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The Reign of James I (Continued) page 16


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James had despatched after the prince a great number of people, to form a becoming attendance on the heir of England. Others flocked thither of themselves, and especially catholic refugees, who swarmed in the prince's court, and particularly about Buckingham. The Jesuits did their best to convert them, and certainly were encouraged by every appearance of success. Though James had sent what he called the "stuff and ornaments" for public protestant worship, we are informed that these were never used; for though he had the earl of Carlisle, and the lords Mountjoy, Holland, Rochfort, Andover, Denbigh, Vaughan, and Kensington, besides a great number of other courtiers, and their dependents around him, they had no public worship, as if they were ashamed of their heretical faith, or feared to offend their catholic friends. The prince contented himself with bed-chamber prayers. The consequence was, as Howell, who was there, wrote, that the Spaniards, hardly believing the English Christians, and seeing no evidence of worship, set them down for little better than infidels. This occasioned great discontent amongst the more conscientious of the retinue, and they did not hesitate to avow their religious belief, and their contempt of the popish mummery which they saw around them, which led to much scandal and anger. Archy, or Archibald Armstrong, the famous court fool, whom oddly enough James had sent as well as the church plate and vestments, seemed to think himself privileged by his office to say what he pleased, and he did not hesitate to laugh at the religious ceremonies, and argue on religious points with all the zeal of a Scotch presbyterian, as he was. Others even proceeded to blows. Sir Edward Varney, finding a priest at the bedside of a sick Englishman, struck him under the ear, and they fell to fighting till they were thrust asunder.

This state of things would not have been tolerated so near the inquisition except for the great end in view - the belief that Charles would become a catholic. Gregory XV. had written to the inquisitor-general to this effect; - "We understand that the prince of Wales, the king of Great Britain's son, is lately arrived there, carried with a hope of catholic marriage. Our desire is that he should not stay in vain in the courts of those to whom the defence of the pope's authority, and care of advancing religion, hath procured the renowned name of catholic. Wherefore, by apostolic letters, we exhort his catholic majesty that he would gently endeavour sweetly to reduce the prince to the obedience of the Roman church, to which the ancient kings of Great Britain have, with Heaven's approbation, submitted their crowns and sceptres. Now, to the attaining of this victory, which to the conquered promiseth triumphs and principalities of heavenly felicity, we need not exhaust the king's treasures, nor levy armies of furious soldiers, but we must fetch from heaven the armour of light, whose divine splendour may allure the prince's eye, and gently expel ail errors from his mind. Now, in the managing of these businesses, what power and art you hare, we have well known long ago; wherefore, we wish you to go like a religious counsellor to the catholic king, and to try all ways which, by this present occasion, may benefit the kingdom, of Britain and the church of Rome. The matter is of great weight and moment, and therefore not to be amplified with words. Whoever shall inflame the mind of this royal youth with the love of the catholic religion, and breed a hate in him of heretical impiety, shall begin to open the kingdom of heaven to the prince of Britain, and to gain the kingdom of Britain to the apostolic see."

It was easy to foresee that this absurd journey would lead to these determined attempts to regain the rich islands of Great Britain to the catholic church. The catholics everywhere regarded the rupture to have been occasioned by Henry VIII.'s protestant marriage, and nothing appeared so likely as that a catholic marriage would heal it. It was not so easy to foresee that Charles, at the age of twenty-three, should so consummately act the hypocrite. He wrote to the pope, in reply to a most gracious and paternal letter from his holiness, calling him "Most Holy Father," telling him how much he deplored the division of the churches, and longed to restore union. Gregory was dead before this extraordinary epistle arrived at Rome, but Urban VIII., the new pope, lifted up his hands in joyful astonishment on reading it, and "gave thanks to the Father of Mercies, that on the very entrance of his reign a British prince performed this kind of obeisance to the pope of Rome." Having apparently so favourable a subject to operate upon, Olivarez now told Charles that the treaty entered into through the earl of Bristol had been rather for show than use, and that now, as the prince and his able adviser were there themselves, they would make a real and effective compact. Accordingly, in spite of the strenuous remonstrances of the two British ambassadors against re-opening the question already settled, Charles and Buckingham permitted it; and the Spanish minister found little difficulty in introducing several new and more favourable clauses. There was, in fact, a public and a private treaty agreed to. By the public one the marriage was to be celebrated in Spain, and afterwards in England; the children were to remain in the care of their mother till ten years of age, the Infanta was to have an open church and chapel for the free exercise of her religion,

and her chaplains were to be Spaniards under the control of their own bishops. By the private treaty it was engaged that the penal laws against catholics should be suspended; that catholic worship should be freely performed in private houses; that no attempts should be made to. seduce the princess from her hereditary faith; and that the king should swear to obtain the repeal of the penal statutes by parliament.

