charles (No. 719). So the die was cast. A Dutch soldier slain during the usual musketry practice of the Spaniards afforded the pretext. The Dutch paraded the body before the English and accused the Spaniards of having broken neutrality. Tromp notified Pennington of his intention to attack on the evening of the 20th October, and on the following day he fell upon Oquendo. The Spaniards put out to sea, though many ran themselves aground rather than take part in the fight. Oquendo got away in a fog to Dunkirk with 9 ships, but his flagship was too large to enter the port and had to be dismantled and abandoned (Nos. 721, 722, 724). Pennington had been expecting the action and some days before, on noticing signals from the Dutch admiral, had moved to put the Dutch between himself and the Spaniards, declaring that he would support the latter if attacked (No. 716). He sent for definite instructions in case the Dutch infringed neutrality, but with Tromp so strong, the government avoided committing itself. On the day of the fight he found himself with only 11 ships, some having gone over with the Palatine, while several merchantmen, grown weary of waiting, had withdrawn to the Thames (Nos. 721, 722). He made no effort to stop the fight and merely fired a few shots in formal protest. (fn. 12)
Charles was deeply incensed at the insult, but in his position he could not afford to nurse his resentment for long. The battle had upset a situation from which he had drawn profit and hoped to draw more, and had left him in ill odour with both combatants. He did what he could for the discomfited Spaniards. Ten of the beached ships, the bulk of the Spanish infantry and a fresh supply of money from Cadiz were safely conveyed to Dunkirk (Nos. 728, 736). The guns and tackle of wrecked ships he presented freely to the king of Spain, waiving his Admiralty rights (No. 731). A special envoy was sent with much mystery to explain matters to the Cardinal Infant (No. 724). But it won him no gratitude. In Spain they laid the blame for the disaster on his shoulders. (fn. 13) His friendship did not help them at all, and he ought to escort and protect their ships (No. 733). Yet the battle rendered the goodwill of England more necessary than ever to the Spaniards. The Cardinal Infant, whose position was most immediately affected at once sent to Madrid urging them to despatch an ambassador to England with instructions to settle the Palatinate question and make some arrangement to counterbalance the ascendancy of the Dutch at sea (No. 734). Hopton had to disabuse the Spanish Court of the idea that England had any such notion (No. 739). To make good the loss an English contractor in Spain offered to procure them forty English ships (No. 733). In England attractive terms were offered to induce merchants to put 20 armed ships at the disposal of Spain to transport men and money to Flanders (No. 750), providing a very satisfactory answer to the ungenerous insinuations against the captains who had fallen into the hands of Tromp.
The fear that the French and Dutch might get possession of Dunkirk accounts very largely for the favours shown to the Spaniards. In the spring of 1637 the Prince of Orange asked the French for troops to attack the place and undertook to attempt the capture of Gravelines as well, to hand over to them. The French could not send troops at the time but were ready to promise money (No. 215). In the following year, to prevent an expected combination of the French and Dutch fleets against the place, Pennington had orders to take his station opposite the coast of Flanders and keep them under observation (No. 449). A year later the delivery at Calais of a quantity of stores for Holland again aroused anxiety (No. 605). It was suspected that the archbishop of Bordeaux's fleet might have designs on Gravelines or Dunkirk or both, since the king's difficulties in Scotland afforded a favourable opportunity (Nos. 630, 643). This fleet, some 80 sail strong, was cruising unchecked in the Channel, causing much alarm. In spite of his pre-occupations Charles was determined, so far as he might, to thwart an enterprise so mischievous to the safety and repose of his dominions (No. 663). (fn. 14)
The English claim to supremacy at sea became in practice little more than an effort to extort fishing licences from the Dutch and caused an amount of irritation out of all proportion to any possible gain. Charles would consider no compromise and refused even to discuss the question (No. 69). In the Netherlands the pretension caused extreme excitement and only the pressing difficulties of the time prevented immediate war. At Rotterdam a serious riot broke out among the sailors, who would have smashed the houses and magazines of the English merchants if the magistrates had not intervened (No. 52). Even those who counselled prudence urged that they should wait for a more favourable moment to assert their rights (No. 57). The Prince of Orange himself in trying to calm the States of Holland, said that they must avoid precipitate action and not encourage the Spaniards to risk another war. Taxes could not be increased, but they might vindicate their liberty at sea when a truce had been arranged (No. 118). The Dutch bowed their heads to the inevitable, but they told the English that their action might force the States to make terms with the Spaniards; and Beveren sought out an interview with the Prince Palatine on purpose to warn him of this possibility (No. 122). The threat made very little impression on the English ministers, who considered any agreement between the Dutch and Spaniards extremely improbable (No. 124).
