Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 3, 1620-1628. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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DIE Martis, videlicet, 2 die Martii,
L. Digby's Letter to the King, concerning the Prince's Match.
"It may please Your Majesty to remember, that, at my coming out of Spaine, I signified unto Your Majesty how far the Duke of Lerma had, upon several Occasions, intimated unto me an extraordinary Desire of this King and State, not only to maintain Peace and Amity with Your Majesty, but to lay hold of all Means that might be offered for the nearer uniting of Your Majesties and Your Crowns; and that, from this Generality, he had descended often to have Discourse with me of a Match for the Prince his Highness with the Second Daughter of Spaine; assuring me, that, in this King, and His Ministers, there was a very forward Disposition thereunto; but from me he then received no other Answer, but to this Effect: That I, in the Treaty of the former Match for the late Prince, had received so strange (fn. 1) and unexpected an Answer from them, and that their Demands had seemed so unproper and unworthy, that I conceived Your Majesty had little Reason to be induced again to give Ear to any such Overture, or that I should again enter into any such Treaty, much less to be the Motioner thereof; although I would confess, that, if I were fully persuaded of the Sincerity of their Intentions, and of a Possibility of having the said Match effected, I knew not any Thing wherein I would more willingly employ my Endeavours; but, as the Case now stood, I was certain, that, if I should but make any such Motion in England, I should but draw an Imputation of much Weakness upon myself, and no whit advance the Cause; for that Your Majesty and Your Ministers would make no other Construction of that Motion, but that it was only to abuse Your Majesty, and to divert the Match of Fraunce, which was then treated of; for that Your Majesty, who but the Year before had received so unpleasing and unequal an Answer, should now be persuaded that there was here so great a Change as that a Match was really desired, there would now need more than ordinary Assurance. But the Duke of Lerma continuing several Times in the same Profession, and telling me besides, that the greatest Cases might be altered by Circumstances; and that the Age of this Prince was much more proper than that of his Brother; I freely let the Duke know, that, in case I might see that it was really desired here, and that I might be able to propound unto my Master Conditions of so much Advantage and Certainty as might put Him and His Ministers out of Doubt, that this Overture was not again revived from hence, either for Diversion or winning of Time, I would then willingly intimate unto Your Majesty the Inclination and Desire I found here, of having a Proposition for this Match once again set on Foot. The Duke told me, that he would have a further Conference with me; and that he no ways doubted, but then to give me such Satisfaction as might well assure both Your Majesty and Your Ministers, that they sincerely desired the Match in general, and would omit nothing on their Side for the accommodating of Particulars, that might give Furtherance unto it. But the very Night before the Duke had appointed a Meeting with me, there came a Post, dispatched out of England, from the Spanish Ambassador, upon the Arrival of Sir Thomas Edmunds in Englande, who brought Word that the Match with France was absolutely concluded, and that within few Days it was to be published. Whereupon the Duke, at our Meeting the next Morning, told me, that it would be needless now to descend to any Particulars in the Business whereof we were to treat, since that they had newly received Advertisement that the Match with France was fully concluded; and thus, for that present, the Matter rested until some Five or Six Weeks after, about which Time myself was to go into England; and so taking Leave of the Duke, he asked me, Whether I had not received Advertisement, that the Match with France was published? I told him no; but that I had certainly heard, that it was not as yet fully concluded; whereupon he entreated me, that, in Case I found not the French Match in such Forwardness as it could not be staid, I would let him know of it; and that, if I should see any Kind of Possibility that the Business we had spoken of might be set on Foot, I would advertise him; and that thereupon he would proceed to those Particulars, which he formerly intended, for my Satisfaction.
