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The Reign of James I (Continued) page 19


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All being thus prepared to defeat the king's scheme, lie appeared on the following Sunday in the council-chamber with a Bible in his hand, and demanded of every one on their oaths to answer the interrogatories prepared. The councillors affected surprise, and pleaded ignorance of any such designs; on the contrary, averring that they believed Buckingham one of the most faithful servants that the king had. Buckingham, on his part, affected to be so wounded at this suspicion of his loyalty, that he fell sick, or pretended to be so, and kept his chamber for a fortnight. This was the certain way to work on the weak mind of James. He felt sorry for his proceeding, and demanded from the Spanish ambassadors the names of their informers. Ynoiosa demanded an audience of the king, but this so alarmed Charles and Buckingham, that they prevailed on James, though not without much difficulty, to refuse this, and to desire that the ambassador should make his communications to a minister.

The evident fear of Charles and Buckingham of any fair and open interview was proof enough that there were matters requiring the dark. Ynoiosa declined giving such important disclosures to any but the king, on which James declared that that was sufficient evidence that he had wrongfully accused his son and the duke, and then refused to produce his proofs. Ynoiosa deemed this such an insult to his ambassadorial character, that he demanded a ship to leave the country, and this being refused, he quitted the kingdom without the usual presents. On reaching Madrid, he found an accusation already lodged against him with the crown by the British ambassador. He, however, boldly reasserted the truth - all that Carendolet, on his command, had submitted to the king - that the privy councillors were either silenced by the fear of the prince and the duke, or were in league with them. His statement was fully accepted, and after a few days' formal restraint, he was restored to his place in the royal favour.

The reluctance of the king to the war with Spain, and the occurrence just mentioned convinced many that the favour of Buckingham was fast expiring in the bosom of James. The words which he had used to Carendolet, and still stronger circumstances, were striking proofs of it. So disgusted was he, as well as his subjects, with the arrogance and the mischievous policy of the duke, that he had sincerely entertained the project of again calling the fallen Somerset to his former position. So far had Somerset been encouraged by this, that he had written to the king through a private medium, informing him of the general odium in which Buckingham was with the people, and supporting the same view as that of the Spanish ambassadors - that the king was really a prisoner in the hands of this upstart. So revolting a project as that of recalling Somerset from an obscurity the most suitable to his crime-stained character did not succeed. But Buckingham was aware that his security lay not in the goodwill of the king, but in that of Charles, which he had taken care to cultivate with all diligence. The king's health was failing, Charles must soon be on the throne; and

therefore Buckingham went hand in hand with him, regardless of king or public.

The war was resolved on by these two really ruling men. They sent envoys all over Europe, to engage the different powers by any argument and by rich presents to cooperate in the war against Spain and Austria for the restitution of the Palatinate. To Sweden, Denmark, and the protestant states of Germany, they urged the necessity of reducing the power of the catholic princes on the Continent. Promises of liberal subsidies were added, and the concurrence of these states was pledged. It was a more difficult matter to influence the catholic countries of Prance, Venice, and Savoy to a war which was actually aimed at the existence of their own religion. But the ancient enmity of these states against Austria prevailed over their religious scruples, and they undertook to assist indirectly, by making a show of hostilities against Spain, so as to prevent her giving effectual aid to Austria, and by allowing soldiers to be raised within their territories, as well as by furnishing money.

With Holland they had effected a league, and had undertaken to send troops to resist the invasion of Spain and Austria, when the news of a frightful tragedy, perpetrated by the Dutch in the East, upon the English there, arrived in England. This was what has become so well known in history as the massacre of Amboyna.

Since the Dutch had enjoyed their long truce with Spain, they had been zealously colonising and trading to the East-Besides Batavia, they laid claim to all the Spice Islands in the Indian Archipelago, from which they had expelled the Portuguese. On one of these islands, Amboyna, the English East India Company had, in 1612, established a small settlement, to trade with the natives for cloves. The Dutch compelled them to retire, but in consequence of a treaty in 1619, the English had returned thither, and established a settlement at Cambelio. In the whole island there were only about twenty English, about thirty Japanese, whilst there were two hundred Dutch soldiers, besides other Dutchmen in the civil service. Yet, on pretence of a conspiracy betwixt the English and Japanese to surprise the garrison and expel the Dutch, they seized Captain Towerson and nine other Englishmen, nine Japanese, and one Portuguese, and after torturing them into a confession, cut off their heads.

