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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/184

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James received at Newmarket a deputation from the house which had been sent to explain the first petition. ‘Bring stools for the ambassadors,’ he cried out as the members entered his presence, indicating his belief that the house by which they were sent was claiming sovereign power in asking for the direction of foreign policy. The discussion grew warmer as it proceeded, and at last turned on the question whether or no the commons had a right to debate all matters of public policy, as the house affirmed, though it disclaimed any right to force an answer from the king; or whether, as the king affirmed, it had only a right to debate such matters as he thought fit to lay before them. On 18 Dec. the commons entered on their ‘Journals’ a protestation setting forth their view of the case. On the 19th the house was adjourned. On the 30th James tore the obnoxious protestation out of their ‘Journal Book.’ Gondomar was triumphant, and wrote home that James's quarrel with the parliament was ‘the best thing that had happened in the interests of Spain and the catholic religion since Luther began to preach heresy.’ Some of the leading members of the House of Commons were imprisoned in the Tower, and others sent on a disagreeable mission to Ireland. On 6 Jan. 1622 James dissolved his third parliament.

As no subsidy had been voted, James increased the impositions and called for another benevolence. He then despatched more ambassadors abroad, with as slight results as in former years. He could not pay Mansfeld, and Mansfeld's army could not exist without plundering, thus raising enemies on every side. Before the end of the summer of 1622 Mansfeld, who was now accompanied by Frederick, was driven out of the Palatinate, and all Frederick's allies defeated. Only three fortified posts were held in Frederick's name in the Palatinate—Heidelberg, Mannheim, and Frankenthal. James still expected the recovery of all that had been lost through the good offices of Spain.

Gondomar had left England in May 1622, after inviting Prince Charles to come to Madrid and woo the infanta in person, in the hope that he would change his religion in Spain. The Spanish government was almost in as great difficulty as James. Philip IV did not want war with England, and at the same time he could not join protestant states in a war against the catholic emperor and the Catholic League. Consequently, he temporised, but the necessity of decision soon became pressing, both in England and Spain. Heidelberg, defended by an English garrison in Frederick's service, was taken by Tilly on 6 Sept., and Mannheim was surrendered by Sir Horace Vere on 28 Oct. On 29 Sept., when James heard of the fall of Heidelberg, he summoned Philip to obtain its restoration within seventy days, and on the 30th he wrote to Pope Gregory XV, urging him to put his hand to the pious work of restoring peace. Fresh news from Spain, however, brought assurances that the Spanish government intended to make all reasonable concessions in various points of dispute arising out of the marriage treaty, which was now being negotiated at Madrid by Digby, who had recently been created earl of Bristol. James, in his love of peace, was anxious to accept the hand held out to him; but the privy council, led by Buckingham and Charles, declared against it, and James found himself face to face with an opposition which he could not get rid of as he had got rid of successive parliaments.

Under these circumstances James procrastinated. He sent orders to Bristol to remain at his post, even if he received an unfavourable answer about the Palatinate, and on 7 Oct. he sent Endymion Porter to Madrid, with instructions to come to an understanding, if possible, with the Spanish minister, Olivares. Before an answer was received the news of the fall of Mannheim arrived to aggravate James's difficulties; but it was not till 2 Jan. 1623, when Porter returned to England, that James was in a position to come to a resolution on the two questions of the marriage treaty and the Palatinate. As to the former, he accepted certain alterations proposed by Spain, and he and his son signed the articles of marriage, together with a letter in which they promised to relieve the English Roman catholics from the operation of the penal laws as long as they abstained from giving scandal, a letter which was to be kept in Bristol's hands till the dispensation for the marriage arrived from Rome. In the Palatinate, only Frankenthal remained untaken, and James now proposed that it should be sequestered in the hands of the Infanta Isabella, the governess of the Spanish Netherlands, to be retained by her till terms of peace could be agreed on.

While James was catching at straws he was suddenly informed that Buckingham and Charles had resolved to start for Madrid, in order to put the professions of the Spaniards to a test. James's consent was most unwillingly given. When his son and his favourite had once left England control over the relations between Spain and England practically passed out of James's hands; but he con-