When this treaty was sent home, James was struck with consternation. He had pledged himself to Charles and Buckingham not to communicate any of their proceedings to the council; but the present responsibility was overwhelming, and he therefore opened his difficulty to the council. After making what the secretary of the council calls "a most sad, fatherly, kind, wise, pious, manly, stout speech as ever was heard," the lords of the council came to the conclusion, though reluctantly, and with fear, that the prince's honour must be maintained, and the oath to keep the treaty taken. This, however, was only the public treaty; James kept the private one to himself, and swore to it separately.

Having got the English court, as they supposed, thus secured, both the pope and the Spaniard raised their heads still higher, and showed that they meant to exact the utmost possible concession. In Spain the papal dispensation for the marriage was already in the hands of the nuncio, but he refused to deliver it till the king of England, according to his oath, had obtained the repeal of the penal statutes by parliament; whilst in England James refused to go a step further till the marriage was celebrated, and the first instalment of the dower paid. When the king's resolve was known, it was conceded that the marriage should at once take place, but that the princess and the dower should remain in Spain till the stipulated indulgence to the English catholics was obtained from parliament. James refused this, and sent word that the marriage must be celebrated and the prince bring home his bride, or come without the wedding: this brought the Spaniards down a little. The ambassadors in London assured James that a royal proclamation would satisfy them; but he replied that a proclamation without the added sanction of parliament was no law; that, however, he would issue an order for catholic indulgence under the great seal. This they were obliged to be satisfied with; but when it came to the lord-keeper Williams, he refused to put the great seal to it, as a most dangerous act, without precedent.

As there was no prospect of a speedy settlement, Charles, who had probably grown tired of a princess surrounded by such a hedge of difficulties and delays, desired his father to send him an order for his recall. It would appear as if the prince had planned the mode of his retreat, for the preparations for the marriage of the Infanta went on, on the understanding that she was to continue in Spain till spring. James was apparently occupied in preparing grand wedding presents for the bride, and a small fleet to bring her home. This, if carried out, must have been very onerous to him; for he had made already doleful representations to Charles and Buckingham, of the exhaustion of his treasury by his remittance of five thousand pounds, and three thousand pounds for their "tilting stuff," &c. At Madrid the marriage articles were signed and confirmed by oath, the Infanta assumed the title of princess of England, and had a court formed of corresponding importance.

Never was the marriage so far off. Charles and Buckingham had resolved to steal away and abandon the whole affair. They felt that they were regularly entrapped through their folly; and other causes rendered a speedy exit necessary. Buckingham - vain, empty, and sensual - had given way without caution or control to his licentiousness and love of parade. To make him more fitting for the companion of his son, James had raised him to the rank of duke since his departure. His extravagance, his amours, his haughty bearing, and unceremonious treatment of both his own prince and the grandees of Spain, astonished all Madrid. He introduced the very worst people, men and women, into the palace, and would sit with his hat on when the prince himself was uncovered. His behaviour in the presence of the king of Spain was just as irreverent, and the minister Olivarez was so incensed at his insolence that he detested him. He had the soul of an upstart lackey under the title of a duke, and was never easy unless he could outshine all the grandees at the Spanish court. He was perpetually importuning the king to send over orders, jewels, and money. Georges and garters were sent over in numbers to confer on different courtiers, and the constant cry of Buckingham's letters was Jewels, jewels, jewels. He represented how rich the Spaniards were in jewels, and how poor those looked which they themselves already had. He described the prince as quite poor in his appearance, compared with the Spanish splendour. "Sir, he hath neither chain nor hatband, and I beseech you consider first how rich they are in jewels here; then in what a poor equipage he came in; how he hath no other means to appear like a king's son; how they are usefullest at such a time as this, when you may do yourself, your son, and the nation honour; and lastly, how it will neither cost nor hazard you anything. These reasons, I hope, since you have already ventured your chiefest jewel, your son, will serve to persuade you to let loose these more after him: - first, your best hatband, the Portugal diamond, the rest of the pendent diamonds to make up a necklace to give his mistress, and the best rope of pearl, with a rich chain or two for himself to wear, or else your dog must want a collar, which is the ready way to put him into it. There are many other jewels, which are of so mean quality as deserve not that name, but will save much in your purse, and serve very well for presents," &c.

