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sailed with twelve armed vessels, and on arriving at the place of destination he assailed and sacked the Spanish town of Saint Thomas, losing his son in the combat. His companions, becoming impatient, began to desert him, and he was forced to abandon his search after gold, to give up his predatory designs, and return without accomplishing his object. Spain, as was to have been expected, raised a great outcry, and the king ordered the sentence of death, passed fifteen years before, to be carried into execution, an order which, notwithstanding Raleigh's fresh offence, was generally condemned as harsh and cruel.
James, notwithstanding his desire to keep out of war, was destined to have his peaceable disposition sorely tried. The people of Bohemia, being strongly attached to the Reformation, offered the crown to the Elector-Palatine, James's son-in-law, which he accepted, and prepared to vindicate his right against the bigoted house of Austria. He was, however, decisively defeated in the battle of Prague, and obliged to fly, a miserable exile, to Holland, having previously lost his own palatinate. As the Elector was looked on as a champion of the Protestant religion, the people of England fervently espoused his cause. Subscriptions were set on foot, and cries for an expedition raised. Although little sympathizing with the feelings of the nation, James, hoping to profit by the public enthusiasm, agreed to summon a Parliament.
The House opened 30th January 1631; but the Commons, before granting money, passed fresh measures of rigour against Roman Catholics, and took care to confirm their own privileges, and even then, voted only a small sum, in order to keep the king dependent upon them. It was the policy of the House, whenever a subsidy was wanted, to present a petition for redress of grievances. They next attacked the system of patents, which were used as instruments of extortion by rapacious patentees such as Sir Giles Mompesson and Sir Francis Michel, who held patents for licensing inns and alehouses. Nor did they spare Villiers, the brother of the favourite Duke of Buckingham, who, by a patent, held a monopoly of the manufacture of gold and silver lace, which he was obliged
A.D. 1624.] DISPUTE BETWEEN THE KING AND PARLIAMENT. 163
to abandon. They impeached the great Lord Bacon, then Chancellor, for having soiled his hands with bribes, dismissed him from office, and imposed a fine. At length, on the 4th June, the Parliament was prorogued till the 14th November, and in the interim the king tried to please them by carrying their wishes into effect. When they met again the Commons called on the king to make war in support of his son-in-law the Elector-Palatine, and further required him to reject the proposals made by Spain for a marriage with Prince Charles, and to draw the sword against that power. This interference with foreign affairs James, in a letter to the Speaker, represented as an unprecedented encroachment on his prerogative. no effect on the House, and a resolution was passed, declaring that the liberties of Parliament were the birthright and inheritance of English subjects, that all affairs of Church and State were proper subjects of debate, and that, in debating, each member might exercise liberty of speech with impunity. On this the king angrily dissolved the House. Thus began the great contest, of more than sixty years' duration, of Constitutionalism against Despotism.
While the nation was burning to assist the Elector to recover his dominions, the king fancied he should be able to attain the same object through the marriage of his son to the Spanish princess, the influence of Spain with Austria being all-powerful. The negotiations were so long protracted, that Buckingham induced Charles to believe that a romantic visit to his intended bride would at once cut short all difficulties. Travelling under the names of John and Thomas Smith, they suddenly arrived at Madrid, and were received with every demonstration of joy and respect. But the conduct of Buckingham so disgusted the Spaniards, that he, out of resentment, resolved to undo the work which had been begun, and prevent the marriage; and through his influence over Charles, he succeeded. To the new Parliament, which opened 12th February 1624, Buckingham delivered a narrative of the negotiations relative to the marriage, the untruthfulness of
which was overlooked in the joy felt at the negotiations for the Spanish match being at an end. Charles betrayed a weak or false disposition by countenancing Buckingham's mis-statements. The latter became the idol of the Parliament, and even ventured to aid the popular leaders in their attack on the royal prerogative. The king, for the sake of obtaining the necessary supplies, made the immense concession of allowing the money to be disbursed under the management of a Committee of Parliament. All monopolies were abrogated as contrary to the liberties of the people, and the noble principle affirmed, that the authority of the laws alone could restrain the free action of the subject.
War being now renewed between Holland and Spain, an army of 6000 men was raised in England for the support of Prince Maurice. Determined to reconquer the palatinate, another army of 12,000 was raised, and the famous Count Mansfeld taken into pay, but before the expedition reached its destination, half of the troops were destroyed by a pestilence that broke out, and the rest had to return to England.
