tinued to write to the pair letters of advice and warning, which they took into account just so far as it suited them to do so (Hardwicke, State Papers, vol. i.). He was ready, he wrote on one occasion, to acknowledge the pope as chief bishop if he ‘would quit his godhead and usurping over kings,’ but he himself was ‘not a monsieur who can shift his religion as easily as he can shift his shirt when he cometh from tennis.’
The full consequences of Charles's journey revealed themselves slowly to James. In March he ordered bonfires to be lighted in London upon his son's arrival in Madrid, and in April directed the equipment of the fleet which was to fetch the infanta to England. In May he made Buckingham a duke. Yet he did not altogether like the terms which the Spaniards were now attempting to exact from him. ‘We are building a temple to the devil,’ he said, in speaking of the chapel which was being raised for the infanta's Roman catholic worship. On 14 June Cottington arrived with news that the Spanish government wanted Charles to remain another year in Spain. On this he wrote a piteous letter to his ‘sweet boys’ (his son and Buckingham), urging them to come away, ‘except ye never look to see your old dad again.’ The thought of recovering his boys was now uppermost in his mind. He engaged to sign the marriage articles as they had been altered in Spain, and wrote to Charles that he might be married and come home. If the Spaniards kept the infanta from soon following him, it would be easy to divorce him here.
On 20 July James signed the articles. The public articles had included permission to the infanta to have a church open to all Englishmen, while the secret articles relieved the English catholics of all penalties for worshipping in private houses, and in all other respects relieved them from the pressure of the penal laws. James, however, explained to the Spanish ambassadors that he should hold himself free to put the laws in execution if state necessity occurred. James had thus in a roundabout way slipped back into his own policy. There was to be toleration for the catholics as long as they were not dangerous. It was precisely what he had offered in 1603 with no favourable results.
This explanation was not likely to smooth Charles's way in Madrid. It soon appeared that if Charles was married he would have to return without the infanta, and without any definite promise about the Palatinate. Hurrying back in anger, Charles and Buckingham returned to England, and on 6 Oct. found James at Royston, when they urged him to declare immediate war against Spain. Gradually, and sorely against his inclination, James gave way. His own policy of regaining the Palatinate with the help of Spain had broken down too completely to be capable of resuscitation. The king of Spain was still ready to give vague promises, but would engage himself to nothing definite. At last, on 28 Dec., James summoned parliament. On 19 Feb. 1624 he opened the session with a speech in which he made the best of his failure, and left it to Buckingham to unfold the actual state of affairs.
On 3 March the houses were ready to present a petition for the breaking off of the negotiations with Spain; but it was not till the 23rd that James declared, under much pressure, that the treaties were dissolved. From this time James ceased to be in any real sense the ruler of England. Power passed into the hands of his son and his favourite. He himself acted, when he acted at all, as a restraining influence, though that influence was usually exerted in vain. Towards the end of March and in the beginning of April he had interviews with two Spanish agents, Lafuente and Carondelet, who told him that he was a mere tool in the hands of Buckingham, and was thereby inclined to hold back the despatch ordering his ambassador in Spain to break off negotiations. Charles, however, insisted on its being sent out on 6 April. How powerless James had now become was shown when his lord treasurer, Middlesex [see Cranfield, Lionel, Earl of Middlesex], supported the Spaniards against Buckingham. Charles and Buckingham set the commons on to impeach Middlesex, and James, much against his will, had to submit to the disgrace of a minister to whom he was attached. In the same way, he was obliged to allow the prosecution of Bristol, on charges brought against him in connection with his embassy in Spain.
With respect to the new policy, James, as far as he was allowed to have a policy at all, occupied a position of his own. The commons were for a maritime war exclusively directed against Spain. Buckingham was for a war against Spain and all the catholic powers of the continent. James was for a war limited to an effort to recover the Palatinate by land. Whatever shape the war was to take, it would be advisable to be on good terms with France, and overtures were therefore made to the French court for a marriage between Charles and the sister of Louis XIII, Henrietta Maria. Both James and Charles, however, promised the House of Commons that in this case there should be no toleration for any catholics in England,