The failure of Arundel's mission and the negotiation for the French alliance materially altered the situation. Charles, though not ready to give up the principle, was willing in practice to leave the fishermen alone. He wanted to use this concession as a lever to obtain help for the Palatine, promising in return that he would not mention the sovereignty of the sea for some time (No. 204). A difficulty in the way of this policy was the popularity of the claim, and its justification of the ship money tax (No. 184). The Dutch did not feel at all inclined to accept the solution offered. The Prince of Orange frankly told the Princess Palatine that they would do nothing for her son unless they had a formal declaration that the liberty of the sea would not be infringed (No. 217). When Beveren left England in the summer of 1637 the question remained unsettled and his departure caused the English ministers some an xiety (No. 267). Under the terms of the recent arrangement with France the Dutch held the key to the situation (No. 271). They were in no mood to be accommodating. It would be a serious matter for them to enter a league against the House of Austria without very considerable and assured advantages. They had no reason to expect anything from England (No. 320). Meanwhile they prepared to defend their rights. Their old admiral Dorp was replaced in October by one of a very different stamp, the famous Tromp. The new commander took his station off the coast of England with a determination to engage the fleet and put everything to hazard in case of need (No. 351). The changed spirit was illustrated by the refusal of a Dutch man of war to veil her topsail to an English frigate, shots being exchanged and the frigate sheering off with loss (No. 484).
Although the main difficulty was solved by force of circumstances in the course of 1637, other incidents occurred from time to time, notably by the issue of letters of marque, by virtue of which three Dutch ships were taken in a short time, and one, with a rich cargo, attacked and burned in Plymouth Sound. The king, by no means pleased at the readiness with which the Council granted letters of marque had these suspended, when the ambassador remonstrated, and the cases were referred to the Admiralty Court (Nos. 488, 497, 527). The English government were very anxious to prevent supplies reaching the Scots from Holland, which was suspected of sympathies with the rebels. The fleet was sent north to intercept any that might be sent but the Scots succeeded in obtaining as much as they required (Nos. 512, 573). Boswell, the English Agent, went so far as to ask the States to forbid their subjects to trade with the Scots and to expel them from their mart at Rotterdam. But the Dutch had no mind to destroy a lucrative business and made an evasive reply (No. 664). When the fleet returned from the North, the London merchants rejoiced, hoping that it would impose more respect for the flag (No. 684). It signalised its arrival by seizing six Dutch warships anchored off Folkestone, though these were speedily released with an apology (Nos. 687, 689). The Dutch were very indig Wt, 28588. VPd. nant and announced that their sailors were authorised to defend themselves, no matter what the consequences might be (No. 698).
The climax came with the attack on Oquendo in the Downs. The Dutch feared that the action might bring England and Spain closer together. But they relied on the king's natural kindliness (No. 725) and were relieved that the arrest of the Palatine and the affairs of Scotland gave him something else to think about (Nos. 729, 732). Yet they hastened to send over their most seasoned diplomat, Aerssens, to mollify the king's resentment. Although Aerssens was obliged to resort to stratagem to get a hearing (No. 741) he made himself agreeable to the king by his address, and helped by the queen he was soon able to report all danger at an end, and even suggested a closer alliance (Nos. 740, 741), to allow the Dutch to attack the Spaniards in English waters and to stop the traffic in men and money to Flanders. Charles was not prepared to go so far, though he was not willing to sacrifice Dutch trade either, which had become the most valuable of all (No. 738). In the Netherlands it was believed that the king would temporise until he had heard what the ambassador expected from Spain had to say (No. 748).
