1611 James dissolved the first parliament of his reign.
It is possible that a feeling of weakness consequent on this breach with the House of Commons had something to do with James's harshness towards his cousin, Arabella Stuart, who in 1610 married William Seymour. Both husband and wife had some sort of claim to the throne, and James, who was determined that no child should be born of this marriage to contest the claims of his own offspring, imprisoned the bride, and kept her in confinement till her death [see Arabella ].
In dealing with the continental powers there was the same absence of strength, conjoined with the same desire to mediate between extreme parties. He had done his best to bring about a peace between Spain and the Dutch republic, and on 16 June 1608 he agreed to a defensive league with the latter, binding him to give direct military assistance if Spain attacked the republic after peace had been made. When peace appeared to be unattainable, James joined the French government in recommending both parties to agree to a long truce, which was ultimately signed at Antwerp on 30 March (April 9) 1609.
The strife which threatened to break out in Germany in 1609 in consequence of a disputed succession in Cleves and Juliers, and which threatened to bring about a general European war, caused James some trouble. After the murder of Henry IV he consented to pay four thousand English infantry, which were at that time in the Dutch service, to be employed under Sir Edward Cecil, in combination with a Dutch force, to rescue Juliers from the Archduke Leopold, in order to place it in protestant hands. Juliers was captured on 22 Aug. (1 Sept.), and James then did his best to negotiate a final settlement of the dispute; but he found it impossible to induce any of the claimants to abate their pretensions, and the annoyance which he felt led him to seek for the maintenance of peace by allying himself with the catholic powers.
The policy on which James thus deliberately entered led to the worst errors of his reign. It was, indeed, not altogether a new one. The talk about a marriage between his eldest son Henry, who was created Prince of Wales in 1610, and a Spanish princess had never quite died out. When a Spanish ambassador proposed a marriage between him and the eldest daughter of Philip III, James sent Sir John Digby to Madrid in 1611 with instructions to treat for the alliance. No doubt James's quarrel with the House of Commons and his consequent impecuniosity made him eager for a rich marriage portion; but when Digby arrived in Madrid, and found that the Infanta Anne was already engaged to Louis XIII of France, and that her younger sister Maria, whom the Spaniards proposed to substitute for her, was not yet six years old, James let the matter drop. He was, however, still anxious to be on good terms with the followers of both religions on the continent, and before the end of 1611 he was negotiating for the hand of a Tuscan princess for his son, and had engaged to marry his daughter Elizabeth to Frederick V, the leader of the German Calvinists. In following up the latter alliance he entered on 28 March into a defensive alliance with the protestant union of German princes.
On 24 May 1612 Salisbury's death deprived James of what was, on the whole, a steadying influence. James, thinking it a fitting moment to assert his own authority, put the treasury in commission, and declared his intention of being his own secretary of state. Unlike Louis XIV when he announced a similar resolve on the death of Mazarin, he threw the influence which ought to have been his own into the hands of a favourite, Carr, whom he had created viscount Rochester, but he retained the general direction of policy. On 6 Nov. 1612 his eldest son, Henry, died of typhoid fever (Norman Moore, M.D., The Illness and Death of Henry, Prince of Wales), and on 14 Feb. 1613 his daughter Elizabeth was married to the elector palatine. For a time James inclined to the continental protestants. At his request the Dutch, on 6 May, signed a defensive treaty with the union, and a corresponding coolness between himself and Spain was the natural result.
During these years of fluctuating foreign policy James had at last secured the hold on the Scottish church which he had long coveted. In 1610 the assembly at Glasgow consented to the introduction of episcopacy, and on 21 Oct. of that year three Scottish bishops received consecration at the hands of English prelates. In Ireland, after the flight of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel and the rising of O'Dogherty, James had favoured the colonisation of Ulster by English and Scottish immigrants, a measure which, whatever might be its ultimate results, gave him for the moment a stronger hold upon Ireland than any of his predecessors had had. This increased power, however, brought an increase of expense, and to provide for this he instituted the order of baronets, each of whom was to pay 1,080l. to be employed in keeping thirty foot-soldiers in Ireland for three years. The idea that James made a personal profit by