After the abandonment of the project of marriage with the Spanish princess, negotiations opened for a union with the Princess Henrietta of France, which was brought to a favourable conclusion; but the king did not live to witness the ceremony. Being seized with a tertian ague, he made up his mind to meet his death, and expired on 29th March, in the fifty-ninth year of his age, having reigned over England twenty-two years. His reign over Scotland was nearly the length of his life. Executions for religious opinions had ceased long before the close of this reign.
James was a learned and accomplished prince, and spoke so learnedly, if not well, that he was called by some the "Solomon of his time." From others he obtained the title of the "Wisest fool in Christendom." That he possessed no discrimination is seen by his choice of favourites, and by his failing to perceive that the age had grown too enlightened to endure absolute government. His personal appearance did not impose respect, his gait being loose and awkward, and his utterance defective.
A large majority of the English people at this time were remarkable for morality of conduct and propriety of demeanour, notwithstanding the licence of the court and the society most directly influenced by it, especially in the metropolis. The growth of commerce, with the spread of education, had, by this time, created a large and enlightened middle class, whose spirit and intelligence were represented in the Commons, while the prevalence of peace gave them greater leisure for considering plans for establishing the liberties of the people. In directions, social no less than political, the spirit of progress was visible. Houses, up to the period of this reign, were built of wood, until the Earl of Arundel introduced the practice of building with brick. James was not negligent of the navy, the largest ship ever built being launched in his reign; yet she was only 1400 tons, carrying sixty-four guns. Wool was then the staple commodity, forming nine-tenths of the commerce of the kingdom. Greenland was first made known to Europe during this reign, and a company was formed for the discovery of the north-west passage. But what chiefly renders it remarkable, is the commencement of the noble English colonies in America, both in Virginia and the New England States -the latter founded by exiles, who sought to escape from the laws against Puritans passed under James. Husbandry was much studied, as is testified by the large number of books which appeared on this most important subject. In this reign died the greatest poet of any age or country, William Shakspere, and the founder of modern philosophy, Lord Bacon, whose moral character was not equal to his intellect, for he sullied a glorious genius by ignoble acts. It was the time also of "rare Ben Jonson ;" but as these, with many other great literary characters, such as Spenser and Sir Philip Sidney, rose in the time of Queen Elizabeth, they belong rather to what is called, by way of distinction, the "Elizabethan era," the most brilliant both in action and in literature which the world has seen.
Cotemporary Sovereigns and Events.-France: Henry IV. Louis XIII. Sweden: Charles IX. Gustavus Adolphus. Quebec founded by the French (1608). All the Moors expelled from
Spain (1610). Hudson's Bay discovered (1610). The Thirty Years' War begins (1618). Christian of Denmark heads the Protestant League (1624).
Questions.-1. What were James's views of the royal power? 2. Write an account of the Gunpowder Plot. 3. Whom did the Princess Elizabeth marry; and why were the English desirous to aid her husband in securing the crown of Bohemia? 4. Give an account of the Parliament of 1624. 5. What was the commercial and social condition of the country during this reign, and what colonies were founded?
2. Charles I. (Son of James I.)
ATTITUDE OF PARLIAMENT-CHARLES'S ARBITRARY GOVERNMENT-PETITION OF RIGHT ATTEMPT TO COMPEL THE SCOTCH TO CONFORM IN RELIGION-SHIPMONEY, AND HAMPDEN'S RESISTANCE-REBELLION IN SCOTLAND-THE LONG PARLIAMENT-CIVIL WAR COMMENCED-SCOTCH ARMY ASSISTS THE PARLIAMENT-FLUCTUATING SUCCESS-DEFEAT AND IMPRISONMENT OF CHARLESOLIVER CROMWELL AND THE ARMY-VIOLENCE TO PARLIAMENT-TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF THE KING.
Charles, after receiving his bride, Henrietta, daughter of Henry IV. of France, convoked the Parliament, but, on account of the plague then raging in the capital, the members removed to Oxford. So strong had now become the attachment of the people to the Protestant religion, that the sailors of the fleet, usually so submissive, drew up a protest against their being employed to subdue the Protestants of Rochelle, whom they suspected of being sacrificed by the new alliance with the Court of France. The Commons manifested the same feeling by demanding a strict execution of the penal laws against Roman Catholics. The king, by his gracious answers, seemed disposed to meet the wishes of the House, but at length growing angry that his compliances failed in extracting the needful supplies of money, he dissolved Parliament. The conduct of the Parliament at this time was influenced not so much by positive grievances as by a conviction that the proper moment had arrived for settling public liberties upon the solid foundation of law. Accordingly, taking advantage of the necessities in which the