According to Correr, Charles had set himself the definite task of providing a steady revenue, independent of parliament, while proceeding under the forms of law, and in this way designed to make himself the most powerful sovereign in Europe (No. 329, p. 308). For a regular revenue he relied on taxes on commodities and taxes on houses, under the name of ship money. The merchants had not resisted the former, as expected, and they were not only regularly collected but increased from time to time. To prevent evasion ships were stopped in passing through the Downs and compelled to pay even if they had not put in at any port (Nos. 124, 127, 133). Articles produced in the country were made to contribute by a system of monopolies, for which the grantees paid an agreed sum to the exchequer (No. 180). The privileges of the guilds were threatened by issuing permits to foreigners to practise their trade in the city for a fee of 25 crowns (No. 416). It has been usual, following Clarendon, (fn. 15) to represent the time of Charles's personal government as one of great material prosperity. This needs some qualification in the light of statements recorded here. The collection of duties at sea materially reduced the volume of trade passing through (No. 221). The augmented duties on commodities caused an incredible scarcity of everything and raised a general outcry (No. 416). This artificial famine followed close upon a natural scarcity due to a great drought in the summer of 1636, so severe that at the end of August the trees were as bare as in mid-winter. This made the lot of the rural population intolerable and even the wealthy felt the strain (No. 62).
Custom did not make the other source of steady revenue, ship money, any easier to collect. When it was wanted for the Palatine's fleet the inland counties declared that they should not be compelled to pay for ships that were to serve foreign princes ; if the king wanted to make war and help his friends, he must appeal to parliament (No. 111). In spite of stringent orders the tax came in very slowly, and severity only seemed to make the people more determined to resist (No. 139). To facilitate the collection the king obtained a favourable opinion from his judges, and the Venetian ambassador apparently believed that he had arrived in sight of his goal (No. 165). Certainly the money began to come in more freely, though it was considered necessary to humour the people by giving out that it would be employed to secure mastery at sea (No. 124). At the same time a Suffolk magistrate was punished for saying, when asked his opinion, that the collection ought to be regularised by parliament (No. 180). Considerable astonishment was felt at the king allowing the case to be brought up again in the following year (No. 356). It certainly was not to his advantage to have it re-opened and discussed amid a chorus of excited comment, libels and squibs circulating through city and country. Popular opinion judged that the upholders of the prerogative put up a feeble defence against their opponents. The judges stood exposed to the wrath of their master on the one side and the violence of the people on the other. Two of them, unwilling to pronounce against the king, were said to be anxious to resign. The mere fact of the trial increased the difficulty of collecting the tax and the discontent at its enforcement. No person of rank would pay voluntarily, preferring to submit to distraint. The collection proceeded so slowly that the sheriffs were summoned before the Council and sharply reprimanded. To encourage payment the people were told that the tax was being collected for the last time and that the king would not ask for it again (Nos. 379, 397, 405). By April 1637 the amount collected was altogether inadequate, yet extreme severity against defaulters was avoided because of the trouble in Scotland and the danger of increasing discontent in England (No. 427). The decision of the judges in the king's favour brought him no advantage. Those who refused payment still persisted. The judges were loudly cursed and an official distraining for the tax was mobbed (Nos. 460, 465).
Suspicion of a tendency to Rome contributed largely to swell the sum of discontent. Direct relations with the Roman Court had been opened by the arrival of Panzani in 1634. Although he came primarily to reconcile differences among the Catholics themselves his ambition extended to the reconciliation of England to Rome. Overcoming the queen's reluctance to interfere in state affairs (No. 14) he induced her to tease the king to agree to the appointment of a Catholic bishop for England. Although fearing that it might open the way to civil strife Charles finally consented provided the bishop would confine himself to his legitimate functions and the pope would cease to condemn those Catholics who took the oath of allegiance. As the pope would not agree to this Panzani gave up asking for a bishop and devoted himself to getting the oath altered or abolished (Nos. 70, 134). To carry on the work he induced the king to allow a papal agent to reside with the queen. The one selected was George Conn, a Scot, and a canon of St. John Lateran. Charles prescribed that the agent must not be a priest, and to conform to this Conn resigned the canonicate (No. 329, p. 303). He was an able man but taciturn, lacking some of the arts of a courtier ; yet the king received him cordially and he soon won a place of consideration. He had as free access to the king as his most familiar servants, and was visited in his own house even by the most rigid Protestants (No. 231). Unlike Panzani he was friendly with the Jesuits, though they were known to be indifferent about reunion.
Conn's first energies were directed to relieving the Catholics from distraint for refusing the oath. But this was dangerous ground, rousing violent opposition and giving his enemies some cause for accusing him of fomenting civil strife (No. 134). The king formally declared that he did not intend the oath to derogate in any way from the pope's authority, but Rome was not satisfied with this and desired words offensive to the pope to be ruled out altogether. That settled the matter because parliament alone had the power (No. 161).