"Herewith I acquainted Your Majesty; and, finding that the Spanish Ambassador in England had Notice from the Duke of our former Proceedings, and Order to further them by all possible Means he could, especially if he should understand that Your Majesty were not fully resolved of the French Match, I thought it fit, by his Means, to let the Duke understand in what Estate I found those Businesses in England; and thereupon, with Your Majesty's Permission, wrote a Letter unto him, to this Effect:
"That, although it were true, that the Match with France had been treated of with much Earnestness on both Sides, and with great Likelihood of being concluded, yet there daily arose so many Difficulties and new Cases of Delay, that I judged it far from any perfect Conclusion; neither did I see Cause absolutely to despair of the Businesses which ourselves pretended, unless the Difficulties of the Conditions should make it desperate; but, if those Things should be expected by Sp. which in the Treaty for the late Prince were demanded, it were better by much not to renew the Business, than, by impossible or unfitting Propositions on either Side, to give Distaste, or lessen the Friendship which now was betwixt Your Majesties. And therefore, except that in Spaine they would be contented with such Conditions, as Your Majesty might fittingly and conveniently yield unto, and all other Catholic Princes were willing to content themselves with, I neither saw Cause to hope for good Success, nor Reason to set the Treaty on Foot; but, in case that I might know that the Conditions in Point of Religion might be such as I should see a Possibility of Your Majesty's condescending unto them, I should be far from despairing of some good Effect; for that I knew, that divers, not of the meanest, nor least Power with Your Majesty, were thereunto well inclined, and would give their Helping-Hands, &c."
"Hereupon the Spanish Ambassador dispatched his Secretary into Spaine, and received Answer from the Duke, that he should give me all Assurance that there was here a great Desire and Inclination to the making of the Match; and that, at my Return into Spaine, they no way doubted but I should receive such Satisfaction as should make it appear, that, on their Part, there should be nothing wanting for the effecting of it. It now remaineth, that I signify unto Your Majesty what hath passed herein since my last coming to this Court. I arrived here in Madrid only a Day or Two before their Christmas; and, having some Six Days after my Audience appointed by the King, whilst I was in a Withdrawing-chamber expecting the King's coming forth, the Duke of Lerma came thither to bear me Company; and, after many respectful Demands of Your Majesty's and the Queen's and Prince's Health, and some few Compliments unto myself, concerning my Welcome again unto this Court, he fell to speak of the false Alarms we had had in England, concerning a Spanish Armada; seeming much to be displeased, that any Credit should be given to any Thing to his Master's Dishonour and Want of Fidelity (as he termed it); but Your Majesty, he said, did never believe it; and it seems he had heard of some pleasant Answer Your Majesty should make to so no one of Your Ministers, that in great Haste came unto Your Majesty when You were a Hunting, and told You, that the Spanish Fleet was in The Sleeve. From this he entered into great Protestations of the Sincerity of this King's Affection and Intention towards Your Majesty, telling me, that I should now see how much they desired to work a greater Nearness and Uniting between Your Majesties; and that, of the principal Business of which we had in former Time spoken (meaning the Marriage), he desired to speak with 11°, but it must be at more Leisure: I answered him, that I would not fail shortly to wait on him, and that he should find me answerable to the Professions I had made; which was, that being induced thereunto by such sufficient and good Grounds as might satisfy my Master, both for the Conveniency or Fittingness of having such a Treaty to be set on Foot, and likewise might take away all Objections of their Intents of entertaining and diverting Your Majesty hereby, I would be as ready to do all good Offices, and give Furnherance to the Business, as any Minister the King of Spaine had And this was all that, at our first Meeting, passed in this Business. About some Eight Days after, I having not all this Time stirred out of my House, under the Colour of being in disposed, though the Truth was indeed, to inform myself of some Particulars which concerned Your Majesty's Service before I would speak with the Duke; he, being, as I have since understood, somewhat troubled, that, in all this Time, I made no Means to come unto him, one Morning, by Nine of the Clock, very privately came to my House, without advertising of his coming (as the Custom is here) untill his Coach staid at my Gate; and then he sent in a Gentleman to me, telling me, that the Duke was there to speak with me. When I had conducted the Duke into a Room where we were private, he fell into the aforesaid Matter, and in the Manner as I shall here set down unto Your Majesty, without making any other Pretence or Intent of his coming, or without using, in the Space of an Hour, any Speech touching any other Business.