The horror with which the news of this atrocious deed was received, threatened to ruin Buckingham's plans. But the English minister made a strong complaint on the subject; the States made humble apologies, and promises of ample redress, and thus it was contrived for the moment to smooth over the difficulty. It was the more readily done because the unpopular Spaniards had already laid siege to Breda; and six thousand troops were despatched from England to enable prince Maurice of Orange to cope with the ably Spanish general, Spinola. Spinola carried Breda in defiance of the Dutch and English; and the prince of ©range hearing that Antwerp had been left without a sufficient garrison, marched thither to surprise it, but with equally ill success. To obtain fresh men and money, count Mansfeldt, the palatine's old auxiliary general, came over to England in the autumn. He was promised twenty thousand pounds a month, and twelve thousand Englishmen were pressed into his service. With these he set sail, to reach as soon as possible his army of French and German mercenaries, on the borders of the Palatinate. But the French, who had agreed to allow this force to pass through their territory, refused, on account of their disorderly character; for they were the scum of their own country, and several, on their march through it, had been hanged for their outrages. Mansfeldt conducted them to the island of Zealand, but there the authorities were equally averse to their landing; and whilst remaining cooped up in small miserable transports, in bad weather, and on a swampy shore, they began to perish of fever. Five thousand of them had died before they reached the borders of the Palatinate, and the united force was still too feeble to accomplish anything. Maurice of Orange, meantime, having done nothing at Antwerp, retired into winter quarters, and soon after died at the Hague; whereupon the earl of Southampton and other English officers returned home. Such was the miserable result of the campaign into which James had been hurried by the folly of Charles and Buckingham.

The melancholy thoughts of James were diverted from dwelling on these miserable affairs by the prospect of the marriage of Charles and Henrietta Maria, the youngest sister of the king of France.

It was a curious fact at the time of Charles's looking out for a wife from one of the principal houses of Europe, that the prospect of an English royal marriage was made gloomy by the most awful reflections to both France and Spain. The last Spanish queen of England was Catherine of Arragon, who had found such a tyrant in the sanguinary Henry VIII., and suffered divorce and severe usage; the last French queen was Margaret of Anjou, who had been driven from the country after the most heroic endeavours to maintain her husband on the throne. Besides these sombre memories, the question presented formidable difficulties from the temper of the English people regarding popery. Politically the alliance was attractive, and this is generally all-sufficient in regal matrimony. But it was singular that the present marriage with a French princess was followed by similar and even more fearful results than the former. Henrietta Maria married Charles only to engage in a similar contest for the retention of the throne as Margaret of Anjou, and not only to see her husband deposed, but put to death.

Charles is supposed by many to have been struck by the young princess of France at his visit to the French court on his way to Spain, and that he went there prepared to break off the match. It is probable, however, that the thought of Henrietta came back more strongly upon him after he found himself disappointed in Donna Maria of Spain; for independent of the other difficulties already related attending Chart's Spanish courtship, it is very likely that he was not extremely fascinated by the Infanta. On the way to Spain, Henrietta, as seen by him, was merely a girl of little more than fourteen years of age, of short stature, and seen but for a brief space. The impression which she left could not be very vivid; but the queen of France, the elder sister of Donna Maria, was strikingly beautiful, and, as Charles himself said, in his letters to his father at the time, had so much struck him, as to inspire him "with a greater desire to see her sister." There can be little doubt that Charles was disappointed in his expectation, for he was of that romantic turn that had he been strongly fascinated by the lady, he would have broken through all difficulties for her sake. But at the court of Spain he met with another queen, the sister of Louis of France and of Henrietta, who not only cast the Infanta into the shade by her beauty and grace, but actually suggested to Charles the more desirable union with her sister of France. The rigid etiquette of the Spanish court prevented much intercourse betwixt Charles and the queen; she dared not even converse with him in French without express permission, and that one opportunity obtained, she begged him never to speak to her again, for that it was the custom in Spain to poison all gentlemen who were very marked in their attentions to the queen. But she seized that one opportunity to say that" she wished he would marry her sister Henrietta, which indeed he would be able to do, because his engagement with the Infanta would be certainly broken."