The work of proselytising Conn seems to have left mainly to the queen's almoner and her confessor, to whom he held out hopes of the red hat for their zeal. They shewed great enthusiasm and were not always too scrupulous. They offered one bishop the red hat if he would make open profession of his belief in the Roman Church. Special efforts were made to win the prince's tutor, Brian Duppa (Nos. 161, 231). Conn himself had hopes of the cardinalate, and as the king discovered no objection to this idea, the only probable obstacle in the way seemed removed. But the occasion passed and did not return.
Besides these spiritual activities Conn tried to promote commercial relations with the States of the Church. Civitavecchia was declared open to English traders, who were assured they should not be molested on the score of religion. They asked for the same privileges at Ancona and to establish commercial houses in the papal States with personal freedom of conscience. The former was granted, but the latter condition seemed too hard. Yet no nation was made more of at Rome at the time, than the English, whereas previously they could only slink about in disguise. In England too the Catholic priests enjoyed more liberty than ever before, celebrating mass regularly in private houses, while the chapels of the queen and the foreign ministers were thronged with worshippers (Nos. 70, 231).
This apparent coquetting with Rome joined with the ceremonial forms and observances favoured by Laud caused deep resentment and suspicion, so that quite harmless acts and sayings were taken amiss, such as a visit casually paid by the king and queen to the new convent of the Capuchins (No. 134), and a mild jest of Charles about a present from Rome (No. 70). A furious storm was roused by the discovery that a Jesuit was educating the sons of some of the leading nobles in the Roman faith, with their fathers' permission (No. 139). The Calvinist party was estimated to number three-fifths of the population (No. 416), and the fear of Rome induced many of the more moderate Anglicans to join the Puritans (No. 329, pp. 301, 304). Charles considered himself a Catholic and accepted some things considered distinctively Roman, such as auricular confession, so much so that he punished a minister who disclosed a serious crime revealed in confession (No. 231). This did not prevent him from removing Buckingham's children from the custody of their mother because she was a Catholic (No. 161). In effect the king, like Laud, who guided him in ecclesiastical matters, was rather anti-Puritan than pro-Catholic, and their policy was to destroy the former by the help of the latter which was then to be destroyed in its turn (No. 384). But the effort proved vain ; though numbers of ministers were deprived for refusing to submit to Laud's ecclesiastical reforms (No. 329, p. 304), and others were savagely punished, the movement only grew stronger and men were ready to sacrifice their goods and even their lives for the cause (Nos. 261, 267), while their persecutors incurred a rich harvest of hate. Men were heard to express regret that whereas in the past a man was found bold enough to take Buckingham's life there was no one to do the same to an even worse minister, who was heading for the complete overthrow of the kingdom (No. 421).
The Venetian ambassadors often intimated that disaffection in England was unlikely to be dangerous because of the lack of a leader. Early in 1637 matters seemed to be coming to a head. Secret meetings attended by influential men were held to consider resistance to the royal encroachments and to ask the king to summon parliament. It was part of their design to depose the archbishop of Canterbury and to sweep away all his reforms (No. 139). Nothing came of it and although the king was aware of these secret meetings he does not seem to have thought them worth troubling about (No. 149). The time was not yet, but after another six months there was to come a lead, if not a leader.
The riot in Edinburgh was at once felt to be dangerous because of possible repercussion in England, and it absorbed the earnest attention of the government. The king inclined to mild measures. Laud, though exceedingly depressed, feeling that his whole system was attacked, used his influence to prevent premature action and proposed to reserve his revenge for a later time. He insisted, however, that the new order should be upheld, and his views prevailing, instructions were sent to Scotland in that sense (Nos. 282, 289, 300, 304). The Scots were not in the least intimidated. They refused to obey, offering at the same time to dispute the points in controversy and submit to an impartial judgment. Laud was greatly piqued and declared he would risk all before he would yield a jot (No. 336).
It soon became evident that the king's authority in Scotland counted for naught. The whole people was united against the new liturgy. The bishops went in fear of their lives ; one who tried to read the service was mobbed, another was compelled to read the old service instead while a third, in alarm, shut himself up in his house. The king's proclamation was publicly burned and there was even some talk of choosing a new sovereign. By Laud's advice the earl of Roxburgh was sent to try and persuade them to submit. He had powers, kept very secret, to offer them, in the last resort, a term of four years in which to practice their own rites (No. 375), but this was utterly refused with a demand for the complete revocation of all innovations. Roxburgh reported his belief that the Treasurer Traquair and other nobles were secretly fomenting the revolt while pretending to urge obedience.