"After some few Questions of Your Majesty and the Queen, he began to ask many Things of the Prince, as of his Age, his Stature, his Health, his Inclination, to what Sports he was chiefly given; and then suddenly, as it were, with a passionate Expression of Affection, he desired God to bless him, and to make him the Means by which Your Majesties might be conjoined in a nearer Alliance, and Your Kingdoms in a perpetual Amity; saying unto me, That he was out of Doubt of my good Inclination to this Business, both by what had formerly passed between ourselves, as likewise by my Proceedings in England, whereof he had been fully informed by the Spanish Ambassador; and therefore he would, in few Words, deal with me with much Freeness and Clearness; assuring himself he should receive the like Measure from me; and thereupon entered into a solemn Protestation, how much this King desired the Match; and for himself, he solemnly swore, there was no one Thing in the World he more desired to see before he died, than the effecting thereof: But, my Lord Ambassador (said he), you must deal as justly with me, to let me understand, whether you conceive the like Desire to be in the King of England and His Ministers; and then I shall proceed to speak further unto you. I answered the Duke, that I ever esteemed more the Reputation of a Man of Truth and Integrity than of Skill and Subulty, which I did hope he would well perceive by what I was to say; for that I was much more desirous fairly to go off from this Business than easily to enter into it. And therefore, if he would have me speak my Conscience, I neither conceived that, either in Your Majesty or any of Your Ministers, there was any Kind of Inclination thereunto; for that, they having formerly given so resolute and distasteful an Answer, Your Majesty had just Cause never again to cast so much as Your Thoughts this Way; and thought it might be already, that the Fitness of the Prince's Years, and other Civil Regards, might cause new Resolutions, yet the Differences of Religion were still the same; and the same were the Tenets and Opinions of Divines in Matter of Conscience; and therefore it could not but be a Thing of great Difficulty to persuade Your Majesty and Your Ministers that a Match should be hearkened unto, much less desired from hence, but upon the same Terms, the very Thought and Remembrance whereof is yet unpleasing in England; so that, to deal plainly with him, I neither found, either in Your Majesty or in the Council, any Kind of Thought, or Imagination, of any Possibility of having any such Motion again revived; but this I found not to grow from any particular Dislike, or Want of Affection, in Your Majesty, towards Spaine, or that many of the greatest or principallest Persons in Englande judged not the Nearness and Alliance with Spaine equally valuable with any other of Christendom; but that, out of a Distastefulness of the former Answers given from hence, all Expectations of any Businesses of this Nature were absolutely extinguished; and therefore again to revive it, there would need more than ordinary Endeavours, or ordinary Assurances; but, in case that they might be given, I knew that this Match would neither want Well-wishers nor Assisters; and, for my own Part, I would freely make Professions, that no Man more desired it than myself, or would more willingly employ his Endeavours for the furthering thereof, when, by the descending to Particulars, I should see, both in regard of the Conditions, and the Assurance of sincere Proceeding, the Motion worthy and fit, by a discreet and good Servant, to be offered unto his Master; neither then should I wholly be out of Hope of good Success, though I could not but esteem it a Business of infinite Difficulties.
"The Duke replied, that any Course I thought fit herein should be condescended unto; for that all Time was lost that was spent in Generalities; and therefore, if I so liked, he would move this King, that some One or Two besides himself might be appointed to have Conference with me; for that, if he should only retain it in his Hands, by reason of his many Occupations, it would have a slower Progress than he wished; but, if we would, by way of Conference, digest the Difficulties into Heads and Particulars, he would, as often as he might, be present at our Meetings: But, for his own Part, he said, he apprehended few, but what would arise out of Difference of Religion.