The prince quite aware that he had entangled himself in engagements that he could only keep at the risk of his father's crown, and Buckingham equally aware of the hatred which he had excited in a proud and vengeful nation, the two agreed to put the most honest possible face on the matter, and get away. Charles, therefore, presented his father's order for their return, and pledging himself to fulfil the marriage according to the articles; nay, appearing most eager for its accomplishment before Christmas, they were permitted to take their leave, loaded with valuable presents. The king gave the prince a set of fine Barbary horses, a number of the finest pictures by Titian and Correggio, a diamond-hilted sword and dagger, and various other arms of the richest fashion and ornament. The queen gave him a great many bags of amber, dressed kid-skins, and other articles; and Olivarez also presented him with a number of fine Italian pictures and costly articles of furniture. In. return, Charles gave the king diamond-studded hilts for a sword and dagger, to the queen a pair of rich earrings, and to the Infanta the string of pearls recommended by Buckingham, to which was attached a diamond anchor, as an emblem of his constancy. He affected the utmost distress at leaving his bride only for a short time, and the princess ordered a mass for his safe journey home.

Never did appearances show more real, never were they more hollow. The Spaniards had endeavoured by every act, into which the sacred name of religion had been dragged, to make the most of their advantage in the presence of the prince, and to extort terms beyond the original contract; they were, therefore, justly punished. But nothing could justify the deep and deliberate falsehood, and repeated perjury of a young protestant prince, whose conduct stamped a deep stain on his country and on protestantism itself. The protestants had long and loudly denounced the Jesuitry of the catholics, and asserted that no faith could be put in their most solemn engagements. Here, however, was a voluntary surrender of the pure and lofty morality of protestantism, a willing abasement of its honour to the level of the worst catholic duplicity. We shall see that the whole of Charles's conduct was lamentably in keeping with this unprincipled beginning.

Buckingham was impatient to be in England, from news which he received that certain courtiers were busily at work in endeavouring to undermine his credit with the king, Behind him he left nothing but detestation, which Olivarez, the chief minister, took no pains to conceal When the prince and he set out they were attended by the king himself, and a brilliant assemblage of the nobles, who added to the prince's presents a number of fine Andalusian horses and mules. They halted for several days at the Escurial, where they were splendidly entertained, and then the king rode on with them as far as Campillo. The parting of the affianced brothers-in-law was of the most affectionate kind, and the king ordered a column to be erected on the spot, as a lasting monument of it. Bo Charles rode on, attended by several nobles, and entertained most honourably at their castles. He visited the cell of a celebrated nun at Carrion, who was held to be a saint, and to whom Donna Maria had given him a letter.

Arrived at the port where the English fleet was waiting for him, he no sooner stepped on board than he laughed at the credulity of the Spaniards, called them fools, and wondered at his easy escape from them. They landed at Portsmouth on the 5th of October, and there and all the way to and through London, their reception was one piece of exultation at the safe return of the prince from the clutches of the dreaded Spaniards, The country resounded with the ringing of bells, firing of cannon, the whizzing of fireworks, and the shouts of the people. The clergy, without waiting for royal orders, put up thanksgiving in the churches for the prince's happy arrival.

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Pictures for The Reign of James I (Continued) page 16

Arrest of Nonconformists
Arrest of Nonconformists >>>>
Accident to Robert Carr
Accident to Robert Carr >>>>
Prince Charles
Prince Charles >>>>
Keeping Sunday
Keeping Sunday >>>>
Dr. Laud
Dr. Laud >>>>
Buckingham
Buckingham >>>>
The Vale of Avoca
The Vale of Avoca >>>>
Cork River
Cork River >>>>
Meeting of the Assembly
Meeting of the Assembly >>>>
Prinve Charles with the Princess Henrietta
Prinve Charles with the Princess Henrietta >>>>
Balsas, or Boat of Skin
Balsas, or Boat of Skin >>>>
Moorish Pirates
Moorish Pirates >>>>
Visit of Prince Charles to Madrid
Visit of Prince Charles to Madrid >>>>
The Duke Olivarez
The Duke Olivarez >>>>
Prince Charles surprising the Infanta in the Orchard
Prince Charles surprising the Infanta in the Orchard >>>>
The Palace at Guadalajara
The Palace at Guadalajara >>>>
The Castle of Segovia
The Castle of Segovia >>>>
Interview of James I. with Prince Charles
Interview of James I. with Prince Charles >>>>
Buckingham before the council
Buckingham before the council >>>>
The Duke of Buckingham
The Duke of Buckingham >>>>
King James I. and the spanish ambassador
King James I. and the spanish ambassador >>>>

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