On the other hand, there was a decided desire in the French court for this alliance, spite of past experience. Mary de Medici, the queen-mother of France, had acquired a predominating influence in the government of her son Louis XIII., by means of her clever and intriguing almoner, Richelieu, who soon mounted into vast power in the state. She entertained a strong hope of effecting a marriage for her daughter with the heir of England, and was no doubt early informed of the probability of the failure of the Spanish courtship. It was soon conveyed to Charles by the English ambassador at Paris, that Henrietta had said, "The prince of Wales need not have gone so far as Madrid to look for a wife." This following the suggestion of the queen of Spain, left no doubt of the wishes of the court of France, and the bait seems to have been soon taken. Buckingham would certainly promote the idea to spite the Spaniards; and Henry Rich, lord Kensington, appeared in Paris before the Spanish match was formally broken off, to open the subject to the queen-mother.

The object of the envoy was instantly divined, and the Spanish ambassador exclaimed at court, "How! does the prince of Wales, then, mean to wed two wives, since he is nearly married to our Infanta?"

Mary de Medici, though extremely anxious for the marriage, played the part of the politician well under Richelieu, and gave no decided encouragement to the hints of the English envoy, till lie assured her plainly that the match with Spain was positively broken off. Even then, she assured lord Kensington that "she could not consider the matter seriously, as she had received no intimation of such proposal from the king of England, and that the princess could not make advances; she must be sought." On this Kensington spoke out on authority, and received a favourable answer, We are assured that a great sensation was excited at the French court, and the ladies crowded round lord Kensington to have a view of the prince's portrait, which he carried in a locket; and the locket was soon privately borrowed by the princess, and kept for a good long observation, she expressing her satisfaction with the looks of the royal lover. Kensington, by his courtly assiduity at Paris, and his letters to Charles, endeavoured to create a strong personal interest in the prince and princess towards each other. Hay, earl of Carlisle, one of James's favourites, a handsome, empty fop, who prided himself on adorning his person with lace and jewels to the amount of forty thousand pounds, was sent as a formal ambassador for the marriage negotiation, the real conductor of it still being Kensington. A miniature portrait of Henrietta was sent to Charles, who appeared to be enraptured with it.

So far all went well. But notwithstanding the anxious desire for the marriage on the part of the French court, it was not likely that so crafty a diplomatist as Richelieu would make an easy bargain for the English. The portion of the princess was settled at eight hundred thousand crowns. She was pledged to renounce all claims for herself and her descendants on the crown of France. Then came the subject of religion. James and Charles had lately bound themselves by the most solemn oaths that no catholic wife of the prince should have more indulgence in that respect than of her own private worship; and that no toleration should be extended to the English catholics whatever, on account of such a marriage. But this was not likely to pass. The pope Urban, in the first place, was extremely inimical to the match. He augured little good from a prince who had shown such duplicity in the Spanish courtship; and he predicted that the union, if effected, would be disastrous; being fully informed by the seminary priests who were in England, secretly prosecuting the support of Catholicism, of the determined temper of the people on that score, and assured by them that if the king dared to relax the penal laws, he would not be king long; and if he did not, the pope argued, what prospect of happiness could there be for a catholic queen? He was, therefore, extremely averse to grant a dispensation.

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Pictures for The Reign of James I (Continued) page 19

Arrest of Nonconformists
Arrest of Nonconformists >>>>
Accident to Robert Carr
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Prince Charles
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Cork River
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Meeting of the Assembly
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Prinve Charles with the Princess Henrietta
Prinve Charles with the Princess Henrietta >>>>
Balsas, or Boat of Skin
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Visit of Prince Charles to Madrid
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Interview of James I. with Prince Charles
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Buckingham before the council
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The Duke of Buckingham
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King James I. and the spanish ambassador
King James I. and the spanish ambassador >>>>

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