"I told the Duke, that I very well approved of the descending into Particulars, neither should I refuse Conference with any herein whom the King should appoint to speak with me; but, if his Meaning were that these Persons should be nominated or joined by way of Commission, I thought fit to let him understand, that I neither had any Time, nor did at the present speak of this Business either by Order or Direcon, no, nor so much as by Your Majesty's Privity; but, as a Minister that desired to lay hold of all Occasions for the increasing of further Love and Nearness betwixt his Master and the Prince by whom he is employed, I should be glad, to the utmost of my Power, to advance and further this Cause, as that which I aprehended to be the greatest which the World now affordeth for the firm uniting of Your Majesties and Your Estates. The Duke told me, that this King would make no Scruple to declare his good Inclination and Desire to have this Match proceeded in; and that, for the accommodating of the Difficulties, he had already used divers Offices and Diligences with the Pope, as likewise with (fn. 2) the greatest Divines of this Kingdom, whereof he named some unto me, whom, he said, he found very well inclined unto the Match. He told me also, he would be glad they might speak with me, to the End I might truly understand by them all Kind of Scruples that could be alledged. I answered, that I desired nothing more; and that I could not but approve of these Courses he prescribed, as the most probable to produce a good Effect; and that I hoped God would give a happy Success unto the Business. But I should be bold in one Thing to deliver my Opinion, which was, no ways to interest our Masters herein, unless, by the understanding and clearing of the Difficulties on both Sides, there should be a great Appearance and Probability that the Business would take Effect; for, if their Names should be therein used, and after the Treaty should not be successful, it would but exasperate and breed a greater Distaste betwixt Your Majesties. The Duke told me, he misliked not my Opinion; though he said, that howsoever the Business succeeded, yet Your Majesty should have Reason to accept kindly this King's good Intentions; for that, if it miscarried, it should appear not to be through their Default, but that they had stretched as far as Honour or Conscience would give them Leave; and thus much, he said, I might write unto Your Majesty, if I thought fit, or to my confident Friends in England, upon his Word and Assurance; and so, telling me that he would presently appoint those that should confer with me in this Business, we then parted.
"Within two Days after, I went to the Duke; and, after I had spoken unto him of the Business of Cleoves, according to my Instruction (whereof I give an Account to Mr. Secretary in a Dispatch directed unto him), we fell again into Speech of the Match.
"The Duke told me, that he had well considered of that which I had said unto him, and much approved it, not to interest our Masters in the Business, till we should see some Likelihood of good Success.
And, for that he supposed the Difference of Religion like to prove the only Difficulty of Consideration, he thought it fit, that it should first be cleared; and therefore he would break the Matter with the Cardinal of Tolledo and the King's Confessor, and with them should be joined another learned Man, one Father Frederick, who, since I understand, is a Jesuit, but truly hath the Report of a moderate Man. These, the Duke said, should have Order to confer with me, and Charge to go as far as might be, reserving safe the Grounds and Sincerity of their Religion. I answered the Duke, that I was well satisfied herewith; and that, if their Demands were such as might content any other Catholick Prince, I should have Hope of good Success; if otherwise, I should yet judge it a Happiness to be put out of Doubt and Suspence; and so we passed from this Subject.
I presume to set down unto Your Majesty all the Passages of this Business with so much Length and Fulness, for that I no way dare adventure to offer to Your Majesty any Opinion or Belief of my own, either for the Fitness of the Match, or for the Sincerity of their Intention, or the Possibility of accommodating Differences of Religion; but Your Majesty, seeing undisguisedly all that hath hitherto passed, with every Circumstance, may be pleased, out of the Consideration and Knowledge of these Particulars, to frame unto Yourself both such a Belief of their direct Meaning, and such a Resolution for the further Proceeding herein, as shall be most suitable to Your Majesty's Wisdom; only I shall think it fit to set down further unto Your Majesty the particular Ends which may be conceived they aim at, by setting this Business on Foot at this present, in case they should not intend really to perform it; the First may be, to stagger and divert Your Majesty's Treaty with France; the Second, for the entertaining Your Majesty with fair Hopes and Promises, thereby to keep You from declaring Yourself opposite unto them, in the present Business of Juliers and Cleves, it remaining still uncompounded; but, this being so, Your Majesty may be pleased to understand that they serve themselves with this Occasion, not that there could any such Thing be primarily in their Intention; for that the Expression of their Desire to the Match was the last Year long before these Differences happened.