Much surprised at the failure of the measures taken the king, again acting on Laud's advice, sent for Traquair and two others, to come to London, intending to summon the rest, one by one, if the example of the first did not suffice. Great secrecy was observed over all these proceedings and it was announced at Court that a composition had been effected (No. 388). Traquair arrived in February and had several private conferences with the king. He begged Charles not to drive the people to extremity, and prayed God to enlighten those who gave him such pernicious advice. But he only angered the king, who threatened to punish Edinburgh by removing the Council and the Courts of Justice to Stirling. The Scots at Court deplored this obstinacy, but the king would not listen to better advice (No. 409). Hoping to divide the rebels he issued a conditional pardon, from which Edinburgh and two other towns which had ill treated their bishops were exempted, and with this Traquair recrossed the border (No. 416). But the king's measures only served to cement the solidarity of the Scots. They treated the royal pardon and proclamations with contempt and set to work to organise the national resistance (No. 421). In a few weeks the Treasurer, with other officials, were back in London, having escaped in order to avoid signing the Covenant (No. 427).
The king appeared unaware of the nature of the gathering storm. When the queen urged him to make concessions, he told her gently not to alarm herself as he could reduce the Scots to obedience when he wanted (No. 423). Yet there were men about him who realised the danger. A leading Scot gave his views very frankly to Zonca (No. 416). But Charles went his headstrong way alone. He did not consult his ministers either severally or collectively, and they washed their hands of the mischief which they foresaw (No. 421). Knowing that Laud was blamed as the author of the repressive policy, the king spoke strongly on the subject to the Council, declaring that he had taken the advice of no one, but had acted entirely on his own responsibility. But this generous act in no wise exonerated Laud in the general opinion, and it was supposed that, in alarm at the odium against him he had represented to the king the danger in which he stood (No. 423). Yet upon reflection Charles seems to have come to the conclusion that some concessions would be necessary, though some of the Scottish bishops who had fled to London urged the contrary (No. 431). But it only amounted to abandoning the liturgy, while retaining the bishops, and requiring the rebels to ask pardon for their offences (No. 434). As was clearly foreseen, the Scots promptly declined this proposal. Thereupon the king decided to send the Marquis of Hamilton and the whole Council of Scotland to Edinburgh with fresh suggestions. The choice of Hamilton caused some astonishment, as the parliament of Scotland had declared him next heir after the Stuarts (No. 440), his mother also made no secret of her sympathy with the rebels (No. 563).
Hamilton's instructions were kept very secret, but it was anticipated that he would have power to make concessions which did not compromise the royal dignity (No. 440). But the Scots, as they grew stronger, showed a disposition to raise their demands. They required that the service book should be abolished by act of parliament, and that body to meet at least once every three years to regulate the affairs of the state (No. 449). They told Hamilton that if he had not brought powers for convoking parliament it was useless for him to proceed (No. 456). He was stopped at Dalkeith to wait for revised credentials. It was observed that the king and Laud changed colour on reading his despatch (No. 460). On entering Edinburgh he was received with acclaim, but when they learned that he was to ask them to renounce the Covenant, they refused to listen to him (No. 472). He could only return to London and tell the king what was demanded of him. This was the withdrawal of the service book, and ceremonies, the confirmation of their privileges and the summoning of parliament. Objection was made that such concessions would serve as a precedent for England. But there being no immediate means of resistance Hamilton was sent to Edinburgh with all speed to make further efforts for a settlement. As a reward for his services the king granted him the manor of Chelsea (No. 484). Hamilton's second mission proved as futile as the first, all the conditions proposed being rejected ; yet he was sent back a third time with fuller powers than before, the king conceding an ecclesiastical assembly and a parliament but requiring disarmament (No. 519).
