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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/175

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James I
of England
169

had been given by the jesuit, John Gerard [q. v.], who still hoped much from the king; and on 17 June James, in gratitude, informed Rosny, the French ambassador, of his intention to remit the fines. It was not, however, till 17 July, when a catholic deputation waited on him, that James openly announced that the fines were to be remitted. In August he received assurances from the nuncio in Paris that the pope would do all in his power to keep the catholics obedient subjects of the king, and on this James despatched Sir James Lindsay to Rome, to ask Pope Clement VIII to send to England a layman to confer with him on the subject of obtaining the excommunication of turbulent catholics.

Unfortunately, James was liable to be led away from a great policy by personal considerations. The queen, much to his annoyance, was secretly a Roman catholic, and in January 1604 Sir Anthony Standen arrived from Rome with objects of devotion for her. Shortly afterwards James learnt that the pope refused to agree to allow sentence of excommunication to be passed on catholics at the instance of a heretic king, and James, irritated at the failure of his plan, and at the domestic discord, which he attributed to Standen's mission, was at the same time alarmed by the discovery that the number of priests and of catholic converts had greatly increased since the removal of the fines. Though he did not at once reimpose the fines, he issued on 22 Feb. 1604 a proclamation banishing the priests.

The condition of the puritans was forced on James's attention as much as that of the catholics. On his progress from Scotland the so-called Millenary Petition was presented to him, asking, not for permission to hold separate worship, but for such a permissive modification in the services of the church as might enable puritan ministers to comply with their obligations without offending their consciences. Bacon pleaded in favour of the change, and on 14 Jan. 1604 James met them and the bishops at the Hampton Court conference. James was quite ready to agree to changes, and he signified as much in his conversation with the bishops on the first day. On the second day, however, when four representatives of the puritan clergy were admitted, his old antagonism with the Scottish clergy influenced his mind, and though, in the actual discussion, he took up a position as mediator between the parties, the unlucky use of the word ‘presbyters’ by one of the puritans sent him off into more scolding. ‘If this be all they have to say,’ he declared of the puritans after he had driven them out of the room, ‘I shall make them conform themselves, or I will harry them out of the land.’ The phrase of ‘No bishop, no king,’ became an integral part of his policy.

James, however, did not as yet take refuge in unyielding conservatism. He authorised a new translation of the Bible, and made up his mind to ask the consent of parliament to various alterations in the prayer-book.

The temper of parliament, when it met on 19 March 1604, was not favourable to work in combination with James. The House of Commons not only favoured the whole of the puritan demands, but urged James to abandon his lucrative feudal rights, for what he considered to be an inadequate compensation. It also set itself against a scheme for a union with Scotland which he had much at heart, with the result that on 7 July he prorogued parliament, after administering a good scolding to the House of Commons.

Before the end of 1605 the puritan clergy who refused to conform had been expelled from their livings. In 1604 the treaty with Spain was signed, and James talked with the ambassadors about his desire to marry his eldest son to the eldest daughter of Philip III of Spain. In the ‘Basilikon Doron’ he had denounced marriages between persons of different religions, as harmful to the parties. But he was now especially gratified by being treated as an equal by the king of Spain, and was perhaps also attracted by a scheme for putting an end to the religious wars which had devastated Europe, by means of the closest possible alliance between himself and Philip.

None the less James deliberately drew back from his policy of conciliating the English catholics. His proclamation banishing the priests (February 1604) was not put in execution for some weeks, but when a bill providing for a stricter course with priests and recusants was offered to him, he gave it the royal assent. Still, however, he restrained himself from taking actual steps against the catholics. In the summer he talked with an agent of the Duke of Lorraine about the means of converting into reality that ignis fatuus of diplomatic churchmen, the reunion of the churches of Rome and England on terms satisfactory to both (Del Bufalo to Aldobrandino, 11–21 Sept., Roman Transcripts, Record Office). Just at this time, however, judges and juries were condemning catholics to death, and in September James, who had probably not authorised the action of the judges, again took alarm at the increase of the numbers of the catholics, and issued a commission to banish the priests. In November he ordered the exaction of the