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However unequal the comparison between these ministers, Buckingham had entertained a mighty jealousy 1627. against Richelieu; a jealousy not founded on rivalship of power and politics, but of love and gallantry; where the duke was as much superior to the cardinal, as he was inferior in every other particular.
At the time when Charles married by proxy the Princess Henrietta, the Duke of Buckingham had been sent to France, in order to grace the nuptials, and conduct the new queen into England. The eyes of the French court were directed by curiosity towards that man, who had enjoyed the unlimited favour of two successive monarchs, and who, from a private station, had mounted, in the earliest youth, to the absolute government of three kingdoms. The beauty of his person, the gracefulness of his air, the splendour of his equipage, his fine taste in dress, festivals, and carousals, corresponded to the prepossessions entertained in his favour: the affability of his behaviour, the gaiety of his manners, the magnificence of his expense, increased still farther the general admiration which was paid him. All business being already concerted, the time was entirely spent in mirth and entertainments; and, during those splendid scenes among that gay people, the duke found himself in a situation. where he was perfectly qualified to excel'. But his great success at Paris proved as fatal as his former failure at Madrid. Encouraged by the smiles of the court, he dared to carry his ambitious addresses to the queen herself; and he failed not to make impression on a heart not undisposed to the tender passions. That attachment, at least of the mind, which appears so delicious, and is so dangerous, seems to have been encouraged by the princess; and the duke presumed so far on her good graces, that, after his departure, he secretly returned upon some pretence, and paying a visit to the queen, was dismissed with a reproof which savoured more of kindness than of anger'.
Information of this correspondence was soon carried to Richelieu. The vigilance of that minister was here farther roused by jealousy. He too, either from vanity or politics, had ventured to pay his addresses to the queen.
s Clarendon, vol. i. p. 38.
t Mémoires de Mad. de Motteville.
But a priest, past middle age, of a severe character, and occupied in the most extensive plans of ambition or vengeance, was but an unequal match, in that contest, for a young courtier, entirely disposed to gaiety and gallantry. The cardinal's disappointment strongly inclined him to counterwork the amorous projects of his rival. When the duke was making preparations for a new embassy to Paris, a message was sent him from Lewis, that he must not think of such a journey. In a romantic passion he swore, That he would see the queen in spite of all the power of France; and, from that moment, he determined to engage England in a war with that kingdom".
He first took advantage of some quarrels excited by the Queen of England's attendants; and he persuaded Charles to dismiss at once all her French servants, contrary to the articles of the marriage treaty ". He encouraged the English ships of war and privateers to seize vessels belonging to French merchants; and these he forthwith condemned as prizes, by a sentence of the court of admiralty. But finding that all these injuries produced only remonstrances and embassies, or at most reprisals, on the part of France, he resolved to second the intrigues of the Duke of Soubize, and to undertake at once a military expedition against that kingdom.
Soubize, who, with his brother the Duke of Rohan, was the leader of the Hugonot faction, was at that time in London, and strongly solicited Charles to embrace the protection of these distressed religionists. He represented, that after the inhabitants of Rochelle had been repressed by the combined squadrons of England and Holland, after peace was concluded with the French king, under Charles's mediation, the ambitious cardinal was still meditating the destruction of the Hugonots; that preparations were silently making in every province of France for the suppression of their religion; that forts were erected in order to bridle Rochelle, the most considerable bulwark of the Protestants; that the reformed in France cast their eyes on Charles as the head of their faith, and considered him as a prince engaged by interest, as well as inclination, to support them; that, so long as their party subsisted, Charles might rely on their attachw Rushworth, vol. i. p. 423, 424.
u Clarendon, vol. i. p. 38.
CHAP. ment as much as on that of his own subjects; but if their liberties were once ravished from them, the power of France, freed from this impediment, would soon become formidable to England, and and to all the neighbouring
to the isle of Rhé.
Though Charles probably bore but small favour to the Hugonots, who so much resembled the Puritans in discipline and worship, in religion and politics, he yet allowed himself to be gained by these arguments, enforced by the solicitations of Buckingham. A fleet of a hundred sail, and an army of seven thousand men, were fitted out for the invasion of France, and both of them entrusted to the command of the duke, who was altogether unacquainted both with land and sea service. The fleet appeared before Rochelle; but so ill concerted were Buckingham's measures, that the inhabitants of that city shut their gates, and refused to admit allies, of whose coming they were not previously informed. All his military operations showed equal incapacity and inexperience. 9th July. Instead of attacking Oleron, a fertile island and defenceExpedition less, he bent his course to the isle of Rhé, which was well garrisoned and fortified: having landed his men, though with some loss, he followed not the blow, but allowed Toiras, the French governor, five days' respite, during which St. Martin was victualled and provided for a siege'. He left behind him the small fort of Prie, which could at first have made no manner of resistance: though resolved to starve St. Martin, he guarded the sea negligently, and allowed provisions and ammunition to be thrown into it: despairing to reduce it by famine, he attacked it without having made any breach, and rashly threw away the lives of the soldiers. Having found that a French army had stolen over in small divisions, and had landed at Prie, the fort which he had first overlooked, he began to think of a retreat; but made it so unskilfully, that it was equivalent to a total rout: he was the last of the army that embarked; and he returned to England, having lost two-thirds of his land-forces; totally discredited both as an admiral and a general; and bringing no praise with him, but the vulgar one of courage and personal bravery.
x Rushworth, vol. i. p. 426. y Whitlocke, p. 8. Sir Philip Warwick, p. 25.
The Duke of Rohan, who had taken arms as soon as Buckingham appeared upon the coast, discovered the dangerous spirit of the sect, without being able to do any mischief: the inhabitants of Rochelle, who had at last been induced to join the English, hastened the vengeance of their master, exhausted their provisions in supplying their allies, and were threatened with an immediate siege. Such were the fruits of Buckingham's expedition against France.
THIRD PARLIAMENT.-PETITION OF RIGHT.-PROROGATION.-DEATH OF BUCKING-
THERE was reason to apprehend some disorder or insurrection, from the discontents which prevailed among the 1628. people in England. Their liberties, they believed, were ravished from them; illegal taxes extorted; their commerce, which had met with a severe check from the Spanish, was totally annihilated by the French war; those military honours transmitted to them from their ancestors had received a grievous stain, by two unsuccessful and ill-conducted expeditions; scarce an illustrious family but mourned from the last of them, the loss of a son or brother: greater calamities were dreaded from the war with these powerful monarchies, concurring with the internal disorders under which the nation laboured; and these ills were ascribed, not to the refractory disposition of the two former Parliaments, to which they were partly owing, but solely to Charles's obstinacy, in adhering to the counsels of Buckingham ; a man nowise entitled by his birth, age, services, or merit, to that unlimited confidence reposed in him. To be sacrificed to the interest, policy, and ambition of the great, is so much the common lot of the people, that they may appear unreasonable who would pretend to complain of it; but to be the victim of the frivolous gallantry of a favourite, and of his boyish caprices, seemed the object of peculiar indignation.
In this situation, it may be imagined, the king and the duke dreaded above all things the assembling of a Parliament; but so little foresight had they possessed in their enterprising schemes, that they found themselves under an absolute necessity of embracing that expedient. The money levied, or rather extorted, under colour of prerogative, had come in very slowly, and had left such