The temper in which the assembly met showed how little hope of a peaceful settlement remained. It was held in the name of the nobles, not of the king (No. 542). So far from disarming, a force of 8,000 men was assembled to protect it (No. 544). Hamilton was called upon to answer a charge of attempting to overthrow the privileges of the country (No. 549). He was recalled but afterwards told to stay on lest his departure should hasten those troubles which the wisest ministers hoped to avoid (No. 554). Yet he reached London on 19 Jan., 1639, and reported that if the measures adopted by the assembly and parliament were ratified, all might be well, if not every effort at an accommodation would be fruitless (No. 564). Messages arrived from Scotland asking for the approval of the assembly's decrees and also to suggest a conference (Nos. 569, 580). The king consulted the Councils of England and Scotland separately, but the ministers could not make up their minds, though the king inclined to mildness. Manifestoes on both sides left things much as they were, but events were tending rapidly towards a conflict.
Only lack of means had prevented Charles from attempting to reduce the Scots at the outset. In the spring of 1638 he had sent to Ireland for the mustering of 8,000 men for service in Scotland, if required (No. 421). But the Scots succeeded in getting a long start in the matter of military preparation, and a precipitate move on the king's part might have led at once to the invasion of England (No. 476). The king retained a number of officers in pay, to be ready for emergencies (No. 506), and many experienced soldiers had come from the Netherlands to serve on either side (No. 521). In October the fleet was sent to the North to intercept supplies from abroad (No. 512). Troops were being assembled quietly in Yorkshire and elsewhere (No. 535). With the new year the musters were called out and an army began to assemble with its headquarters at York.
Meanwhile the king tried to win the favour of his English subjects. In the course of a few days he abolished. 22 subsidies ; he hinted at calling parliament (No. 542) and appointed Essex, a Puritan, to command the cavalry (No. 544). Strenuous efforts were made to keep the people in ignorance of what was going on. Bad news was suppressed and the matter made light of (No. 416). Official reports were deliberately intended to deceive (No. 502). The king had every copy destroyed of a book printed in Scotland appealing to the English people and showing that the cause was their own (No. 512). A similar paper issued in March by the Council of Scotland and appealing to an English parliament, was treated in the same way, even the reading and possession of this paper being treated as a crime (No. 596). But there was no sign as yet of a corresponding movement in England.
On the 6th April the king left London to join his army at York. Before starting he made liberal provision for the queen, in case of his death, and ordered the Council to report to her once a week on the affairs of the government (No. 629). The plan of campaign comprised an attack from the rear by Huntly, an attack from Ireland, and a blockade and attack by Hamilton's force from the sea. But the Scots forestalled these moves by getting possession of Aberdeen, Dumbarton and Edinburgh. Hamilton was reported as having captured a ship bringing officers from Holland (No. 663), but for the rest he did not achieve the success expected of him. The king advanced northwards, but his forces remained inferior to the enemy, in spite of efforts to raise fresh levies from his unwilling subjects. After their first successes the Scots remained on the defensive but they intimated that they would attack England if the king persisted with his hostile demonstrations. The king's advisers pointed out how dangerous this would be and urged him to make concessions (No. 661). Many advised him to go unarmed to Edinburgh and take part in the parliament there (No. 663). A conference was arranged, but the king was so incensed at the demands made of him that he sent a force under Holland and Astley to attack Kelso. They approached near enough to see that the enemy was in force, and then retired precipitately and in some disorder (No. 669). The king saw that he must give way and the pacification of Berwick followed soon after.
When it became probable that military measures would be required to reduce the Scots, ministers urged the king to summon parliament to obtain supplies and the co-operation of his subjects. Charles took this very ill and expressed his confidence that he could raise enough money to support the army for six months by pledging the revenues for two years, without laying any fresh charges on the people (No. 576). But the task did not prove so easy as he imagined. The treasury had already been drained by several extraordinary calls upon it, for the entertainment of the duchess of Chevreuse, for that of the queen mother and for supplies to the Palatine ; not large amounts in themselves but sufficient to cause embarrassment under the circumstances. Various expedients were employed to supply the immediate need. Hamilton brought the king 50,000 obtained by the sale of offices and payments to escape military service. Conn did his utmost to get subscriptions from the Catholics (No. 646), the only section of the community that spoke against the Scots (No. 647). The queen made a special appeal to the gentry to contribute not less than 100 a piece (No. 654). By pledging the revenues up to 1644 the treasurer was able to raise 30,000 from the merchants to send to the army (No. 661). But despite all this the revenues were quite incapable of meeting the demands upon them any longer. The increasing need for money and the impossibility of any fresh provision caused the ministers the gravest anxiety (No. 669). Great dissatisfaction was felt with Juxon because he had no expedient to suggest and there was some idea of replacing him by Wentworth. So great was the need that the king pocketed his pride and accepted a grant of 10,000 made by the city on his return from Scotland, which he had at first haughtily refused (Nos. 694, 697).