"Further, the Duke of Lerma should be the most false and dishonourable Man living, without Christianity or Soul, if he should voluntarily so deeply damn himself with Oaths and Protestations of a Thing that he sincerely meant not; and truly he should deal contrary to the Wisdom of his other Proceedings, wherein he layeth all Actions of Distaste or Discourtesy upon other inferior Ministers, labouring still to clear himself of the Imputation of them, if in this he should make himself the Author and Instrument of so indirect and unjust Proceeding between Princes. But the Course of most Security and Caution is, that Your Majesty suffer none of Your other Resolutions to be interrupted by this Overture; only, if Your Majesty be pleased for a-while to entertain and suspend the Conclusion of the Match with France, I conceive it can be little to Your Majesty's Disadvantage.
"It lastly now remaineth, that I become an humble Suitor to Your Majesty for Your clear and full Directions in this Business; desiring (fn. 3) that, if Your Majesty will have it further entertained, I may have ample Instructions from Your Majesty, both that I may intimate what may be expected in Point of Dowry, and in all other Things to be required by Your Majesty, as likewise how far I may proceed in satisfying them in Point of Religion; for it is not to be supposed, that they will proceed with that Freeness and Directness which is to be wished, unless in a fitting Measure they shall see me likewise able and willing to declare myself in such Points wherein they may expect Satisfaction. I intend not hereby to move for a formal Commission to treat, but only a private Instruction, for my Direction and Warrant how to behave myself as may be most advantageous to the Cause and Your Majesty's Ends. So, humbly beseeching Your Majesty to command this Bearer to be dispatched back with all convenient Speed, I recommend Your Majesty to the Holy Protection of God.
Methodes of Procedingto be observed at the Conference this Afternoon.
Their Lordships, well weighing the Contents of this Letter, (fn. 4) debated who shall make the Induction to the Conference this Afternoon with the Commons touching this great Business, and what shall be there declared unto them; and being resolved thereof, the House was resumed; and it was Agreed, That the Lord Keeper shall, at this Conference, begin with an Induction out of the Duke of Buckingham's Narration, and then deliver unto the Commons, that the Opinion of this House is, To advise His Majesty, super totam materiam, That His Majesty cannot, with the Safety of His own Honour, Conveniency of Religion, and the State, proceed any further in the Treaty for the Prince's Match, nor rely any longer on the Treaty for Recovery of the Palatinate.
Matters to be communicated to the H.C. at the Conference.
1. Concerning the Treaty of the Marriage, That it appeared by the Earl of Bristoll's Dispatch, 3° Novembris, 1614, that the first Motion came from Spaine, videlicet, the Duke of Lerma, not from England.
2. Concerning the Treaty of Restitution of the Palatinate, That the King of Spaine had promised Assistance by Arms, in case Mediation should not prevail, though now He had denied it again. This appeared out of another Dispatch of the Earl of Bristoll.
3. An Heroical Answer of the Prince his Highness, That, when it was noised he should be detained (as Prisoner in Spaine), he sent Word by Grymes to the King, that, in case News should come thither of his Detention, His Majesty would be pleased to think of him no more as a Son, but to reflect with all His Royal Thoughts upon his Sister, and the Welfare of His own Estates and Kingdoms.
Their Lordships also thought it fit, fot the expediting of the Delivery of this Advice unto His Majesty (if the Commons shall agree in Opinion with their Lordships), That a Committee of each House may confer, and set down the Reasons of this their Advice, for His Majesty's Satisfaction, if He shall demand the same.
Committee to attend His Majesty with the Advice of both Houses, if the Commons consent to it.
Lord Viscount Grandison,
The Two Chief Justices, and
Mr. Attorney General,
|To attend the Lords.|
Message from the H. C. that they will attend the Conference.
Message from the House of Commons, by Sir Edward Cooke and others: That the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the Commons House of Parliament, will give the Lords a Meeting, at a Conference, at Two this Afternoon, in the Hall at Whitehall, as is desired.
E. of Holderness's Privilege. Scott's Arrest.
Robert Plaile, an Under-bailiff of Westm. was brought before their Lordships, to answer his Contempt in the Arrest of John Scott, a known Servant of the Earl of Holdernes, and, by Order of the Court, was committed to The Fleet, for the said Offence.