The pacification of Berwick was clearly no more than a truce. It was received in England with great rejoicing and a hope that this experience would cure the king of any further idea of making revolutionary changes and render him more anxious to please his people (No. 670). The Scots were highly popular and all spoke highly of their discreet and generous behaviour (No. 683). The king did not share this view. He had been driven to accept defeat for the moment, but he hoped soon to reassert his authority. Immediately after his return to London he was proposing to send fresh troops to the frontier (No. 697). He was roused to fury by a publication issued by the Scots that the published terms were made to save his face and that privately he had granted them all that they asked. He had the paper suppressed as false and announced his intention of renewing the struggle in the spring (No. 700). He was sustained in this resolution by the advice of Wentworth, who promised 20,000 men from Ireland, and by the English bishops and clergy who, fearing for their own order, insisted on an appeal to arms and through the archbishop offered to support 10,000 men (No. 734). Although Charles accepted the decree of the assembly abolishing episcopacy in Scotland, he at once filled up a Scottish seat that fell vacant (No. 731), and he dismissed without a hearing the deputies sent by the Scottish parliament. The Scots accused the king of a breach of the treaty and on hearing of the dismissal of their deputies they prepared to renew the struggle (No. 740). The report of preparations in England made them relent somewhat, and they sent to ask permission to send two commissioners, which was granted, while Traquair took them word that at last parliament was to meet in England (No. 750).
Charles seems to have decided that if he was to renew the struggle he must first solidify his position at home. He greatly feared the effect of his concessions to the Scots upon England, where many of the towns began to demand the removal of Laud's ritualistic innovations (No. 707). The king seems to have accepted the necessity for calling parliament as soon as he got back from Scotland (No. 689), but he did not definitely decide until the end of the year. After hearing from Huntly and Traquair of the dangerous state of Scotland he announced his intention to the Council on the 16th Dec, where it was received with universal applause (No. 744). The parliamentarians gave liberal assurances of their intention to arrange everything to please the king and confine their demands within modest dimensions. But there were indications that Charles did not mean to throw himself unreservedly on his people. Changes were made among the ministers and it was expected that Puritans like Coventry and Pembroke would be replaced by others who would be entirely dependent upon the king (No. 702). Hamilton, Wentworth and Northumberland were added to the Cabinet Council (No. 724), and that body decided to levy ship money once again, with all severity, from which they expected to get 200,000 (No. 734). They also made arrangements for enlisting a force of 25,000 foot and 5,000 horse, ostensibly against the Scots, but chiefly to overawe the parliament (No. 750), for in spite of the assurances given it was felt that it would not separate before some victim, from those highest in the king's favour, had been sacrificed to it (No. 744).
Lack of space forbids more than the bare mention of the various incidents that marked Fielding's terms of service at Venice; the reception and entertainment of the queen mother in England ; the ravages of the plague in 1636 and the last flickers of the Polish Palatine marriage project. The account of the fenland disputes seems to throw a different light on the subject, if it can be accepted as accurate (Nos. 465, 499). Attention may also be called to a serious accident to Charles when hunting (No. 65), an original idea of his about godparents (No. 199) ; a mystery about his itinerary in 1636 (Nos. 46, 54) ; a grant of the fishing off Newfoundland to Kirke (No. 199), an appeal from Brandenburg to England about Pomerania (No. 362), the slavery of an Englishman in the Venetian galleys for a trifling debt (No. 394), the mission of the Capuchin de Tresson to Rome for the queen (No. 596), besides many interesting particulars concerning trade, to be found under that heading in the index.
I am indebted to the Lord Mayor and Corporation of London for kind permission to search their records for particulars of a suit brought by a merchant named Gatwood against a Persian, unfortunately without result. Equally unsuccessful was the search for a work of Laud on church councils in England to prove that parliament had no concern with ecclesiastical matters (No. 168). I am greatly obliged to the Very Rev. the Dean of Winchester, Prof. Jenkins, Librarian at Lambeth, and Mr, W. H. Stevenson, Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, for their help in trying to trace this work. (fn. 16) I would also thank the officials at the Frari Venice for the facilities which I enjoy there through their kind assistance.